5 Reasons Your Signs Are Not ADA Compliant

ADA signs are designed, specified, and fabricated everyday. Some are done the right way and well, others are not.

image001The truth is that the guidelines for ADA signs are not that complicated. There are a few key aspects that all ADA signs must comply with and a few simple rules that must be followed.

The problems we see with non-compliant signs comes from one of two things. The first is a lack of knowledge and the second is simply ignoring the guidelines to meet a specific design ascetic.

Last year, I wrote a post on the increased penalties for ADA violations. The penalty for the first violation is $75,000 with each additional offense being $150,000, real money for sure. As a sign architect or designer, you have the obligation to make sure the work you’re producing meets the ADA guideline because it’s the law for starters and because you’re creating work that makes the built environment more accessible to people with visual disabilities.

Here are five common things wrong with ADA signs. There are others, but these five touch on the main areas.

1.Font: A Nasty 4-Letter Word

The word font can be one of the nastiest four letter words when it comes to design. I’m not sure why so many people ignore the fact that the tactile on ADA signs should be San Serif or the fact that the character size is regulated. The language in the 2010 Standard for Accessible Design is very straight forward.

703.2.2 Case. Characters shall be uppercase.
703.2.3 Style. Characters shall be sans serif. Characters shall not be italic, oblique, script, highly decorative, or of other unusual forms.
703.2.4 Character Proportions. Characters shall be selected from fonts where the width of the uppercase letter “O” is 55 percent minimum and 110 percent maximum of the height of the uppercase letter “I”.
703.2.5 Character Height. Character height measured vertically from the baseline of the character shall be 5/8 inch (16 mm) minimum and 2 inches (51 mm) maximum based on the height of the uppercase letter “I”.

Compliant Font and Braille

                                       Compliant Font and Braille

Not everyone wants to use Helvetica for everything. I get it, although I personally like Helvetica. There are so many other ways to make your signs decorative with the use of color, shape, materials, etc. There’s also the option to create Dual Message signs where you can have the tactile blend in with the background as long as the same message is above contrasting with the background. This scenario allows you to use Serif fonts for the visual message.

703.1 General. Signs shall comply with 703. Where both visual and tactile characters are required, either one sign with both visual and tactile characters, or two separate signs, one with visual, and one with tactile characters, shall be provided.

There are several Exemptions in the code that refer to the requirement for Dual Message Signs. Read more.

2.KERNING: Do Those Letters Look Funny?

Kerning may possibly be the most hated part of the ADA. The new 2010 Standard says there needs to be a minimum of 1/8” between the two closets points of any tactile characters.

703.2.7 Character Spacing. Character spacing shall be measured between the two closest points of adjacent raised characters within a message, excluding word spaces. Where characters have rectangular cross sections, spacing between individual raised characters shall be 1/8 inch (3.2 mm) minimum and 4 times the raised character stroke width maximum. Where characters have other cross sections, spacing between individual raised characters shall be 1/16 inch (1.6 mm) minimum and 4 times the raised character stroke width maximum at the base of the cross sections, and 1/8 inch (3.2 mm) minimum and 4 times the raised character stroke width maximum at the top of the cross sections. Characters shall be separated from raised borders and decorative elements 3/8 inch (9.5 mm) minimum.

When you think about it, this is pretty simple. The tricky thing is that some character pairs are naturally closer together meaning that in order to be ADA compliant, the character sets need to be spaced further apart than normal which makes the character spacing appear wrong at times.

The 1/8” kerning minimum also makes words long and causes issues with the size of the sign. The simple solution in a situation like this would be to squeeze everything together to make the word fit on the sign. This of course is not compliant and makes tracing the letters with your fingers very difficult.

If you think about it, tactile is required so people with visual disabilities can trace their fingers along the tactile to read the name of the room. The number of people that can actually read Grade II Braille is low thus the requirement for tactile

3.CHARACTER SIZE: Too Big or Too Small

The size of tactile is simple. The minimum height is 5/8” and the maximum is 2”. Pretty simple and not much room for interpretation. We often see this rule broke when the design doesn’t allow enough room for compliant Braille and tactile. This also happens a lot with certain frame systems.

