MELBOURNE NEWS

Economy

Good access is good business

Three people standing outside a building smiling and talking to each other.

Local businesses that take steps to become more accessible are enjoying more customers and increased profits.

Monash University research shows that every $1 a business invests in accessibility generates up to $13 in extra revenue.

Fiona Sweetman, a member of our Disability Advisory Committee and owner of local walking tour company Hidden Secrets, said that prioritising accessibility is critical to her business.

‘Awareness is key to good customer service, let alone accessibility. Changes in footpaths, shade, noise, and access to entryways – these are concerns for all our guests,’ Fiona said.

In addition to offering wheelchair accessible routes, the Hidden Secrets team wear bright colours, avoid using microphones that can interfere with hearing aids, help clients hire assistance tools, and more.

While devising a special tour for clients with visual impairment, guides also found they became more attuned to their senses, which has enriched all their tours.

‘Where we incorporate tactile moments, textures, light and shade, and underfoot certainty throughout our tours, the experience is safer for all, and respectful without singling anyone out,’ Fiona said.

‘It’s important to note that accessibility is not about treating people differently, it’s about respect. Your clients with access requests don’t want to be treated as less or more, they understand the struggle way before you have.’

Fiona advised businesses to carefully consider what they can achieve, and to reach out for advice and expert assistance where required.

‘Your investment in your business is based on planning and viability, but also look at the opportunities accessibility can present,’ Fiona said.

‘Accessibility is not about treating people differently.’

‘A small adjustment can not only demonstrate your care for the community, but also make your business really stand out.’

Our Good Access is Good Business program supports businesses in meeting legal and community expectations. Training information and resources including the ‘Good Access Handbook’ are available online.

For more information, visit Accessible Businesses.

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23 November 2017
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