11 Little-Known Accessibility Statistics All Business Owners Should Know
The world is becoming a more accessible place day by day. Whether it’s through providing ramps, automatic doors, or Braille signage, there is always work being done to improve things for disabled people. But what about the internet and appointment scheduling?
In this article, we’re taking you on a journey to discover eleven of the most often overlooked accessibility statistics that are causing businesses worldwide to lose customers. And being one of the only fully accessible online appointment booking system providers, we’ll be taking a closer look at access to appointments.
Almost everything these days is bookable online – from a car service to a trip to the dentist to a haircut. Success online means seamless appointment scheduling and ensuring you cater to everyone: those with disabilities and people who don’t have access to or advanced understanding of digital technology.
This may seem obvious, but all of your customers must be able to easily access and book your services. It’s also time to step away from only offering online bookable time slots and ignoring the other half of people who still prefer offline scheduling options.
Here are a few other benefits of offering appointment scheduling across multiple channels:
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Reduced wait times for customers
- 24/7 availability from any location or device
- Reduced paper use and a reduced carbon footprint
- Improved efficiency with less staff needed to handle phone calls or walk-ins
- Higher profitability
- Increased customer loyalty and higher retention rates
Simply by making a few changes to give all customers convenience and flexibility, you’ll increase your customer base, happiness, and revenue. We did some research to convince you to keep accessibility in mind when running your business; We’ve explored 11 interesting accessibility statistics about online appointment scheduling.
1. The number of people who have internet access is increasing
These days, it’s not just Millennials who are using Google as their main source of info. Many Gen Xers and even Baby Boomers have ditched the paperback Yellow Pages in preference of internet search.
In January 2021, it was estimated that around 4.66 billion people actively used the internet worldwide – this is 59.5% of the global population. Of this number, 92.6% surf the web via their mobile devices.
The internet has given the world access to more information than ever before. But with this greater awareness of technology also comes an increased need for accessibility online, so that all people can profit from our new digital age.
How many web users do you think would benefit from a more accessible means of booking their appointments online? Well, this leads to my next point…
2. 15% of the world’s population has a disability
According to the World Bank Group, around 15% of the world’s population has some form of disability. These staggering accessibility statistics refer to well over a billion people around the globe and 61 million adults in the US alone.
When it comes to booking appointments online, it’s often hard to find options that work for them. This is where 10to8’s WCAG compliant booking pages come in.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has a set of guidelines titled “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines” or WCAG. All of the WCAG guidelines states that all people should be able to access and understand web content.
10to8’s Accessibility Suite allows customers to schedule their appointments across multiple channels. Customers can book services online via screenreader-friendly booking pages that are easy-to-discover on the web and accessible for people with vision impairment or reduced mobility.
Furthermore, the new Accessibility Suite also offers automated phone bookings, which can be more convenient for many customers. Your clients can simply call a phone number that an automated assistant immediately picks up and they can book any of your available slots by using the phone’s keypad and their voice.
For the billions of people worldwide who can benefit from accessible scheduling, this is a game-changer that can provide them with more flexibility and control over their appointments without putting more pressure on your business.
3. Ignoring the needs of vision-impaired customers results in abandoned carts
Around the world, 2.2 billion people have some level of vision impairment. Since a large percentage of them will use the internet, it’s critical to consider how a visually impaired person would access your appointment booking software.
A study revealed that two-thirds of the internet transactions initiated by people with vision impairments end in cart abandonment. This is because the websites aren’t accessible enough to finish the transaction. 90% of people said that they’ve ended up making their purchase through another, more accessible website.
Another of the most shocking web accessibility statistics is that two-thirds of the top 10 online retailers have accessibility issues. This means they are losing out on a potential $6.9 billion in potential eCommerce revenue each year.
There have even been court cases over online booking accessibility including a case that was filed against Domino’s in 2017. Domino’s lost because people using screen readers were unable to use certain features of their app.
Essential services, such as the ones on government websites are not exempt from poor accessibility either; 70% of blind people reported being unable to access info or services through government organization websites.
4. The majority prefers online bookings but…
Booking over the phone tends to connotate long hold times and robotic voices stating ‘your call is important to us’. The frustration of low-quality voice bookings is probably why almost 70% of people prefer booking their appointments via the internet.
However, if we consider that 15% of people may have some form of disability, it becomes clear why offering an improved scheduling flow both on the phone and online is crucial.
5. Accessible appointment reminders can prevent even more no-shows
Offering accessible online appointment booking is a great way for businesses to reduce costly no-shows as well as provide convenience for customers.
Since the start of the pandemic, appointment no-shows have risen by over 5%. By industry, the medical sector has the highest rate of no-shows, followed by education, finance, and retail.
This translates into a lot of lost revenue for business owners which can end up quite costly. However, implementing automated SMS and email reminders can reduce no-shows by up to 90%. If you also use voice reminders, the number of missed appointments can be further reduced.
It also means that people with disabilities or those who aren’t comfortable with technology will be reminded of their upcoming meetings in a way that best suits them. It’s not enough to make your public booking calendar accessible – the follow-up messages need to hit the target too.
