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Good practice for providing accessible communications

November 06, 2018

Be customer-focused

If the document is for a specific individual, feel free to check if they have specific requirements or requests. For example, Pia's large print is 18pt as standard, but if you ask, you might find the individual prefers 22pt. Even where you have several customers, it's good practice to try and meet individual requirements. A good accessible format provider should be able to help organisations manage their specific requirement data so that you don't have to keep repeating the same questions to your customers.

Be format flexible

There's a range of accessible formats and some individuals with print impairment may vary requests depending on the type of document being transcribed. Both braille and large print users may choose to have a certain type of document in audio instead of the 'print' format.

Be consistent

Once you have a record of a customer's requirements, keep it safe and accessible, either internally or with your accessible format supplier, so that future information is supplied the same way. Ensure that all your departments, branches or offices offer the same service and are made aware of specific requests, and that all printed literature state that it can be produced in accessible formats.

Be open to feedback

It's good practice to encourage individuals with print impairment to give you feedback on your service, just as it is with all your other customers. You may not have the skills to check the quality of your accessible formats yourself, so get some feedback from the ones who do have the skills. Your accessible format supplier will also be delighted to receive the feedback so make sure you pass it on.

Be prepared for change

Just like the rest of the population, people with print impairment change over time. A print impairment can deteriorate or improve, so an individual may need to change the format they receive from you. Being open to feedback is a really good way to make sure you're still getting your message across effectively.

Be proud and clear

If you offer a great service that includes accessible formats, make it clear. It's a selling point for organisations and services that they are available to individuals with a range of needs. Make it clear that you offer accessible formats and how individuals should go about getting hold of them. Take pride in your great customer service!

Be diligent

There are a number of organisations that provide accessible formats. You should make sure you have the right provider for the right job. Any provider worth their salt will be more than happy to provide you with samples of their work, so make sure you are going to get what you expect. Along with price, the quality of accessible formats can vary. UKAAF has information on the minimum standards that accessible formats you provide should be meeting.

Providing good customer service to people with a print impairment is a great way to market to those individuals, their friends and family, and to the wider public. If you'd like to know more about providing accessible formats, the team at Pia are always ready to provide you with some sound, ethical and pragmatic solutions for your accessible format headaches.

By Sharon Williams

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