The perception of a customer is changing rapidly. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated our use of online technology and the regular flow of packages and parcels to our houses are becoming the norm. Live chat and email are becoming the new interface with organisations replacing the more traditional face-to-face customer contact.
As lockdown restrictions loosen, it will be interesting to see how customers adapt, how organisations evolve and how the new relationship between customer and organisation settles. The changes in the world are also changing understanding of consumers and customer needs.
Purple Tuesday is an initiative, which is supporting organisations, of all sizes and across all sectors, to improve the disabled customer experience. At the celebratory event last November, over 4,500 organisations signed up to making at least one commitment to improve their accessibility. Unsurprisingly, there was a significant focus on digital accessibility with a realisation a lot can be done quickly at no cost, or very little cost, to improve navigation and overall experience. Buildings, and more specifically socially distanced factors, have also been a real focus. This includes ensuring Perspex glass in shops etc. have colour contact markings to support visually impaired customers. And finally, training for staff, predominantly online, has been taken up covering general disability awareness and more specific issues such as mental health and autism.
Covid-19 is also driving a demand for all organisations to demonstrate their social credentials – from staff, customers and investors, Purple Tuesday is tapping into this need by supporting organisations to create solutions that work, and spreading good practice across all sectors.
I am absolutely delighted Purple Tuesday is working with Championing Social Care to make a difference in the social care sector. Service users are customers. Service users, and their families, expect a quality service. Providers know that delivering a quality experience will increasingly be paramount to survival and growth.
For social care, we are also focusing on raising the profile and shining a light on the disabled workforce. 80% of the 14 million disabled people in the UK have a hidden disability which they may, or may not, choose to disclose. Mental health and wellbeing is one of the greatest challenges facing organisations and a legacy of Covid. Conversely, it is an opportunity to smash the taboo forever and provide support to employees without the fear of stigma.
Social care has the opportunity to lead the way in providing a quality customer experience for disabled people. The sector has a long track record in looking after disabled people. Re-orientating this expertise to be more customer focused isn’t that much of a leap but will make a huge difference. And recognising disabled employees, putting in relatively modest reasonable adjustments, will make a statement about the future social care which is inclusive.
To be inclusive requires taking your employees on the journey. Purple Tuesday 365 is a subscription service which is doing just that for so many organisations. Through monthly webinars and practical resources, it is supporting workforces to better understand, and put in place those changes that will make a difference. And the model works. Invest in your workforce and you invest in your organisation.
Together, we can turn Social Care Purple.