Category Archives: Disabled Customers

ADA Service Animal Law Workshop

ADA Service Animal Law, Stay out of the Doghouse, Workshop

ADA Service Animal Law Workshop

All businesses must allow Service Dogs. It’s the Law.

Know ADA Service Animal Law.  ADA Service Animals are allowed in businesses.  The only place an ADA Service Dog may be denied access is in certain medical clean room environments.  Every day we hear news stories of business owners believing that they have the right to question and deny access to their facility to people with service dogs as a “property right.”

We created our “ADA Service Animal Law, Stay out of the Doghouse, Workshop”  to dispel the myths.

There are many myths about training certifications, Dog I.D.’s, therapy snakes, and service parrots.

We hear the term PTSD thrown around in the media and many have misconceptions of how this disease, defined by a group of symptoms, impacts the ability for many people to interact in social settings the same way they did before they experienced a  life-changing trauma.

When hospitality and restaurant employees deny people access with their service dog, it not only breaks judicial law and carries a steep fine, but it also negatively impacts the person.

  • How to dispel the myths and focus on the ADA Service Animal facts.
  • We provide customer service tools for successful interactions with Service Dog users and how to turn them into loyal customers.
  • Know the only two questions that a business may legally ask a person with an ADA Service Animal.
  • Know the  legal  difference and rights between ADA Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals.
  • Understanding PTSD: The Role of a PTSD Service Dog and the LAW.
  • Review all of the symptoms of PTSD and how they impact  may impact a person’s daily life.
  • With the right tools, a business can engage consumers with service dogs, increase their bottom line and avoid costly judicial discrimination lawsuits.
  •  A Service Dog is available as a trainer at this workshop..

This is an excellent ADA training workshop for Owners, Key Staff, Facilities Managers, Risk Managers and Operations Managers.

We are now scheduling for our 2017 Architectural Barriers ADA WorkshopsPlease contact us to review your event requirements.  Please review our page Speaker and Workshop Fees for information on the different types of speaking engagements offered and a list of bonus items for meeting planners.  All of our topics may be customized for your individual event. Speaker and Workshop Fees


Disability Customer Service Workshop

Disability Customer Service Workshop, Increase Your Bottom Line By Engaging ALL Ability Consumers.

Disability Customer Service Workshop

Great disability customer service is essential for ALL businesses.  Our Disability Customer Service Workshop is geared to all service provider, with the objective of increasing customer satisfaction and avoiding situations that lead to ADA discrimination litigation.

The most common words I hear from Clients during ADA Compliance inspections is “we never see people with wheelchairs at our business.”  That is because only 5% of the disabled population are wheelchair users. 20% of Americans have a disability.  That number is much higher in Florida between an aging population and tourism.

We never know about a persons physical and mental abilities or disabilities just by looking at them.  Excellent customer service for everyone is key to a successful business.

Disability Customer Service Workshop LEARNING POINTS

  • 69.6 billion people in America,  28.7% of families have at least one member with a disability.
  • People with disabilities constitute our nation’s largest minority group,
  • How great disability customer service engages  and retains consumers who live with different types of disabilities.
  • Discuss communications skills, customer service, disability etiquette and how to avoid unintentional discrimination. 
  • Dispel assumptions about the aging baby Boomer population.
  • Practice different situations and discuss different ethical questions,.
  • Common situations that lead to ADA accessibility discrimination litigation.
  • How the built environment impacts different disabilities.
  • Discuss range of motion and sensory impact o the built environment.
  • Communication skills when engaging a customer we believe has a disability.
  • How  ADA ramps, parking, restrooms, signage, and other architectural tools impact different disabilities.
  • Proper etiquette for Service Dogs.

This is an excellent ADA training workshop for Owners, Key Staff, Facilities Managers, Risk Managers and Operations Managers.

We are now scheduling for our 2017 Architectural Barriers ADA WorkshopsPlease contact us to review your event requirements.  Please review our page Speaker and Workshop Fees for information on the different types of speaking engagements offered and a list of bonus items for meeting planners.  All of our topics may be customized for your individual event.

