What Customers Don't Know can be Devastating to Your Business!
Here's a hypothetical story that illustrates how the "ripple effect" created by a basic disability access issue can impact a typical retail business:
Let's suppose you own a neighborhood restaurant, and business has been pretty good recently.
You read in a trade journal recently that people with disabilities spend over $40 billion a year dining out, and wanted to increase your share of that market.
So you remodeled and made a number of major renovations to attract their business. You even updated your menu to accommodate a number of special dietary needs that a prospective customer might request.
As part of your remodeling project, you also added several disabled parking spaces in your parking lot, installed safety railings in your restrooms, and added a wheelchair ramp at the back entrance, because you realized those stairs at your front entrance could be a challenge for anyone, especially for someone who is disabled or elderly.
And now that you have made your hypothetical restaurant fully barrier-free, you are confident that your hypothetical restaurant is in compliance with every imaginable ADA regulation.
Satisfied Regular Customers – the Foundation of Most Retail Businesses
Although Brad and Janet Smith are neither disabled nor elderly, they have been excellent customers of your hypothetical restaurant for years. They come in 2 or 3 times a week, usually with their three kids. The Smiths are satisfied and loyal customers. They are your "regulars."
Sometimes the Smiths bring their neighbors in, or relatives from out of town, or clients, or friends from Church. And all three of their kids come in after school, usually with a few friends. Teenagers can be especially good customers. They eat a lot.
Satisfied customers like the Smiths create a positive "ripple effect" for the financial stability of your hypothetical business. Just like ripples spreading outward from a stone thrown into a pond, the Smiths' positive perceptions of your restaurant continually spread outward to others whose lives they touch in the neighborhood. The whole family keeps bringing you new customers.
You wish you had many more customers like the Smith family.
How a Minor Accident can become a Serious "Game-Changer" for Business:
One day, your head waitress comments that she hasn't seen the Smith family lately. "They were so regular, and such good tippers, too," she says. And you suddenly realize, you haven't seen any of the Smiths lately either, not in several weeks.
And then you begin to wonder, where did they go ...