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Seeing ourselves as "customers" (#IAmYourCustomer)

Sometimes sitting around a kitchen table produces amazing results. This is exactly what happened one day recently when AEBC members Sharlyn and Deanna got together around Sharlyn's kitchen table - the new AEBC's "I Am Your Customer" campaign was the result.

We have come to see ourselves as "consumers," and this is a positive development, as a growing number of us now have developed heightened expectations of the extent and quality of services that are available to us. But even though far too many of us remain unemployed and live in poverty, we also purchase a wide array of products in the marketplace, and this makes us "customers," though we do not often think of ourselves in this way.

The AEBC's new "I Am Your Customer" campaign does not ask us to stop thinking of ourselves as consumers, but it wants us to also consider our role in the marketplace as customers, and bring our heightened expectations to our attempts to obtain product information and to shop. This campaign should be seen as a "win win" opportunity, both for business and for members of the blind community.

A growing number of large businesses are increasingly focused on the accessibility market and are levering products and services design to attract and retain blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted customers.

Companies such as Apple Corp, Google, Microsoft, IBM, FaceBook, Large Canadian banks, and many others are focused on this growing sector for a variety of reasons, including Increased competition in the marketplace for customers who rely on accessibility; Compliance with legislative requirements for accessibility;and the desire to be a leader, on the cutting edge of opportunities for business expansion, both at home and in the international marketplace.

Do we expect store ads and product manuals to be available in a format we can easily read? Do we expect point of sale devices and kiosks to be usable by us without sighted assistance? Do we expect websites to be easily navigable and usable? Do we expect products to be usable when we take them out of the box without the need for expensive add ons or workarounds? Do we expect sales staff to treat us with the same degree of respect they treat others?

Too often, individuals who are blind, deaf-blind, and partially sighted ask, but our requests often go unheard and unanswered,but together we can speak loud and clearly, and in one unified voice.

To get involved in this new campaign and have some fun at the same time, visit the AEBC website, http://www.blindcanadians.ca and join the I Am Your Customer Campaign - One voice. More Choice!

Disclaimer:

This blog is curated by the AEBC, but welcomes contributions from members and non-members alike. The thoughts, views, and opinions expressed in the Blind Canadians Blog are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the AEBC, its members, or any of its donors and partners.
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