Disability Customer Service Workshop
Disability Customer Service Workshop


Disabled Customers: Country

Disabled Customers Find Great Service in the Country

Nothing beats a country store that believes in old fashioned southern hospitality to graciously meet the needs of their disabled customers.

We’ve been driving out to A.W. Peterson Gun Store and Museum for a few  decades for repairs and fresh air.  Hunters, outdoor men, law enforcement, veterans, cowboys, and collectors have been going to this small country business for generations.  Mr. Baker opened the 118-year-old business in Mount Dora in 1953.  We were told that parts of the old pecky cypress building are from the 1890s.

Disabled customers appreciate a ramp and friendly service. A welcoming front porch for ALL. Disability Smart Solutions.
Disabled customers appreciate a ramp and friendly service. A welcoming front porch for ALL. Disability Smart Solutions.

While the handicap ramp and sand parking lot might not meet the current code, it is sturdy and meets the needs of most disabled customers.  Inside the store, the well-worn wooden floors are smooth and the aisles are all wide enough for disabled customers to easily maneuver a wheelchair or scooter.  It’s been a few years since my last visit, but this time, I noticed that the aisles are now clear of any protrusions, making it comfortable for disabled customers with limited visibility.

The store is a comfortable place to shop or just to just  check out all of the old hunting trophies and vintage collectibles.  I always appreciate a store with plenty of places to sit.  Many times disabled customers might want to sit for a few minutes and relax before continuing shopping.  We often forget how many people living with a disability have limited stamina or muscle strength.

Bella, an Australian Kelpie who is a Deaf Alert Service dog, chilling in the grass. Disability Smart Solutions
Bella, an Australian Kelpie who is a Deaf Alert Service dog, chilling in the grass

I took advantage of the porch chairs to work on “sit” training with our service dog, Bella.  She was our daughters Deaf Alert dog.  Since our daughter has been in boarding school for the past 3 years, Bella has become a lazy pet.  We spent 20 minutes sitting on the porch without her moving to acknowledge people who walked in and out of the store.  She remembered.  Disabled customers with service dogs are welcome in Peterson’s.  I brought in Bella, without a vest, and all I heard was “what a pretty dog.”

The best part about A.W. Peterson’s gunsmith, is that he is honest and if he can fix it while you wait, he will.  My husband brought a jammed French collectible firearm to a Big Box sports store in Lake Mary.  After a two week wait, he was charged $69.00 and told that they couldn’t fix the problem.  The gunsmith at Petersons, spent some time examining it and discovered that there was old lint compacted in the barrel.  He charged $30 and spent  less than 30 minutes making the repair.  Nothing beats a great customer service experience, except a great customer service experience with a trip to the country.


Disability Smart Solutions is full-service ADA Consulting firm offering ADA Compliance Access Surveys, Project Consultation, Post-Compliance Audits, All-Ability Customer Service Training, Undercover Disabled Guest Mystery Shopping, Universal Design Product Review and Keynote Speaking.  Please contact us to review your accessibility needs.

GKTW: Utimate Accessible Resort

Give Kids The World:  The Ultimate Accessible Resort Where Dreams Come True and Memories are Made

Tom and I recently visited Give Kids the World, an accessible resort that provides memorable, magical, cost-free experiences to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. We were guests of GKTW for their Central Florida Bloggers Bash, sponsored by Mom it Forward and Central Florida Lady Bloggers.

GKTW Founder: Henri Lanwirth
Bronze statue of Henri Landwirth, founder of Give Kids The World

One thing few people know about me is that in the late 1980’s, after leaving Disney’s Live Show Design department, I joined the architectural studio of Benjamin P. Butera, AIA.  Ben is a visionary architect, who worked alongside GKTW founder Henri Landwirth in the original planning and design of the village.  26 years later, Ben is still on the team.  I was lucky enough to be part of that original design team.  

