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Customer Service Policy

Excellent customer service is a top priority with North Wellington Co-op. By recognizing the importance of the terms set up by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), we will improve our customer service to all. The number one step is to be patient, considerate and respectful. Asking “How can I help you?” sincerely and listening to and respecting the customer’s answer will go a long way to meeting the customer’s expectations.

The proper way to address a person with a disability is to refer to the person first and then the disability. For example, a person who is blind not a blind person, or a person with a learning disability, or a person with a hearing impairment.

 

The following definitions are key terms the AODA considers important. NWC is going to address them as follows:

Disability: any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness. Or a condition of mental impairment, mental disorder, developmental disability, learning disability or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language. Includes hearing impairment, vision impairment, speech impediment, restricted mobility, mental health, learning disability, amputee or prone to seizures.

Barriers: something that keeps a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society. Includes attitude (way people think and behave), architectural or structural (steps, doors), information and communication (print, visual), technology (gadgets), systemic (the way it’s always been done).

North Wellington Co-op’s attitude is very good. We participate in retail training provided by GROWMARK. We strive to be a friendly, welcoming environment. All of our locations have a street level entry although some are not the main enterance. NWC does not have public washrooms. Our staff is very knowledgeable; if we can’t provide print copy of information we can give a verbal description. Our website should be compatible with screen readers and we are looking to have adjustable font in 2013.

 

Four Key Principles

Independence: freedom of control or influence, allow customer to make their own decisions at their own pace.

NWC employees will address the person with disability, not the support person, when they are servicing the customer. We will honour their requests for packaging or loading so they can maintain their independence.

Dignity: treating all customers as valuable and deserving.

The success of NWC is because of our high level of customer service and loyal customers. The nature of a co-operative, owned by members, ensures every customer is treated equally. Our branches have multiple check-outs so time can be given to all customers for help choosing products and payment options.

Integration: providing services to people with disabilities in the same fashion as other customers, or provide alternative measures.

Every customer is greeted with a “How can I help you?” We will respect every customer’s answer and do as they request, within reason. If we can’t fulfill their request we will try to find another employee who can help them. We already offer to carry out or load bags for every customer. We provide home delivery for all customers, for a fee, at each branch.

Equal opportunity: the person with a disability has the same opportunity, benefits, options, chances and results as any other person.

NWC’s retail businesses are open many hours through the week and we try to provide full customer service to everyone. Our two gas bars are full service. We do not have public washrooms.

 

Accessibility Tools

Assistive Devices: a tool that enables a person with a disability to do everyday tasks and activities, including wheelchairs, scooters, screen readers, interpreter, oxygen tank, hearing aid, door openers, canes, speech generating, communication board, elevator, ramp, etc.

NWC has limited assistive devices. We have level entry in each branch at one entry point, but not always the main door. We do have decent aisle space and shelf height. Our website is compatible with a screen reader. Our employees will ask the customer how to help with their personal assistive devices if there is a problem, not take over.

Service animals: an animal used by a person with a disability for reasons relating to his or her disability, including dogs, birds, monkeys, snakes etc.

A letter from a physician may be requested. All types of service animals are acceptable at our retail locations. We must remember they are working animals and not pets! Allergic employees will vacate the area if affected and another employee is available.

Support persons: accompany a person with disability in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs or with access to goods or services.

All support persons are welcome in our stores. If privacy is a concern for the person with the disability we will ask them how they would like us to handle it.