Making your CX design more LGBTQIA+ inclusive
June is Pride month – an opportunity to celebrate the social and legal reform that has been made to support the LGBTQIA+ community and reflect on what more can be done. While we see many brands marking the occasion with rainbow logos, not all recognise the need for inclusivity to stretch to CX design. However, an inclusive customer experience can make customers feel better represented and heard – and prevent negative moments that could damage your brand reputation and cause customers to abandon purchases.
IDENTIFYING CUSTOMER IDENTITIES
Empathising with your customer and how they may identify can be a key step towards understanding their needs. But asking people to share information about their identity, especially when it comes to gender and sexual orientation, can be sensitive. To get the most accurate information and avoid alienating, consider the following:
- Be strategic: consider what data you want to capture, why you want it, and how you’ll use it. Only ask your audience to share what you really need to know.
- Be open: if you want your customers to be open with you, you need to be open with them. Explain why you’re asking demographic questions and how their response will help improve your service.
- Be specific: to avoid incorrect data, it’s important to acknowledge the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation. For example, if a customer identifies as transgender and heterosexual, you may wrongly assume they are not part of the LGBTQIA+ community if you only ask about their sexual orientation.
- Be accurate: use up-to-date language to show your brand’s respect for and understanding of the LGBTQIA+ community. Terminology is constantly changing, so remember to refresh this when necessary.
- Be inclusive: the LGBTQIA+ community includes such a diverse spectrum of gender and sexual identities that it would probably be impossible to include all of them on a form. Allowing people to fill in their own option can stop them from simply skipping the question while making them feel heard.
- Be flexible: according to research by SurveyMonkey, as many as 27% of respondents may quit a survey if they’re not able to skip a question.1 Include a ‘prefer not to answer’ option on forms and surveys to avoid dropout and show sensitivity to your audience.
MOVING PAST ‘MR AND MRS’
We all make assumptions, especially when we’re busy and need to get things done. But sometimes, a comment or communication from one of your employees can unknowingly be insensitive or even offensive. Recently, when planning a trip for myself and my girlfriend, I received an email that addressed me as ‘Mr Bettis’. The customer service employee had incorrectly assumed that I was a man, rather than considering the possibility that I may not be in a heterosexual relationship.
This kind of interaction will be familiar to many people in the LGBTQIA+ community. Although not ill-intentioned, it creates a negative moment in your customer journey – and very possibly, one that a customer will remember and repeat to their friends. The answer is simple: awareness. Investing in diversity training for your customer-facing employees will help them to provide excellent service to all your customers, while promoting an inclusive environment within your company.
Making your customer experience inclusive is not just about avoiding negativity – there are also opportunities to celebrate and champion the LGBTQIA+ community. Mastercard’s True Name® scheme allows transgender and nonbinary cardholders to use the name that best reflects their identity, while keeping payments secure. But you don’t have to make innovations: simply using inclusive language and photography on your website and social media channels can show that your brand represents and serves a diverse audience.