We’ve talked about how and why a website should be built to meet WCAG 2.0 guidelines but in the final part of our series, we’ll talk about how an accessible site can lead to a uniquely satisfying customer experience, increased brand loyalty and may even convert customers into brand advocates.
Customers still want your product, but in 2016, what they really want is the experience.
A recent article in Customer Think said, When today’s consumer has questions about your product, it is no longer acceptable to wait for the answers— they must be addressed in real time or the customer will turn to the next readily available and better option.
The article then goes on to list 13 things a brand can do to improve the customer experience, but none of them address web accessibility or even mention people with disabilities. That’s a huge oversight for any marketer.
The truth of the matter is that when a website is built to meet WCAG 2.0 guidelines, it gives people with disabilities, who use assistive technology like screen readers, the opportunity to seamlessly navigate the digital space. When these customers aren’t frustrated by their digital experience, it’s easier for them to do business with you.
Crunching the numbers
The purchasing power of people with disabilities is enormous. It’s estimated that there are more than a billion people globally who identify as having a disability. Add in friends and family and that number jumps to 2.2 billion. These two billion people have an estimated spending power of five trillion U.S. dollars. Knowing those numbers now, it makes sense for organizations to want to provide that seamless customer experience in the digital space.
Here are some more numbers: more than eight in 10 people with disabilities have chosen not to give their business to a service provider because of barriers; poor web accessibility is one reason cited. When customers have a frustrating experience with a brand’s website, they walk away.
People with disabilities are looking for a seamless online solution, and they are willing to spend their money with brands who provide a consistent online experience.
Providing the customer experience
Providing a truly delightful experience is more than adhering to the WCAG 2.0 Level A, AA and AAA guidelines and standards such as the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), Section 508, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), Air Carriers Access Act (ACAA) and Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). That’s just the start.
A site that can call itself accessible provides a customer experience that goes beyond the standards. It takes the steps to accommodate people by ensuring that everything on the site – content, web browsers, media players, assistive technology, automated testing solutions, authoring and evaluation tools – is geared towards accessibility.
Gaining brand advocates
One of the ultimate goals is to convert customers from buyers to advocates – the ones who love your brand enough to talk about it to other. That’s marketing that money can’t buy, but it can be earned.
A customer who has been referred by another customer has a 37% higher retention rate according to Deloitte. That’s because customers trust other customers.
It’s time for brands to create an engaging customer experience to delight customers, and convert them into advocates. The benefits are obvious: happy customers, new customers, better retention, less money spent on attracting new customers and a better bottom line.
The growing market and spending power of people with disabilities should encourage marketers to ensure their brands are disability-friendly. With legislation to make organizations accountable and the increasing role of the internet in people’s lives, ensuring a brand is disability-friendly is just good business.
Whitepaper: The Jargon Free Guide to Web Accessibility
For a deeper dive into the barriers that prevent digitally seamless experience, and to better understand accessible web design and how it benefits your organization, download our whitepaper where you can learn about:
- Digital accessibility compliance
- How organizations can benefit from ensuring that their digital products are accessible
- How people with disabilities use the web and the barriers they encounter
- A jargon free explanation of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0
- Web accessibility tools
An Innovative Solution
eSSENTIAL ACCESSIBILITY has developed a comprehensive accessibility solution to help organizations follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and achieve and maintain compliance with standards and regulations. This includes integrating web compliance evaluation services with assistive technology to deliver a transformative experience for people with disabilities. Learn more about eSSENTIAL ACCESSIBILITY’s innovative solution.