I always recommend Henri’s inspiring autobiography “The Gift of Life” to anyone starting a non-profit or anyone who is wondering how they can make a difference in this world.  The story  starts with Henri’s life as a young prisoner in the WW2 Holocaust concentration camps, his survival and journey to working in hotels in New York, to finding his twin sister in America, to managing the hottest Florida space   coast hotel during the Space Race of the 1960’s, to developing his Holiday Inn in the early Walt Disney World days, to founding Give Kids The World.  His friends Walter Chronkite and astronaut John Glenn  wrote the foreword and afterword.  The book is an inspiration for everyone to do their best.

Sitting in on design meetings with GKTW founder Henri Landwirth, he planted the seeds that:

Good architecture always accommodates and serves all people.

When you see a need, create the solution.

The gates of GKTW opened in 1989.  Today the Village is a 70-acre resort with over 144 accessible Villas, accommodations, entertainment attractions, whimsical venues and fun designed specifically for children with special needs.  With the help of many generous people, companies and partners, Give Kids The World has welcomed over 132,000 families from all 50 states and 75 countries.

Accessible Resort Restaurant at GKTW

The Give Kids The World Gingerbread House Restaurant. The original building had a simple gable roof. The parts on the top were built to add character. The roof is supposed to look like cake frosting and the beam at the entry is a vanilla wafer.
The Gingerbread House restaurant is a recognized symbol of Give Kids The World. Child-sized tables decorated with 27,000 real peppermint candies, over 2,000 dolls from around the world and the thoughtfulness of Angels (volunteers), all make the Gingerbread House more than just a restaurant.

One day Ben was handed me the blueprints for Ginger Bread House restaurant that Perkins donated to Give Kids The World  It was a very ordinary looking commercial style building with some Victorian brackets here and there.  It was nothing special at all.   From my quick marker and pen sketch, the iconic GKTW gingerbread house was born.  Little did I know at that time, that this building  would be recognized around the world as a place of loving and caring.

Accessible Resort Villas at GKTW

Accessible bath tub
Large soaker tub with grab bars in the accessible vacation villa at Give kids the World
Roll-in shower in the Give Kids The World vacation villa

One of the early projects we designed were the original accessible resort Villas.  I was still single then and had no clue that children living with a disability or life-threatening disease might have to shower flat or require the assistance of two people to bathe.  This is where I first learned that accessibility is much more than what is written as the acceptable minimum standard in the Federal ADA, American With Disabilities Code.

Visiting a new villa was a highlight. The guest suites of this accessible resort take all abilities into consideration in the design.   Here are the photos.  Since kids usually take baths, this unit is designed with a large bath tub.  The shower doesn’t have grab bars.

Accessible toilet and vanity sink in the Give Kids The World Vacation Villa

Often children who are wheelchair users use a shower chair and have their parents assistance in bathing.  The handheld shower is the important part.  I was surprised that there wasn’t a hand held shower at the tub to assist with bathing or a slide bar at the shower to position the shower head.

The large accessible toilet is set up for an easy transfer.  The accessible sink vanity is higher with a lever faucet and knee protection from hot plumbing pipes. IMG_4281 The adjacent sink is a little lower to accommodate children.  All of these features are part of Universal Design.  The accessible resort cheerful kids room has two twin beds and plenty of space to roll around or play.  The beds are high to accommodate sliding a hoyer lift under the bed for transfer.

The accessible resort kids room has plenty of space to move around. The bed is raised to fit a hoyer lift to transfer a child.

The front porch of each accessible villa provides a smooth transition from the sidewalk through the front door.  We enjoyed tasting Gigi’s Cupcakes as we toured universally designed villa.

Give kids The World accessible villa. Notice the smooth transition in floor surfaces and the huge front porch.

Accessible Resort Chapel at Give Kids The World

We didn’t get a chance to walk inside the chapel during this visit. Henri Landwirth requested that we design a chapel so that the parents would have a place of peace.  We designed it as a Victorian tower added to the existing administration buildings.  I learned that for many of the children, their last wish is to come to Disney and meet their favorite characters.  Some have even passed away in the arms of their wish character or while visiting GKTW.

Every night the GKTW village celebrates a different holiday like Christmas, Easter, and Halloween.  They try to pack as many happy memories int as short a period of time possible.  Having a place for prayer and meditation offers a place for release.

