Ensuring that your customers are comfortable means accommodating people of all types of needs. Enacted in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) act ensures that business owners need to take some steps in making sure that their business is visitable for those on a wide scale of disabilities. To ensure that your business is ADA compliant, take into consideration all of these steps when adapting your business. Focusing on ADA compliance early in your startup launch will prevent headaches later.
Arguably the most important part of ADA compliance is making sure that your business is accessible to everyone. Accessibility can come in multiple forms including the entrances itself and the rooms inside. First, the entrances need to be usable for those that might have a disability that leaves them in a wheelchair so you’ll want to ensure that you have a ramp next to stairs if needed and a wide enough door that any wheelchair could fit by. Additionally, you’re going to want to make sure that all your rooms such as the bathroom are accessible by creating stalls that are wide enough for a wheelchair user to get in and out of their chair with privacy along with an ADA compliant sink that is low enough to the ground that wheelchair users can use it without having to have someone stand them up.
In ensuring that your business is ADA compliant, you’re also going to have to make sure that your business is accessible for employees that have disabilities. This means making specific areas like cubicles or cash registers into areas where you might need to have seating for wheelchair access since you can’t discriminate when hiring. Building your business to be ADA compliant for employees not only ensures that you won’t get into legal trouble but that you can hire a whole range of employees.
Building an ADA compliant website means that not only does your physical business need to be accessible for those with disabilities but your website as well. Building a website for ADA compliance entails having a skilled developer that understands the technical needs and adapting them or creating an entirely new website around them. Examples of ADA compliance on websites include making sure that images have a tag underneath that can tell someone what the image is for someone who might be blind and is simply using a text reader for the page. Not only are you going to help those that are disabled when building your website for ADA compliance, but yourself as well since these types of websites typically pop up higher on search results for sites like Google.
Those who are disabled and living on their own may try coming into your business one day with a service animal like a dog to help them navigate or help them with other needs. It’s important in teaching your employees that service animals are allowed inside your business with proper certification since you are breaking ADA compliance laws when you aren’t accommodating them. To make this easy for your employees, teach them how to properly act around those with service animals such as not distracting them in any way so that they can complete their job properly. Ensuring the proper handling of service animals will ensure that your business is ADA compliant from the get go.
Having proper customer services sometimes entails workers in a store that can process exchanges and refunds but you’ll also want to have online customer service agents. Having the proper online customer service agents entails employees that can work with those that either need to talk on the phone or simply fill out an email. From there, an employee should try to work with a customer as best as possible to ensure that their needs are met whether they have a disability or not.
Ensuring your business is ADA compliant may seem difficult at first but it’ll become easier once you’ve built your business around it. Make sure that you are always paying attention to new guidelines that are added to the Americans with Disabilities act as you could be sued if you are lacking in some factor. Remember, building your business around others will ensure that you gain loyal customers.