Accessibility Standards for Customer Service

The Customer Service Standard is the first of the five standards to be introduced. This standard applies to all people, businesses and organizations that provide goods and services to the public or to other businesses or organization with one or more employees.

The goal of the Customer Service Standard is to ensure that people with disabilities are given the same access to goods and level of customer service as everyone else. Businesses are expected to provide goods and services under the principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity. The Standard will also mandate measures surrounding communication, assistive devices, guide dogs, service animals and service dogs, support persons, service disruptions, feedback and training.

Core Principles

Dignity
Dignified customer service will require businesses to develop policies, procedures and practices that ensure customers with disabilities receive the same respect, value and service as any other customer. Customer service will need to consider how customers with disabilities can effectively access and use services.

Independence
Independent customer service will require businesses to develop policies, procedures and practices that ensure customers with disabilities are given the freedom to make their own choices and do things in their own way. Customers who speak or do things slowly should not be denied an opportunity to participate in a program or service because of this factor. Customer service will need to ensure that staff members do not interfere if the customer would prefer to do it themselves.

Integration
Integrated customer service will require businesses to develop policies, procedures and practices that ensure customers with disabilities can access the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other customers. If integration is not possible, businesses will have to look at alternative measures to provide goods or services. Alternative measures, rather than integration, might be necessary because the customer requires it.

Equal Opportunity
Equal opportunity customer service will require businesses to develop policies, procedures and practices that ensure customers with disabilities have the same opportunity to benefit from the goods or services you provide. Customer service will need to ensure that customers do not have to make more effort or accept lesser quality in order to access your goods and services.

Equal opportunity does not mean providing the exact same service in the exact same way. Instead, it might require businesses to treat customers in a slightly different manner in order for them to fully benefit from the goods and services offered.

Reasonable Effort
Reasonable effort will depend on the business and situation; however, unless there are health and safety risks, providing services that meet the provisions should not be unreasonable.

Feedback forms along with alternate methods of providing feedback such as verbally (in person or by telephone) or written (hand written, delivered, website or email), will be available upon request.