GKTW chapel. I designed the chapel with Benjamin P. Butera architects in the late 1980s. The chapel anchored the existing administration building.

GKTWchapelThe hexagon shaped chapel has 4 huge stain glass windows representing Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.  There is a ring of hand painted clouds above leading to heaven.

 Walk-In Accessible Pool and Water Park

Every night there is a pool party with music, bubbles, and a D.J.

The evening when were there it was a pirate themed party.  You can see the pirate ship in the background.

Accessible water park

There are PVC wheelchairs for kids to use to just roll right into the accessible walk-in pool or the water park.

Accessible walk in or roll in pool.

  Accessible Enchanted Carousel

Castle of Miracles and Enchanted Carousel at GKTW
A wheelchair can slide inside the turtle for a magically enchanted carousel ride.

One of our favorite venues is the Castle of Miracles and Enchanted Carousel. The Castle includes Twinkle Hope’s La Ti Da Royal Spa, a mysterious forest to explore, Father Time, a Wishing Well that burps, Rusty the friendly guard and a Great Hall full of magic. Waiting for all Wish Children is the Star Fairy, who magically soars into the night placing the Gold Stars on the Castle ceiling.  Even children who are wheel chair users can enjoy sitting in the turtle on the merry go round.

The Ice Cream Palace serves Ice Cream Morning Noon and Night!

GKTW ice cream
Kids can have ice cream for every meal at the Ice Cream Palace

Give Kids The World ensures that every venue, activity and villa fully accommodates all of our precious guests. From The Park of Dreams pool to The Garden of Hope pathways, everything at GKTW’s whimsical Village is wheelchair accessible. A former wish mom recalls her family’s wonderful experience here at the Village.

“Our stay at GKTW was amazing and I wouldn’t change a thing. Everyone was so compassionate, thoughtful and treated us like a member of their family. It’s amazing to visit a place that meets the needs of such special children. There are not many places, which we go to as a family, that accommodate wheelchairs. Our family was so happy that my daughter could partake in the same activities as the other family members – even swimming and horseback riding! I would like to thank GKTW for this beautiful experience,” – former wish child, Juvollia’s family.king my daughter’s wish come true but for fulfilling my dream of keeping my entire family together. You have touched our hearts and we will .

Future Expansion, GKTW Town Hall

The New Town Hall at Give Kids The World will add new dining space. The existing Gingerbread House restaurant has gotten too small for all of the families and guests that visit each day.




About Us

Disability Smart Solutions is full-service ADA Consulting firm offering ADA Compliance Access Surveys, Project Consultation, Post-Compliance Audits, All-Ability Customer Service Training, Undercover Disabled Guest Mystery Shopping, Universal Design Product Review and Keynote Speaking.  Please contact us to review your accessibility needs.

100 Business Tips to Drive Disabled Consumer Loyalty

Drive Disabled Customer Loyalty By Serving Their Needs

Age-In_Place in your own home.With sales projections showing that 70% of all sales will be conducted online, disabled consumer loyalty is more important than ever before.  The senior 50+ and disabled market segments have tremendous spending power.  People don’t leave their homes just to buy a product.  They go to businesses to enjoy the experience.

At the beginning of the 21st century, those aged 65 or over made up five per cent of the population, in 20 years’ time, this proportion will rise to around 18 million, according to the Office of National Statistics.

Across the globe the number of those aged over 60 will nearly triple by 2050, rising to 2.4 billion, up from 894 million in 2010.

Even though the ADA,  Americans With Disabilities Act as the law for all business facilities, there are many other little things that can be done to increase the customer experience.  Happy customers tell their friends.  Unhappy customers post negative on-line reviews and don’t return.

As business people, we all know that it is harder to get a new customer off the street than it is to make your customer a repeat customer.  A disability-friendly business is a profitable business!

If a senior or disabled customer feels welcome, they will stay longer, spend more, and are more likely to become a repeat customer.

Do you know that less than 5% of disabled consumers use a wheel on a regular basis?

  • You cannot always tell just by looking at a person if they have a disability.