703.2.5 Character Height. Character height measured vertically from the baseline of the character shall be 5/8 inch (16 mm) minimum and 2 inches (51 mm) maximum based on the height of the uppercase letter “I”.

The exception to this rule is with the Dual Message Sign. In this case, the tactile is allowed to be as small as 1/2”.

EXCEPTION:Where separate raised and visual characters with the same information are provided, raised character height shall be permitted to be ½ inch (13 mm) minimum.

A Dual Message Sign

A Dual Message Sign














4. BRAILLE: Is That Compliant?

There are many different ways to manufacture Braille signs and yes, you can make compliant Braille with all the fabrication methods. The 2010 Standard has a few specific codes relating to Braille which include the structure of the dot, the cell spacing and placement.

The verbiage regarding the shape of the Braille is very specific. The language is not written to include or exclude any materials. The language is a guideline for the shape and size of each Braille dot and cell.

703.3.1 Dimensions and Capitalization. Braille dots shall have a domed or rounded shape and shall comply with Table 703.3.1.

Braille Dimensions

In the US, signs are required to have Grade II Braille which incorporates 189 contractions and short form words. The condensed size of the Braille is ideal for the limited space available on most signs.

Title 24 in California uses different spacing for Braille. California Braille, as it’s commonly called, still uses Grade II Braille but the spacing between the Braille cells is farther apart.

The other main difference with Title 24 is the placement of the Braille. Both the 2010 Standard and Title 24 require the Braille to be a minimum of 3/8” directly below the corresponding text. Title 24 however sets a maximum distance if 1/2”. Both require the Braille to be directly below so no, you cannot put the Braille on the right side of the text no matter what.

The uppercase indicator before Braille is not often required, but since many people are not sure when to use it, we see it used frequently. The codes states that “The indication of an uppercase letter or letters shall only be used before the first word of sentences, proper nouns and names, individual letters of the alphabet, initials, and acronyms.”

5. MOUNTING: Is That Sign Too Low?

The 2010 Standard changed the mounting requirements for ADA signs. There is now a variance of 48″ to 60”. An important thing to note is that the mounting height of the sign is base on the height of the tactile characters above the finished floor. This means that the flooring needs to be factored in when determining the placement of the signs.

The code spells out most of the mounting scenarios in details. If you ever have a situation where you’re uncertain the correct location to mount an ADA sign, you should ask the local building inspector. Unfortunately as many of you know, different people have different interpretations of the codes, especially when it comes to mounting location.

Height Tactile Characters

703.4.1 Height Above Finish Floor or Ground. Tactile characters on signs shall be located 48 inches (1220 mm) minimum above the finish floor or ground surface, measured from the baseline of the lowest tactile character and 60 inches (1525 mm) maximum above the finish floor or ground surface, measured from the baseline of the highest tactile character.
EXCEPTION:Tactile characters for elevator car controls shall not be required to comply with 703.4.1.

703.4.2 Location. Where a tactile sign is provided at a door, the sign shall be located alongside the door at the latch side. Where a tactile sign is provided at double doors with one active leaf, the sign shall be located on the inactive leaf. Where a tactile sign is provided at double doors with two active leafs, the sign shall be located to the right of the right hand door. Where there is no wall space at the latch side of a single door or at the right side of double doors, signs shall be located on the nearest adjacent wall. Signs containing tactile characters shall be located so that a clear floor space of 18 inches (455 mm) minimum by 18 inches (455 mm) minimum, centered on the tactile characters, is provided beyond the arc of any door swing between the closed position and 45 degree open position.
EXCEPTION:Signs with tactile characters shall be permitted on the push side of doors with closers and without hold-open devices.

Location Tactile Signs


Tips for Keeping Your Clients Happy


Whether you work for a Fortune 500 company, a “Ma and Pa” shop or even a Signage Company– all businesses have one thing in common.  We all have clients or customers. Without them our businesses would not exist. They should be the center of our work universe, but sometimes we get immersed in our ever growing to-do list and lose sight of that fact.  Keeping your clients or customers satisfied is vital to the survival of your business. Below are 5 practices that will help ensure their satisfaction and a lasting relationship.

