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Accessibility and Customer Service: ensuring inclusive service

Cover of the article about CS and accessibility. Dark red background. On the center there is Hugo with a thoughtful expression. Around him there is the illustration of a computer, a chart in the shape of a podium and the accessibility icon.

Have you ever stopped to think that the importance and necessity of accessibility are always present in our routine, whether we realize it or not?

It is not just professionals working with diversity and inclusion who need to be knowledgeable about the topic, nor only physical establishments, or those from a specific segment, but everyone!

Just as we say that everything in life boils down to people, we need to remember that accessibility is also about people… Wherever there are people, it should be present!

And how can accessibility be part of the Customer Success (CS) process? How can we ensure inclusive service? Let’s talk a little about that.

What is Customer Success (CS)?

First of all, let’s establish an important understanding of the concept of Customer Success (CS).

Much more than dealing with after-sales, the main goal of CS is for your customer to achieve the success they came for with our solution and/or service. Here, there is a universe of behaviors, information, and knowledge that we need to have about the customer to achieve this goal.

One of the most important factors to consider here is very straight-forward: the customer. Whether in a B2B, B2C, or B2B2C operation, people are everywhere, and it is for them that we must bring success, consequently bringing success to our business as well.

Why should customer service be inclusive?

The answer is simple: customer service should be inclusive to ensure that all people, regardless of their backgrounds or characteristics, feel valued and served. This way, we can promote a positive and equitable experience for everyone!

Have you ever experienced a moment when you felt like you were being excluded from a conversation, an action, an event, or something similar? Have you ever participated in a conversation where someone was speaking a different language than yours or where there were so many technical and specific terms that you could not follow the discussion?

And how often, in customer service, do we remember to include everyone? Have you ever thought about a potential customer feeling this sense of exclusion when thinking about your brand, entering your store, accessing your website, needing help, and not finding it?

We can agree that your chances of making a sale in this scenario decrease significantly, right? These are just a few examples that demonstrate the importance of valuing and prioritizing offering inclusive customer service.

But wait… How can we include everyone when we do not even know the different needs of the clients and the people we serve? We will tell you next!

Technological innovations in digital accessibility

There was a time when talking about accessibility referred to physical structures like ramps, tactile paving, elevators, etc. But with the development of technology advancing ever faster, this practice has also become necessary in digital environments, such as the internet, and it is already present in our daily lives!

Here are some examples:

Accessible websites

Did you know that only 3% of websites worldwide are accessible and comply with the World Digital Accessibility Guidelines? It is like having – digital – doors closed to a universe of people, potential customers, because we did not take care of accessibility.

This is not a luxury or a market differentiation, it is a necessity and, in fact, a legal requirement! If you are not familiar with it yet, I recommend visiting the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

How do we intend to bring success to our customers if our businesses are not ready to open the doors, whether in the physical or digital world, for all people to enter?

There are several tools that can help you improve the accessibility of your website, from Sign Language translators to free evaluators, so there is no excuse for not having an accessible online environment, agreed?

Text converters to Sign Language

Is your digital environment ready to serve a customer who communicates in ASL (American Sign Language)? Did you know that there are ways to build a website so that it is accessible and can receive automatic text translation resources to Sign Language, such as English to ASL and even Portuguese to Libras (Brazilian Sign Language)?

If you are not familiar with it yet, come talk to us to learn about the Hand Talk Plugin, an assistive tool that can be implemented on your website and open the doors of your content to thousands of people who are currently without access due to language barriers. We have already translated over 50 million words monthly, and if your digital environment is not ready to receive this audience, talk to Hand Talk specialists!

By relying on our digital accessibility plugin, your website becomes more accessible to people with different disabilities. We do not just serve those who depend on Sign Language to communicate, but also people with dyslexia, low vision, ADHD, dementia, dyscalculia, aphasia, and the elderly, among others with visual disabilities and difficulties in reading texts in general.

This improves the user experience and your results!

“Pocket” apps

Another tip I give you here is the Hand Talk App, have you heard of it? It can be downloaded for free from the Apple Store and Google Play and can be a powerful tool for communication with ASL speakers.

Have you ever thought about going to a party where no one can communicate with you and suddenly someone shows up who speaks your language a little, or somewhat, but shows interest in communicating with you, in interacting, relating, pulls out an app and starts talking. I bet you would feel very happy, right?

And why not be that person to be found at a party, a store, on the street, at the company where we work, in customer service? Why not prepare to communicate with these people? Knowing their stories, challenges, and creating connection is also a way, as CS, to bring success to these people!

Making communication channels accessible

Speaking of customer success, let’s think about it: is your customer service team prepared to receive an ASL speaker customer? Or when that person arrives at your establishment (physical or digital), will they feel excluded, “not welcome”, due to the lack of communication in their language?

It is necessary for us to dedicate time, effort, and energy to prepare our processes, structure, and teams to welcome all people well. How often do we recommend to our teams to learn Spanish, and forget to prioritize ASL? This is a long journey that we all need to take. You can count on Hand Talk to walk this path side by side!

How to promote accessibility in Customer Success

When we talk about customer success, there is always that classic phrase that “success can be different for each person,” and we know how true that is.

When we talk about customers, we are talking about different companies and people, and we cannot talk about people without talking about diversity and the need for accessibility to actually reach each one.

How often do we stop to think about the diversity of our customers and their specific needs? Have we remembered to include accessibility in our communications?

It is super important for us to be concerned with getting to know the customer to the point of knowing their preferences and restrictions. We should know if they need a report with a larger font, a dashboard in grayscale, or if there is a deaf person on the team who needs guidance for the best use of our product and/or service.

We can greatly enhance customer success when we truly care about all their needs, including accessibility.

Besides, many times our customers are as distant from these concepts as we are. So, it is necessary to embark on a journey of constant learning to open doors to a new audience, which is out there available, eager, and anxious for more knowledge, information, and belonging. As CS, we also have the role of showing the importance and value of connecting with this audience to our customers.

The relationship between customer success and accessibility

Nowadays, the topic of ESG is very trendy and discussed at the highest business levels, but how often does accessibility enter this conversation?

Investing in accessibility can bring success to the customer through the commitment they assume with society:

  • reducing risks of sanctions for maintaining compliance with legal requirements like the ADA;
  • increasing the reached audience; and
  • potentially bringing more business opportunities.

At the moment we are in, all of this can make your customer one of the first to reach a new audience because of accessibility.

As CS, it is important to be a partner in our customers’ business. Accessibility, besides being necessary, is a powerful ally to achieve even more success with them.

Promoting inclusion also ensures Customer Success

I want to finish our conversation by reminding us of our mission as CS to bring success to the customer and the responsibility we often have to educate the market.

We, just like our customers, need to remember that we work for people, who are diverse and have different and specific needs. The more we prepare to serve them, the more people will come closer to us and our business.

They will learn and consume our products/services, recommend them to friends and family, promote our businesses, and ultimately contribute to our success and the success of our customers!

So, let’s work to ensure that accessibility is not treated as an “extra” but as a basic need that needs to be addressed in all businesses and places.

Whether in a physical or digital environment, in a critical segment like healthcare, or light and fun like an amusement park. People are everywhere, so accessibility should be too!

And do not forget that you can always count on Hand Talk in your accessible journey. Whether through our products or the content about the accessibility and digital inclusion universe on our blog, we are by your side!

Written by Sueidy Araujo, Customer Success Manager at Hand Talk.

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