    See for Wheelchair travel tips.
    See for Wheelchair travel tips.
  • Customers with limited mobility, heart conditions, lung conditions and other medical conditions appreciate the use of a motorized shopping cart.
  • A comfortable shopping experience increases the time spent in your store and ultimately increases total sales.
Do you know that the combination of bad in-store customer service experiences and the ease of accessible websites for on-line shopping, an increasing number of senior and disabled consumers are spending their money from home?
  • People enjoy a friendly retail experience.  Shopping is not about products.  It’s about finding a solution and feeling good.  A disability friendly retail business will gain market share.

Customer Service Tips for Disabled and Senior Customers


  1. Speak directly to each customer and make eye contact.
  2. You rarely know who is living with a disability just by looking at them.  Many disabilities are invisible.
  3. Only 5% of the disabled population use a wheelchair on a regular basis.
  4. If a guest walks in and then uses the electronic cart, don’t judge them.  Heart conditions and many other conditions cause fatigue.
  5. A comfortable customer will shop longer and spend more.
  6. Disabled Consumers love to shop locally.
  7. Don’t per-judge.
  8. Not every disability is visible, nor is every disability as severe as it might appear.
  9. It’s OK to ask “Is there anything we can do to make your shopping  more convenient?”
  10. Offer specialized help to any customer who asks.
  11. No matter how minor the request, make sure your employees are aware that some requests are unusual.

    Wheelchair photo courtesy of travel blog.
    Wheelchair photo courtesy of travel blog.
  12. If a disabled customer makes an unusual request, as long as the request is safe for everyone,  politely fulfill it.
  13. Always ask first before automatically helping a disabled customer.
  14. Strive for positive feedback from your disabled customers.
  15. Staff should be alert and helpful to all customers.
  16. Train staff to understand the importance of treating all customers with the same amount of respect and courtesy.
  17. If a member of staff knows sign language, let the rest of the staff know.
  18. Train employees to speak directly to a hearing-impaired person, not to their companion. They should speak clearly, not loudly.
  19. Train employees to speak directly to any disabled customer, not to their companion.
  20. Offer disability awareness training to staff.
  21. Encourage persons with disabilities to work at your business
  22. When interviewing persons with disabilities, focus on the candidate’s skills and abilities, not the disability.
  23. Are policies, practices, and procedures flexible enough that, if necessary, modifications can be made to ensure that the skills and abilities of applicants with disabilities are equally represented?
  24. Know American Disabilities Act Employment Laws.


  1. Allowing service dogs is the LAW.

    Service Dog photo courtesy of
    Service Dog photo courtesy of
  2. Know which questions you may ask a person with a service dog.
  3. Always ask permission before petting service dogs.
  4. Always ask permission to offer a treat to the service dog.
  5. Always ask permission to offer the dog a bowl of water.
  6. Always let the Guest know where the dog can relieve itself.
  7. Provide a grassy area near the business entry for service dog relief.
  8. Provide plastic bags and waste disposal.
  9. It is illegal to question the disabled customer on the type of service dog.
  10. It is illegal to request seeing the service dog certification.
  11. You may only ask if the dog is a service dog and what service the dog performs.
  12. If a disabled consumer has a service dog with them, they need the dog.
  13. The only animals covered in ADA Law for Places of Accommodation are dogs and miniature  horses.  There are other guidelines for housing. (Fair Housing Act.)
  14. Many toy breed dogs are used as seizure and PTSD dogs.  You can’t judge a service dog by its breed.
  15. Don’t judge. Remember there are many hidden disabilities.
  16. As a business, you have the right to expect the service dog handler to control their service dogs behavior.


  1. Install flashing smoke and fire alarms to alert a deaf customer of emergency.

    Photo courtesey of wheelchair travel advocate.
    Photo courtesy of wheelchair travel advocate.
  2. Train staff to quickly and safely evacuate all people from the building.
  3. Do not block or lock exits.
  4. Have a safety and evacuation plan.
  5. Have an ADA Inspection of your business and correct all areas for ADA compliance.


