Post Office® Changing Mindsets - a focus on inclusive design

Setting the scene

By 2020 half the adult population will be aged 50+ and whilst many older people will not see themselves as disabled, everyone acquires impairments as they get older. The need has never been greater for products, services and environments to be developed in such a way that they do not exclude, but instead reflect more accurately the diverse needs of today’s users – particularly older and disabled people.

Requirement

Post Office® wanted to inspire their sales and marketing teams, and motivate them to make the services and products that they design, inclusive of the needs of disabled and older customers from concept design to delivery.

Solution

Following her assessment of the Post Office® disabled customer journey, Mary-Anne was asked to put together an inspirational event for the sales and marketing teams. She worked closely with key personnel in Royal Mail Group and Post Office® to come up with a programme outline which she then further developed and delivered.

The solution was a one-day interactive event to raise delegates’ awareness of the needs of disabled and older people, and their customer journey with Post Office® and marketing to Baby Boomers. The aim was to inspire delegates to be inclusive, as well as creative, so that the products and services they develop, are easy to use for everyone. This event aimed to engage hearts and minds and trigger an emotional empathetic connection to help all delegates understand disabled people’s point of view.

The key to the success of this event was the involvement of older and disabled people as motivational speakers, and as customers. The customer interaction took the form of ‘speed dating’ with delegates spending 10 minutes with one disabled or older customer before moving onto another.

Mary-Anne's relationship with her wide ranging network of disabled people enabled her to identify appropriate participants. Delegates spent time with customers with personal experience of blindness, partial sight, deafness, hearing impairment, mobility/manual dexterity difficulties, wheelchair use or age related issues. They also carried out a series of exercises with these customers in order to further understand the issues they face and how these can best be overcome.

Benefit

Delegates' feedback:

“I will treat questions around disability as genuinely important responsibility now that I understand them. Before, through my own lack of understanding I would have treated these as an irritation”.

"I found the opportunity to meet disabled customers extremely beneficial".

"I just didn't have any awareness. This day has really provided me with focus on disability in New Product Development".

By seeing the removal of barriers to serving their older and disabled customers as an opportunity, rather than a problem, Post Office® will be able to deliver true accessibility to all their customers.

Employers’ Forum on Disability research has indicated that 83% of disabled people ‘walk away' from inaccessible or unwelcoming businesses, and 67% of disabled people choose businesses which are good at serving disabled customers. Companies that make products which are too complicated for disabled or older people to use are missing out on a huge potential market.

Client feedback

 

 

 ‘I value Mary Anne’s input, her appreciation of corporate objectives and her disability knowledge and understanding meant that her proposed solutions really hit the mark. 

Her enthusiasm, professionalism and attention to detail mean that you can have absolute confidence of a successful event, which delivers on the day and has a long term impact.’

 

Penny Slatter, General Manager Direct Sales, Post Office Ltd