  1. At the Center

The client is at the center of it all. Everything everyone within an organization does is ultimately to service the customer.  If you are in a role working directly with clients this is much easier to remember than those of us who do not interact with clients very often (or ever), but we can all forget the reason we are in business. Keeping this in mind can help us to prioritize our tasks to insure what is most important to our clients is first and foremost to us as well.

  1. Partner Not Vendor

To build true lasting relationships with clients you need to be a partner to them not just a vendor. If you’re a vendor you are just fulfilling job orders but as a partner you understand their challenges and work with them to develop and implement solutions.  The latter makes for long lasting, mutually beneficial relationships. Ask yourself if you are being a partner or just a vendor? How invested are you in helping your client’s business to success?

  1. Know Where You Stand

If you’ve ever been blindsided with a “Dear John” letter from a client then you understand the importance of making sure you know where you stand with your clients. Regular touch points, periodic friendly check-ins and customer surveys are all good ways to learn about and address satisfaction issues before it’s too late

  1. Know Your Customer

Learning about and understanding your client contact(s) is a key component to having a healthy relationship with them.  You should be able to answer the following questions: What is their preferred method of communication? What level of detail do they want to receive? How often do they want to be contacted? What is it they need from you to make their job easier? If you look at things from their point of view it helps you understand what they want and expect from you.

  1. Delivery

Now to state the obvious, whatever product or service you deliver to your client should meet or exceed their expectations. Perform internal reviews and establish and adhere to QA processes to ensure the quality of your deliverables. Providing a quality product or service speaks volumes about your company not just to the client who receives it but also to others who see it.


Celebrating Summer

To celebrate summer we selected a mix of witty and funny signs we hope you’ll enjoy.
And as Mark Twain famously said: Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.




canned cat





Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 2.08.39 PM

Design-Build Signage Leaves Nothing to Chance

Building owners and their architects sorely need a qualified ‘GC of signage,’ an experienced Design-Build signage company that can cost-effectively manage design, planning and implementation of a successful signage program. An effective ‘GC of signage’ establishes clear communications between all parties, and builds liaisons with all owner representatives.  As such, the need for extraneous consultants is eliminated, resulting in substantial cost savings, more accurate project management and much-improved delivery time.

When overall responsibility for signage is placed with one qualified Design-Build company, nothing is left to chance, as all terms and conditions are part of an outcome-specific, contractual agreement–signed up-front–where the objective is to develop and deliver a comprehensive signage program that is responsive to:

  • Local site conditions
  • Building architecture
  • Way-finding needs
  • Applicable codes
  • Desired image
  • And, importantly, budget constraints.

The Design-Build process includes fabrication details of all product selections, graphics elements, installation maps and a reorder manual. Design elements, including sign materials, sizes, shapes, colors, letter-styles, and graphics, are determined during the planning process, in cooperation with the owner / architect. Finally, to furnish financially responsive budgets for all included signage, exact production and installation costs are established before manufacturing begins. The client is updated regularly on progress via on-line Gantt charts, so the need for costly face-to-face meetings is held to a minimum.

ASI Signage Innovations has provided Design-Build solutions for more than 50-years and is able to assure its clients that their projects will be completed on time, as specified, and within budget. As a consequence, more and more building owners and their architects are choosing to negotiate their signage directly with ASI on a Design-Build basis.  No one wants signage, which is critical to obtaining a timely certificate of occupancy, to be left to the last minute.

Peter Rasmussen :

A New Image for New York’s State Accessibility Code

  | Print |  E-mail

ASI, Buffalo  updated the network regarding an important change to the state of New York’s accessibility code. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed new legislation in July 2014 that took effect this past November 2014, requiring that new and replacement signage must include a new version of the ISA accessibility symbol and ensure that the word “accessible” is used instead of “handicapped”.Both changes were implemented to help eliminate the negative stigma that may come with an image of an immobile wheelchair or the word “handicapped”. Click here for an article that displays the new symbol. We see that the new symbol depicts a disabled individual who is active and moving forward, a very action-based and positive image. The word “handicapped” was coined at a time when many people with disabilities literally held their caps out in their hands to beg for money, so needless to say it’s a very outdated and negative term.

