A major national High Street service provider believes there is a strong business case for ensuring that they meet the needs of their disabled customers.

They acknowledge that whilst 11 million plus may be the figure that is generally quoted as the number of disabled people in the UK, in an ageing population, the incidence of disability is bound to increase. They believe that although many older customers might deny that they were ‘disabled’, they will almost certainly benefit from improved ccessibility and inclusive design.

The client commissioned this research in order to identify the experiences of its own disabled customers as well as those of other High Street service providers. The requirement was for qualitative rather than quantitative research in order to gain deeper individual customer insights. They wanted to measure the effectiveness of their Accessibility policies and procedures against actual disabled customer fulfilment.

Mary-Anne designed for the client a range of research methods which included mystery shopping and customer satisfaction questionnaires. One hundred members of her panel of disabled researchers were involved in mystery shopping scenarios which were carefully designed to measure issues which included:

  • Disability awareness of branch staff
  • Access to the built environment and debit/credit card machines
  • Induction loops and BSL support
  • Printed material and alternative formats
  • Use of websites
  • Telephone communication and call centre IVR systems
  • Specific products/service

Their findings were incorporated into a detailed, easy to read report providing undeniable evidence and powerful customer quotes as well as recommendations.

The client believes there are real commercial opportunities for them to take the lead and become the exemplar as a service provider. Understanding the issues faced by disabled customers with a range of impairments is critical and the findings of this research, and the valuable insights of these disabled customers, provided the client with robust evidence on current performance and improvements that need to be made.






“Our brief to Mary-Anne was for a qualitative piece of research involving 100 disabled people. We were delighted with the way she interpreted our brief and in the quality of feedback that she and her panel members provided. Not all the feedback made easy reading but having identified some weak points, we are now in a position to rectify these which we think will give us a competitive advantage.” 2011