Service Accessibility

 
Service accessibility pertains to making accessible those places where a public service is provided, and making accessible the way in which the service is provided to persons with a disability as part of a service that is provided to the general public. This article reviews the service components that must be made accessible.

Service accessibility is the provision of a service adjusted to the needs of persons with a disability so that they will be able to consume the service in an independent and dignified manner, at the time and place where it is provided to the general public.

 

Accessible service is an aspect of quality service and of creating a good service experience for customers. A quality service provides a response to customer needs, in this case customers with a disability. While adjustments to the needs of customers with a disability pertain to physical aspects of the space in which the service is provided, such as furniture and sound amplification, in essence it deals with adjustments to the way service is provided by service providers. This ranges from work procedures through interpersonal interaction between service providers and customers with a disability.

 

The following is a brief description of an accessible service. For further details please see the links listed in ‘More on the Topic’.

  1. Adjustments to service provision places – consideration should be given to the following: furniture, signage, information desks, service desks, cash registers/box offices, devices for scheduling appointments, displays of lines and place in line, waiting areas, amplification means for persons with a hearing disability, etc.
  2. Adjustments to service provision procedures to enable an appropriate response to a wide-range of disabilities. For example, a service process that requires moving between service providers may pose a problem for individuals with mobility difficulties or for those who find it difficult to deal with a complex process. In these cases the procedures must assert that the clerical worker handling the inquiry will transfer it to the other position holders as needed, so that these customers do not need to do this themselves.
  3. Employee training and awareness – employee training is one of the best ways to make service accessible. To provide accessible service employees must undergo training in order to develop positive attitudes towards customers with a disability, learn about the needs of such customers and acquire skills for providing an appropriate and dignified response to these needs.
  4. Adjustments to means of providing information and service:
    • Adjustments to information provided as part of the service – design alternatives to printed information: forms, individual information statements (e.g. bank statement), and brochures in enlarged print, recorded, or in braille, in coordination with the service receiver. Information read out loud to persons with difficulty consuming written or recorded information.
    • Adjustments to technological means to enable their use by persons with a disability – computerized information stations, call routing systems, devices for scheduling and displaying appointments. Website accessibility according to international standards.
    • Service provision by technological means such as telephone, fax, email and text messages.

 

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