  1. Is the entrance to the business accessible to persons with mobility limitations?

    The landscape architects at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates worked with sculptor Martin Puryear to design this courtyard at the New School University. The courtyard includes a spiral ramp that provides wheelchair access to the terrace. Courtesy Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.
  2. Install an automatic door button or a door with sensors.
  3. Many  doors are  too heavy for consumers with limited hand strength.
  4. Always be ready to open the door and welcome a customer.
  5. Is the entry to the building on an even hard surface and without steps?
  6. Install a lift or ramp.
  7. Is the entry clean and free of clutter and debris?
  8. If the accessible entrance is not immediately apparent, are there directional signs?
  9. Are there handicapped parking signs and spaces with necessary access space for vans with lifts?
  10. Post a notice on the front door that assistance will be provided for customers with disabilities.
  11. Avoid thick rubber mats or carpeting which may prove to be a trip hazard.
  12. In cases where mats are required, tapered edges will make using a walker or cane safer. In addition, black-and-yellow CAUTION tape may be applied at the edges for higher visibility.


  1. If large front windows face the morning or afternoon sun, provide light filtering shades to minimize glare.
  2. Glare can make it virtually impossible for a person with some visual impairment to move about safely.


  1. Provide at least one wheelchair-accessible checkout line with a lower counter to sign checks and receipts.
  2. Install tactile buttons at the checkout for customers with limited vision.DSSbrailephone
  3. Provide large fonts on the register screen.
  4. Install audible check out for hearing impaired customers.
  5. Provide a talking UPC bar code reader for hearing impaired consumers.
  6. Provide a handheld CCTV available for customer use in identifying merchandise and prices.
  7. Verify tactile dots on electronic signature screens.
  8. Keep paper and a pen at each register.
  9. When disabled customers use communication devices, ALWAYS be patient and wait for instructions.
  10. Give disabled consumers as much time as they need to check out. Be patient.
  11. If the store policy is for the customer to bag their own groceries, ask permission if the customer if they would like you to bag their groceries.
  12. Do not make any assumptions.
  13. Train staff to ask permission first before offering to assist disabled persons with lifting and carrying items out.


  1. Post a notice on the front door that assistance will be provided for customers with disabilities.
  2. ADA Code is very specific about braille signage locations.
  3. Make sure to read the code before investing in braille signage.
  4. Use large easy to find aisle numbers and items signs.
  5. Locate common items  at end caps.


  1. All businesses must provide accessible restrooms.
  2. Check the ADA Code. You might be surprised that if your restroom was built prior to 2010, it might be out of ADA compliance.
  3. Don’t clutter the restroom with furniture pieces, plant stands and decorative clutter.
  4. Don’t block access to the restroom.


  1. Provide movable seating and accessible tables that accommodate wheelchairs.
  2. Provide benches or chairs for disabled customers to rest. Many customers shop in pairs.
  3. Always make sure that there is a comfortable place for the disabled customer’s companion so that the shopper stays longer and buys more.


  1. Make sure that aisles are wide and meet ADA Code.
  2. Freezer and cooler doors should stay open until manually closed.
  3. Make sure that nothing protrudes into pathways.

    Photo courtesey of wheelchair travel advocate.
    Photo courtesy of wheelchair travel advocate.
  4. Appropriately space displays of merchandise for wheelchairs to maneuver through.
  5. A cluttered store is an uncomfortable store.
  6. People buy more when merchandise is easy to see and reach.
  7. Having excessive merchandise does not mean that consumers are buying more.
  8. A comfortable shopping experience increases total sales per consumer.
  9. Avoiding leaving unattended stacks of inventory in the aisle. Keep aisle clutter free.
  10. If removal of a barrier is not “readily achievable,” are the goods, services, etc. made available through alternative methods? Use high-contrast colored flooring in traffic areas, such as aisle.
  11. Provide large changing rooms with seats and appropriate level clothes hooks for wheelchair access in clothing departments.  Many changing rooms do not meet ADA Code.
  12. Checkered tiles or patterns can help a person with visual impairments find their way through a dark or complex store.
  13. Use different color walls or patterned flooring to delineate different departments.
  14. Different textures of carpet and flooring for help with direction and wayfinding.
  15. Disabled Consumers love to shop locally.
  16. Add a note on your Facebook or Website welcoming “Customers with disabilities – contact us if you need any special assistance.
  17. Make the company’s Website user-friendly to visitors with disabilities.