6. Accessible appointments means more customers
Of the disabled people that have access to the internet, only 52.2% use it, indicating a rather large inequality. If this inequality was eliminated, businesses could serve a larger audience which would lead to an increase in online bookings and a subsequent rise in a business’s customer base and revenue.
Nobody likes feeling excluded. Online appointment scheduling provides an opportunity for companies to grow their customer base by helping people who need additional support manage their own bookings.
By offering accessible online appointment scheduling, companies can reach more people. Businesses can achieve better customer service and medical practices, in particular, can provide a better patient experience.
7. Voice technology can unlock accessibility
People are spending more and more time on their phones. In fact, we now spend an average of 3 hours and 15 minutes on our phones daily, a 9-minute increase from 2018.
According to a 2020 study, more than 3.25 billion people worldwide are using voice assistants like Siri and Alexa to find information and make appointments for them. This is a much faster and hassle-free way of getting something done and also takes a lot of the human interaction out of the picture.
Plus, 70% of people book their appointments via their mobile phones. 21% book online via a desktop and 3% use their tablet. Offering people the ability to simply book appointments with a series of voice commands instead of having to log in via an online portal, is giving businesses a new opportunity to reach more people.
Assistants like Google’s AI are already placing appointments if commanded. But it is still lesser known that some scheduling platforms, like 10to8s Accessibility Suite, enables customers to do the same by calling a phone number. No need to get familiar with voice assistants, and it works even when the network connection is weak.
8. The online scheduling market value is growing
The online scheduling market is increasing in value. In 2018, the value of the market was estimated at $205.85 million. This is expected to rise by 13.1% CAGR and is expected to hit $546.31 million by 2026.
The industry is also branching out into many different sectors. The most popular are wellness and healthcare appointments which make up 25% of all appointments booked online.
Online scheduling offers many benefits over traditional manual methods: it is much easier to access and use for customers, it is more seamless, and it takes off the admin pressure of the business by automating the scheduling flows. If you automate both the online and offline booking process, you’ll end up with something accessible and seamless.
9. Over 78% of healthcare providers use patient portals
When it comes to accessibility statistics, the figures prove that online appointment scheduling for healthcare is very important. This becomes even more apparent when you look at how many people are using this type of medical technology.
Over 78% of all healthcare providers now use a patient portal to allow patients to easily book their own appointments. 77% of patients think that having the ability to book, cancel, or change appointments online is important.
Booking and modifying appointments online makes things much easier for everyone involved. According to a recent study, 68% of all patients expect to be able to book medical appointments online – this is an increase of 17.2% from 2016. In fact, over half said they’d switch practices for the ability to book appointments online.
This upward trend is also likely to continue as more people prefer the ease of virtual appointments. Therefore providing accessibility features for those that need additional support is vital.
10. The number of doctors who use video chat has increased
In 2020, coronavirus caused a dramatic increase in patients using video chat for doctor’s appointments.
A survey found that 95% of GPs were providing remote consultations, and 88% wanted them to continue in the future. Online doctor appointments increase flexibility and efficiency while reducing chaos and overcrowding in waiting rooms.
It’s also easier for many people with disabilities to attend a virtual appointment instead of an in-person one. This has led to many experts in the space thinking that such technology could be used as an effective way to increase access to healthcare around the world.
A successful example of making healthcare appointments easier to attend to is Scotland’s Near Me program that helps citizens in the most remote parts of the country to reach healthcare professionals with ease. Such efforts had been well-received even before the pandemic, but with our attitude to remote consultations changed, we can expect more growth in telemedicine.
For people with disabilities to successfully attend video calls, adjustments may need to be made.
11. Only 27% of websites have accessible forms
Accessibility is essential in all aspects of a website, not just the text or videos. When it comes to booking appointments or placing an order online, many businesses turn to request forms.
However, a shocking 92% of top eCommerce sites don’t properly cater to disabilities and have inadequate form field descriptions in their checkout process. Such forms lead to frustration, abandoned carts, and lost business.
Try to make your website’s forms as accessible as possible by ensuring that they can be navigated via a keyboard, have clear tabbing, labeled fields, and helpful error messaging.
In fact, studies have shown that clear error messaging in online booking forms can help increase success rates by 22%, increase user satisfaction ratings by 31%, and decrease completion time by 42% for people with disabilities.
Fewer than one in three websites have clear contact information or instructions for blind people to seek help if they encounter accessibility issues. Unfortunately, this means many have low levels of success in reporting and solving these problems.
We hope you’ve been able to glean some helpful insights from this blog post and these accessibility statistics have given you a better understanding of why making your website and booking page accessible is so important.
To help ensure that your company is doing everything possible to provide an inclusive and accessible experience for every single person, we launched the 10to8’s Accessibility Suite.
This new suite incorporates solutions such as:
- Automated phone booking flows
- Automated WCAG-compliant online booking platform
- Accessible reminders via SMS, email, and voice calls
- Patient portal with a high-contrast design
- And more.
To see how the 10to8 Accessibility Suite works and book a discovery call with our team, please call +44 740 108 1028 or visit our online booking calendar.
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