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ADA and the Internet: ADA Settlements – Customer Service

Written by: Beth Crutchfield

This is the 7th and final installment in the ADA and the Internet Series.

Settlements will typically contain language about providing customer service to users with disabilities. This includes a requirement that you provide a method for users with disabilities to access customer service as well as a requirement to train your customer service representatives so they understand how to properly handle and escalate issues related to accessibility.

For example, when someone contacts customer service and says “I have an issue using the site in JAWS,” we don’t want the response to be “What is JAWS?” Representatives should also know to ask “Are you using an assistive technology?” for certain classes of questions, and know when and how to escalate such issues.

Providing alternative format documents (e.g., Braille or large print) on request is a standard part of most accessibility settlements. This is a well-known and broadly settled tenant of access, we are just recently seeing its movement online.

One interesting thing we have seen is the request to add a flag to an account so that alternative formats don’t have to be requested more than once. (i.e. once you request to have documents in large print you always get them in large print). We have been seeing more and more of our enterprise accounts do this as a matter of good customer service. Thus, if it can be technically supported, this is a good practice to implement. The catch is “if it can be technically supported” which can be complicated given the legacy systems in place.

Additionally, documenting your “catalog” of available accommodations is a helpful practice to ensure employees in your organization are well-versed in accommodations that are routinely supported.