AODA Expert

Tips for Breaking Barriers

Removing barriers is crucial in providing accessible customer service, here are some tips to break barriers:



  • Consider how your organization can prepare to meet customers’ communication needs.
  • Ask your customers how you can communicate with them
  • Offer a chair if a conversation is going to be lengthy
  • Make yourself eye level if someone is in a wheelchair
  • Offer documents in accessible formats if the customer requests them
  • Be patient
  • Keep signage simple with large lettering

Assistive devices

  • Consider how your organization can prepare to serve customers who use assistive devices
  • If you have assistive devices on site, make sure the staff know how to use them
  • Offer the space and time that may be required to modify your services to meet the needs of customers using assistive devices
  • Can you offer helpful measures as in helping customers with disabilities with a carryout service or delivery?

Support persons

  • Consider how your organization can serve customers who have a support person
  • Avoid charging fees for the support person
  • If you charge admission for a support person, clearly state the admission fee in advance

Allow service animals

  • Review the definition of a service animal and what questions an employee can ask if unsure
  • Welcome service animals into public areas of your workplace or business
  • Consider how your organization can prepare to serve people with service animals
  • Do not apply standard pet policies to service animals

Barrier-free access

  • Organize the space so there is room for wheelchairs, scooters and walkers
  • Consider seating options if clients must wait for service
  • Consider both audio and visual cues when informing customers that it is their turn to be served
  • Keep hallways and waiting rooms clear of clutter
  • Ensure the placement of standing signage is not a tripping hazard
  • Come up with ideas of how to take service to your customer if your structure is not accessible

Accessible features temporarily not available

  • Make a list of the accessible facilities and services some people rely on
  • Prepare a template notice in advance
  • Include the reason for the disruption and if possible, how long the service will be unavailable and what alternative facilities or services are available
  • Post the notice in a place where people are most likely to find it

Invite customers to provide feedback

  • Determine how you want to receive feedback (email, in person, on your website)
  • How will you respond to feedback, including advice?
  • How will you let customers know about the process?

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