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The Business Case for Customer Diversity

‘Whether it’s your customers or your workforce, respecting diversity and treating people inclusively is the right thing to do, plain and simple. It’s also the smart thing to do, because if you’re appealing to the widest range of people, you’re strengthening your ability to grow, attract the best talent and innovate.’  

Alan Joyce, CEO, Qantas

A report released today ‘Missing Out: The business case for customer diversity’ by Deloitte and the Australian Human Rights Commission highlights significant unmet customer needs in diverse communities.

Stereotyping, unconscious bias, and lack of awareness are leading to experiences of exclusion for customers. Customers are more powerful than ever before, and prefer to buy from organisations which treat them respectfully and fairly, and openly support diversity.

Less than half of the people surveyed believed organisations treat customers respectfully, regardless of their personal characteristics. As Australians, we live in a country where one in five people speaks a language other than English at home, 18% of people have a disability, 11% of people identify as LGBTI.

Diversity is not just ‘something HR manages’. Understanding the diversity of the Australian community is about accessing and servicing the broader client base, and about better business results.

What’s needed is to build capability for tangible change. A first step is to build cultural awareness, take concrete steps to minimise the impact of unconscious bias, and develop inclusive leadership. These measures are all required to better understand and service diverse customers.

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