Disabled Fans Need: Information and Customer Service
Posted on 11.05.2018
Our 2018 State of Access Report found that Deaf and disabled music fans still face a range of avoidable barriers when trying to book tickets for live music events – over 80% of our survey respondents had experienced problems during the booking process, and three quarters felt discriminated against.
In order to support the live music sector in removing those barriers, we’ve outlined five key things that Deaf and disabled fans need in order to have an equal experience of access booking.
This is the second in a series of articles exploring those recommendations in more detail. Read Part 1 here.
Part 2: Deaf and disabled fans need accurate and disability-aware information and customer service.
While our State of Access Report focused primarily on the booking process, there’s a range of external factors, in particular, information and customer service, which have a huge impact on that process and the customer’s experience of it. Read on to find out why accurate access information, and disability-aware customer service, are essential components of the booking process.
“One big problem is finding out HOW to book - info is often hidden away and not obvious.”
In our 2016 State of Access Report, we focused in on the critical importance of comprehensive access information for Deaf and disabled customers, and published guidance for the industry through our Access Starts Online campaign. Two years on, this topic is as relevant as ever.
In our 2018 Access Booking Survey, 76% of respondents had been put off booking tickets due to lack of access information about a venue or event.
All online ticket sale locations should be signposting people to access information and flagging up how to make access bookings. This is particularly important where there are multiple sellers but only one handling access-related ticketing, and an example where business competitors need to signpost to each other for the benefit of fans.
“Access info is not always available and can be difficult to find online. One time when I found the access information, the instruction was to contact the access enquiries by email or phone to make an access request. I mentioned in my email that I'm Deaf and unable to use the phone. In their response, they provided one option which was to phone the arena's access team to book the tickets.”
Access information and access booking go hand in hand. As well enabling customer confidence and decision making, it doubles as essential information for internal and external ticket sales staff – which has a knock on effect on customer service.
“When staff are well informed, it is good to speak to someone on the phone to confirm my access requirements are understood. Speaking to someone on the phone is a good gauge of how 'access savvy' a venue and its staff are. Speaking to a friendly and helpful member of staff makes me feel confident in attending.”
Informed customer service massively impacts the experience of Deaf and disabled fans and there are many venues, events and ticketing companies getting this right.
However, our survey found that 47% of people had experienced staff on the phone contradicting online access policies:
“Saying they don’t recognise the Access Card when their online policy says they do.”
“Three different staff members all told me different things.”
Issues can also arise if third-party sellers are not equipped with relevant access information:
“[I was] told a venue was accessible only to find no one had told booking staff of building works.”
Some people also reported issues relating to basic disability awareness and terminology – easily rectified with Disability Equality and Inclusive Communication training and policies:
“I have been asked if I’m ‘registered disabled’ and what my ‘disability’ is. It is often assumed that I am a wheelchair user or have a mobility impairment.”
Yet again, the end result of these avoidable communication issues are predictable:
“Some staff have not known how to book accessible tickets or log access requirements. On a couple of occasions this has led to [me] being unable to access tickets at all.”
Ultimately, comprehensive, consistent and accurate information, combined with trained, respectful and informed staff (whether external or in-house), are essential to any access booking process. Find out about our Disability Equality Training, and free guidance on creating good access information.
Our Vision for Access Booking: Information and Customer Service
- Uniform standard for access information adopted across the industry, as outlined in Attitude is Everything’s Access Starts Online guidance.
- Uniform terminology for access bookings adopted across the industry.
- Internal and external sales staff for venues or events familiar with all access booking policies.
- Disability Equality and Inclusive Communication Training for all frontline sales staff.