Today’s interview is with Gavin Neate, CEO and Founder of Neatebox, the umbrella company for WelcoMe and Button. WelcoMe lets service teams know when a disabled person is about to arrive and provides them with the very best general and personal information as to how to interact. Gavin joins me today talk about disability, disability and customer service/experience, inclusive CX, how WelcoMe is helping and what customer service and experience leaders should be thinking about.
This interview follows on from my recent interview – The lost child of customer experience (CX) is taking action – Interview with Jason Grier of Reputation — and is number 392 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.
Here’s the highlights of my chat with Gavin:
- Gavin used to train people how to use guide dogs. He used to match the dog with a particular client and then train the dog for that particular client and also train the client on how to use the dog.
- Who are the people that feel the least welcome when they go into a venue or a shop? Generally speaking it’s disabled people. It’s all people that have a problem communicating.
- The issue here is that staff don’t necessarily know how to communicate with disabled people.
- WelcoMe aims, through an app, to bridge that communication gap.
- Some stats on disability:
- 4% of disabled people use wheelchairs (UK)
- 20% of the world’s population are disabled and that includes everything from muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury, epilepsy, autism, schizophrenia, stammering, dyslexia, diabetes etc.
- 20% of the UK population equates to 13. 5 million people.
- 80% of disabled people have hidden conditions.
- The spending power of disabled people in the UK alone every year is £274 billion and is $8 trillion worldwide.
- 50% of disabled people have said they’ve experienced customer service so poor that they would go somewhere else if there was an alternative business.
- So, you will have got a very large proportion of people coming through your door who are disabled, but you would never know it.
- They may not be getting the same services as everybody else.
- For example, imagine someone that has schizophrenia walking up to a barista in Starbucks and saying “I’d like a flat white coffee, please. And, by the way, I also have schizophrenia. So, could you maybe not write my name on the side of it and call it out because that’s going to generate an uncomfortable feeling for me.” Many people won’t do that and will decide to just not bother going into Starbucks.
- But, if you know that…..then you can decide to do something different to help them and make them feel comfortable.
- This is a fast track to loyalty and it also empowers the disabled person too as it takes into consideration the individual’s wants, needs and requirements.
- Forrester has talked about how 2021 is going to be the year of inclusive customer experience. By implication does that mean CX wasn’t inclusive before? It probably wasn’t.
- The media has a big role to play in this. When we see people we start to realise that they are part of our society.
- I’ve written about disability before.
- Purple Goat Agency connects brands with the $8 trillion global disability market and is run by Martyn Sibley. All of the people that work for Purple Goat are disabled. Prior to Purple Goat, Martyn set up Accomable, an accessible holidays firm, that was bought by Airbnb.
- The WelcoMe app allows the user to set up a basic profile and they can then search for a list of the venues/businesses that are on the system. They pick a venue/business that they’re going to, provide a window of time when they plan on being at the venue and can also provide some info on what they want to do when they get there. That automatically triggers a message to the venue that includes all of those details plus an overview of the condition the person would like them to be aware of, links to information about that particular condition and top tips on how to best interact specific to that particular condition or anybody with that condition.
- A few of their clients: Diaggio, Deloitte, Scottish Government, Irish Rail, House of Fraser, Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest, Visit Scotland, North Link Ferries and they are just about to launch with he NHS as well as a number of other organisations.
- Everybody’s mobile phone has got the most amazing accessibility functions on it. Go into settings on your phone and take a look.
- Disabled people aren’t needy. They just need you to remove barriers.
- Caroline Casey, the founder and creator of Valuable 500, went to Davos to speak at the World Economic Forum. She’s managed to get 500 CEOs from the top companies in the world to say we’re going to think about inclusion, accessibility and diversity within our organisations as a matter of course.
- We need to change our attitudes towards other people. We need to start seeing other people as equal members of society. That’s the biggest challenge because when we see somebody as different, we we don’t necessarily take into consideration what we can do to make their experience better.
- We need to stop seeing people as other and start thinking of us as a global community of individuals who just need to be helped to get obtain and access services.
- We must embrace the idea that our organisations reflect society and as such our products and services need to as well.
- Elon Musk turned around the other day and said he had Aspergers.
- Gavin’s Punk CX word(s): Obvious
- Gavin’s Punk CX brand: BrewDog
Gavin Neate is the Founder and CEO of the Scottish company, Neatebox. During an 18 year career with Guide Dogs UK as a Mobility Instructor, he became increasingly aware of the role that technology would play in the evolution of services available for those living with a disability. Utilizing his knowledge of the sector and the increasing accessibility of smartphones Gavin developed the multi-award-winning “WelcoMe”, proximity aware customer service training and awareness platform. His belief was that if you could “train” staff immediately prior to the arrival of a consumer that you could totally change the way in which service is delivered. This truly innovative service has been installed and is providing enhanced customer service at increasing numbers of venues across the UK and Republic of Ireland including airports, banks, shops, tourist destinations, libraries, and retailers but for Gavin, this is so much more than a commercial venture. This is Tech4Good changing the world and a personal mission to provide equality for all.
Check out Neatebox, the WelcoMe app, say Hi to Neatebox and Gavin on Twitter @neatebox and @gavinneate and on Instagram @neatebox too. Finally, feel free to connect with Gavin on LinkedIn here.
Image by cris renma from Pixabay