Disability-friendly businesses understand the tremendous spending power of this consumer segment and do everything in their power to welcome disabled customers to their business. This list is just a beginning. Consider getting a detailed  ADA Inspection and Accessibility Survey with a detail report.  Always remember that if you treat the disabled community well, you will have customers for life.

Disability Smart Solutions is full-service ADA Consulting firm offering ADA Compliance Access Surveys, Project Consultation, Post-Compliance Audits, All-Ability Customer Service Training, Undercover Disabled Guest Mystery Shopping, Universal Design Product Review and Keynote Speaking.  Please contact us to review your accessibility needs.

ADA Compliance
Improve the customer experience and everybody wins.






Customer Service for Disabled Consumers, 23 Excellent Tips

Customer Service for Disabled Consumers, 23 Excellent Tips

Disabled Consumers spend money
Customers don’t buy products. They buy solutions and good feelings.

Most business people believe they know the Golden Rules for customer service.  All too often,  employees and business owners are confused in how to provide appropriate customer service for senior and disabled consumers.  Instead of providing good service, they avoid the customer.  Has this ever happened at your business?

Most employers have an employee training program, yet they often forget to train employees specific rules for serving clients with different physical and mental capabilities.   Employees come from different background, cultures and experiences.   Managers can’t assume that they know how to properly handle all situations.  This is where ADA discrimination situations occur.

By implementing a Disability Etiquette training program in your business, you will ensure that all customers enjoy their experience and all employees feel confident in all situations.  Remember that customers are not in your business to buy a product. They are there to find a solution and feel good.    A happy customer is a customer for life.

Guess what?  Great customer service is the same for every customer!!!

  1. Know who YOU SERVE.   You serve the customer. You are not the boss.
  2. Make sure that your customer KNOWS YOU.
  3. GREET your customers at the door
  4. KNOW your customers.
  5. Everyone wants to feel important and APPRECIATED.
  6. Treat customers as INDIVIDUALS.
  7. SINCERITY matters.
  8. Do what you say you are going to DO.
  9. Make doing business with you EASY.
  10. If a customer makes a request for something special, do everything you can to say “yes.”  Appreciate the power of “YES.”
  11. Treat your EMPLOYEES well and they will treat your customers well.
  12. LISTEN to what your customers have to say.  Listen to their words, notice their tone of voice, observe their body language and find out how they FEEL.
  13. Don’t Assume.  ASK questions.
  14. TRAIN your employees to properly handle a complaint or irate person.
  15. Give customers the BENEFIT of the doubt.
  16. Know how to APOLOGIZE. The customer may not always be right, but the customer must always WIN.
  17. DEAL with problems immediately and let customers know what you have done.
  18. Make sure that employees know what to do and say to make that customer’s experience a POSITIVE, pleasant one.
  19. VALUE Customers COMPLAINTS.
  20. Encourage and  WELCOME  SUGGESTIONS about how you could improve.
  21.  Employees are your INTERNAL CUSTOMERS.   They also need a regular dose of appreciation.
  22. GIVE more than expected.
  23. THANK people even when they don’t buy.
By now you have realized that great customer service for disabled consumers is great customer service for everyone!

We are team builders. We make businesses accessible for all.  We provide Disability Etiquette Training for Business.  Disability Smart Solutions has the knowledge, innovation, imagination and collaborative partners to create successful inclusive solutions.  Please contact us to enhance your employee and customer engagement with both the aging and disabled populations.


  1. Inspect your building for ADA violations
  2. Recommend the changes that need to be made
  3. Recommend how to make the changes
  4. Review the completed changes to make sure that they are completed correctly
  5. Enhance the customer experience
  6. Train your key people
  7. Limit your exposure to ADA lawsuits