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Scenarios and Solutions

Finding a solution

Situation

Your business has one or two steps up to the door. Inside, it is all on one level with enough room for a person using a mobility aid to get through the aisles. You would like to have more physical access to your business, but you are not able to install a ramp.

Solution

You can purchase a portable ramp for your threshold and a BigBell system for your main entrance. The BigBell is a large, easy-to-push button on the front of your building. A corresponding transmitter inside your business alerts your staff by sound and lights when someone has pushed it. This allows you to go outside and lay down the ramp so they can access your business.

 

Situation

You would like to make your business accessible for people using mobility aids, but your doors are not wide enough. It’s too expensive to widen your door frames.

Solution

You can purchase swing clear or offset door hinges, which can add up to 2 inches to your doorway. Depending on the width of your original doorway, using these door hinges can often give the door enough width (32 inches) for a person using a mobility aid to get through the door.

 

Situation

You recognize that your drive-thru can’t be used by people who are deaf or have a significant hearing loss, but you don’t know what to do about it.

Solution

You can purchase OrderAssist, which is a system that allows the customer to ring a bell next to the order microphone. This alerts the drive thru staff by sound and lights that there is a customer who can’t use the microphone. The customer then drives on through to the pickup window where the staff hands them a pen and notepad on which to write their order. This system can also work well for customers who use English as a second language.

 

Situation

Your self-service gas station would like to include customers who are not able to get out of their car, but you are not sure of the best way for these customers to notify staff that they are outside looking for service. You have a policy that customers can honk their horn to have an attendant go out and serve them. However, it is usually too busy and noisy for staff to recognize that particular honk as a sign that a customer needs assistance.

Solution

You can purchase FuelCall, which is a system that allows the customer to ring a large, easy-to-push bell in front of the gas pump. This bell alerts the staff inside by sound and lights that there is a customer who cannot get out of the car and needs assistance so you can serve them effectively.

 

Situation

A customer who has a hearing loss or is deaf comes into your business and you don’t know how to communicate with them and serve them effectively.

Solution

Treat them as a valued customer. For simple interactions, you can use a pen and pad of paper to write out your communications. English is a second language for people who use American Sign Language so their messages may be in broken English. Ask the customer how you can best serve them. If the person has a hearing loss and can read lips, make sure you face the person and do not cover your mouth when talking to them. Speak at a regular pace in a place with bright lighting.

For more complex interactions, like purchasing a car, an American Sign Language Interpreter will need to be booked for effective communication. Be sure to book the interpreter a few weeks in advance of the meeting.

 

Situation

You need to telephone a customer who is deaf, but you don’t know how you will communicate with them.

Solution

You have several options. You could e-mail the customer or text them, if you have their cell phone number. You can call 711, which is a relay system that connects you with an operator to whom you speak and they enter your communication into a TTY machine that visually displays the communication as text for the person who is deaf. You could also instant message them on the computer, if you have that information.

 

Situation

A customer with a significant visual loss comes into your business and you don’t know how to best serve them.

Solution

Treat them as a valued customer. Ask the customer how you can best serve them because verbal cues are extremely important. If they would like you to guide them, present your arm for them to hold, and notify the person of any changes in your path. If they would like, you can also describe products to them and tell them the prices.

If you are a restaurant business, consider having a menu in Braille, large font, and/or a digital format like an MP3. Also, consider putting your menu on aMENU, a website which makes your menu accessible for people who use screen readers.

 

Situation

A customer with an intellectual disability comes into your business and you aren’t sure how to offer the most effective customer service.

Solution

Treat them as a valued customer. Ask the customer how you can best serve them. Give the person time to communicate and offer small amounts of information at a time. Listen carefully to what they say and paraphrase or repeat back to them what you think they said to confirm you have understood correctly. Counting change back to the customer may also be helpful.

 

Situation

A customer with a communication disability comes in to your business and you are unsure how to offer the most effective customer service.

Solution

Treat them as a valued customer. Ask the customer how you can best serve them. Give the person time to communicate and be patient. Listen carefully to what they say and paraphrase or repeat back to them what you think they said to confirm you have understood correctly. Offer to use a pen and pad of paper to communicate with them, if they find that helpful. If you feel uncomfortable, remember that the person would rather you try to communicate with them even if it takes some time and many attempts rather than not be served at all.

 

Situation

A person using a service animal comes into your restaurant. You are unsure if the animal is allowed in the restaurant and you don’t know what to do.

Solution

People using service animals have the right to frequent restaurants and other businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador by the Service Animal Act. Remember to treat them as a valued customer. Ask the customer how you can best serve them. Give them a choice of where they would like to be seated. Treat service animals as animals that need to concentrate on their job. Interact with the client and not their service animal. Ask the customer if it is okay to offer a bowl of water to their animal.

 

Situation

A person using a wheelchair comes into your business and you are unsure how to offer the most effective customer service.

Solution

Treat them as a valued customer. Be sure to have a wide, clear path of travel throughout your business. Treat their equipment as an extension of their person and respect their space. If you are going to speak with the customer for any length of time, find a place to sit down and speak with them at eye level.

 

Situation

Your business uses fluorescent lighting and many customers have an adverse reaction to it, making it less likely for people to frequent your business. However, you can’t afford to replace all your lighting.

Solution

You can change the overhead lights from fluorescent to broad-spectrum by using a special filter that fits onto the existing light fixture. You can also change the bulbs themselves to full-spectrum or daylight rather than the usual yellow fluorescent bulbs.

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