As we go through the normal routine of our daily lives, it is easy to forget/neglect the challenges that others may face. This month’s Change Practitioner Award goes to a company who has put the wellbeing of a particular group of people at the heart of a new initiative to improve their wellbeing. The Facilitate4Me Change Practitioner of the Month award goes to…… ASDA, for introducing a quiet hour in one of its stores to help people suffering from autism.
In April, the Cheetham Hill branch of an ASDA store in Manchester announced that they would open an hour earlier, but there is a catch. During this one hour period, the store is likely to be noticeably quieter, as all electronic disturbances such as music, display TVs, escalators and the public address system will be turned off.
The catalyst for this pioneering policy was, according to manager Simon Lea, a combination of his own personal struggles with anxiety and after witnessing an autistic boy in a store struggling to cope with the noise.
In a world that always seems to cater to the majority, it is refreshing and admirable that a large company like ASDA can see the value in ensuring that they act in the best interests of everyone. Not only does such a strategy improve the daily lives of thousands of its customers (just over one in 100 adults in the population have autism), but it also positively impacts the company’s brand image. ASDA’s compassionate and empathetic approach will surely resonate with a wide range of people, hopefully strengthening the loyalty among its regular customers whilst attracting new ones.
Either way, this announcement by the UK’s second biggest supermarket chain should be an example to its competitors and other companies more generally. When it comes to high quality customer service, it is vital that businesses are creative in the methods they use in order to deliver it.
Ebony is a legal secretary and a 2:1 law graduate. She has a passion for law and sports, and writes her own sports blog at ebonylovessports.blogspot.co.uk.