A New Jersey woman is suing Taco Bell for discrimination. The woman, who is deaf, allegedly visited two separate Taco Bell locations and tried to order by handing employees a piece of paper with her order written on it.
In one situation, the woman said she was berated by the manager and told that she wouldn’t be served. And in the other, she said the employees did not process her order and then ignored her when she went inside. The outcome of this lawsuit remains to be seen, but it doesn’t look great for Taco Bell.
Be Ready to Serve Special Needs Customers
This situation demonstrates the importance of businesses being able to accommodate all different kinds of customers. Running a small business almost certainly means having fewer employees, locations and customers than a big brand like Taco Bell. But you still need to be able to serve customers from any background and with any level of ability. That means you have to make sure that all of your employees understand that, and that they have a clear process for handling every situation.
Creating a hostile or unaccommodating environment for anyone is clearly bad business. The customer is likely to stop supporting you and tell others about their bad experience. So the best case scenario for your business is that your reputation will suffer. Though, as the Taco Bell example shows, you could face even worse repercussions.
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What about this thing suing businesses? It is like a scene taken from the Seinfeld with Kramer convinced by a “cockroach” lawyer to sue the cinema for not giving him the right to bring (external purchased) hot coffee into the theater. Couldn’t the woman get this settled in a different way? Or how about voting with her wallet (feet), and go to some other fast food place?
I’m not sure if she tried any other avenues, or what the courts will decide. But I think it’s important for businesses to be able to accommodate people with special needs regardless of any legal action that may come of these situations.
It is important to be sensitive to the customer’s needs no matter who they are. If you can, setup a system that caters to special needs.
I agree – customers have all different types of needs. So being able to help them in all those different situations is vital.