The lovely folks from Neatebox are guest posting today with the lowdown on the ‘Welcome’ app and how it is transforming customer service for disabled people.
All too often we read headlines like “Heathrow apologises for losing Frank Gardner’s wheelchair”, “Doctor axed over claims he banned blind patient’s guide dog from appointment” or “Disabled Comedian Tanyalee Davis Felt ‘Harassed and Humiliated’ By Train Guard”.
The majority of people with disability have experienced bad customer service in some way or another. In fact, 75% report that they have left shops or deserted a business due to bad customer service. And, unfortunately, these incidents don’t tend to result in lasting improvement of service. The reality is an endless cycle of:
Incident – Complaint – Apology – Training – Time Passes – Incident
There are many reasons why these incidents keep happening, e.g. staff turnover, nervousness to interact or lack of training refreshers, and they not only negatively affect the businesses’ reputation but also their bottom line.
Free App to Break the Cycle
During his time at Guide Dogs for the Blind, Neatebox Founder, Gavin Neate, identified the issue of the seemingly endless bad customer service cycle for disabled customers and created Welcome by Neatebox to break this cycle across the UK and Ireland.
The free app allows a person with a disability to create a profile and provide details of the additional help they might need when they visit a business or organisation. When users book visits to participating venues with the app, the staff will be alerted of their needs ahead of their arrival.
On top of that, the customer service team receives tips on how to best interact with the disabled visitor and are notified when they arrive at the venue.
Building knowledge and mutual understanding
The beauty of ‘Welcome’ is that the phone stays in the pocket after the visit is booked. The intention behind the system is to support the interaction between disabled customer and staff by building knowledge and mutual understanding. And this will extend to other customers who are not using the ‘Welcome’ app as the awareness of their disability has already been formed.
With ‘Welcome’, users can be sure that there will be someone who understands their needs in the venue and who will be able to assist them if necessary. Instead of becoming housebound and being forced to shop online, disabled people are encouraged to build the confidence required to go out and interact with others in society.
“These visits with the Welcome App have helped me to get out. There is a purpose in going out if you know that you can get help and not struggle to find somewhere to sit or find a member of staff and I think that is really important. It would be too easy to become housebound, ordering online and missing out on interaction with other people.”
Ann, Welcome User
The businesses who have signed up to ‘Welcome’ regularly highlight the positive impact on the relationships they can form with the disabled customers.
“Neatebox is a good tool to educate customer service employees on helping people with disabilities and it’s empowering for users to know they can go places without worrying too much. They gain more independence and it’s wonderful to feel like you can help someone at the end of the day.
The geolocation tool with Neatebox is very useful for busy staff and ensure that somebody will be there at the ready to welcome the Neatebox user.”
Judith, Concierge at House of Fraser
The ‘Welcome’ system is installed in venues like Edinburgh Airport, Jenners House of Fraser, DoubleTree Hilton Edinburgh City Centre, Falkirk Wheel or VisitScotland iCentre Glasgow. If you know of a venue that would benefit from Welcome, let Neatebox know and they will get in touch.