This is a great example of how states and local governments use the federal ADA requirements as a baseline for their accessibility codes, while they have the ability to go above-and-beyond and enhance their codes, as New York has done in this case. New York, a recognized leader for fighting discrimination and protecting its citizens including disabled individuals, has set a fascinating precedent, making it somewhat easier for other states and local governments to follow with similar changes in the near future. This story is worth monitoring and will undoubtedly evolve further.

The other takeaway here is that these changes are extremely consistent with why the ADA was created in the first place. The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law 24 years ago to ensure that people with disabilities have the opportunity to fully participate in society without discrimination, and to be viewed as productive and active individuals. And always moving forward.

The Relatively Brief Yet Impactful Evolution of Wayfinding

This year, ASI celebrates its 50th anniversary, and one of our numerous core competencies throughout the years has been our wayfinding capabilities. Ok, I know that I just stated two obvious facts that you are aware of, but did you know that the term wayfinding was actually coined in 1960, just five years prior to the birth of ASI? It seems like a term that would have been around for much longer than just the past 55 years, and given this piece of information, it wouldn’t be wrong to conclude that the methodology of wayfinding is still in its infancy relative to the rich history of architectural design that has existed for thousands of years. In fact, many dictionaries still don’t recognize wayfinding as a word. Try typing wayfinding into MS Word or even into an email and see if it passes the application’s spell-checker.


Kevin Lynch, an American urban planner and author, gets credit for coining the term wayfinding in his book The Image of the City (1960). Mr. Lynch, who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright and received his Bachelor’s Degree in City Planning from MIT in 1947, wrote The Image of the City to present his findings from five year study of how users perceive and organize spatial information as they navigate through cities. The three cities that he studied for his book were Boston, Jersey City and Los Angeles. Kevin Lynch concluded that as individuals made their way through a city to a destination, they formed a cognitive map (or mental map) using five elements:

* Paths: Streets and sidewalks
* Edges: Perceived boundaries including walls and buildings
* Districts: Distinguishable large sections of a city
* Nodes: Focal points and intersections
* Landmarks: Readily identifiable objects used as reference points

Experts within the Architecture and Design community built on Lynch’s research with emphasis on defining wayfinding within the context of the building itself. Paul Arthur was a self-taught designer who became a Fellow and Founding member of SEGD, and he is often credited with coining the termsignage in the early 1960’s. Again, the time frame is a bit surprising and very close to when our company was established. However, the coining of the term signage came with some confusion as many architects and designers would assume that placing signs in a building equaled a wayfinding solution, which is not the case. Signage is a very important part of a wayfinding solution, but there’s so much more that goes into a wayfinding solution, and signage is what pulls the solution together.

Paul Arthur teamed with Romedi Passini, an architect and environmental psychologist, to write the book Wayfinding: People, Signs, and Architecture (1992). It was their attempt to fine-tune the definition of wayfinding, explaining that wayfinding is a spatial problem solving process. They explained that wayfinding is a two-part process. The first part involves mentally forming an action plan using one’s spacial orientation and various pieces of information about the building, and the second part involves implementing the action plan, moving toward the destination, and evaluating how well the building’s architecture and signage helped in guiding the user to their destination.

The definition of wayfinding has come a long way in 55 years, but 55 years means that this methodology is still in its relative infancy, with plenty of room for improvement based on examples of poor wayfinding that we regularly see. Wayfinding will undoubtedly take advantage of new technologies just as we’ve seen with new static and digital signage technologies. It’s interesting that our company began around the same time that the concepts of wayfinding and signage were introduced, and perhaps even more impressive is that over the decades we have developed a reputation as an industry leader in both areas, with the goal of continuing to lead the way for decades to come.

Questions? Contact

Buffalo, NY Buried in Snow – ASI, Buffalo Spared

This screen shot Is of a sign Installed by ASI, Buffalo weathering last week's blizzard - It is not a link to the video.

This screen shot Is of a sign Installed by ASI, Buffalo weathering last week’s blizzard – The Video link doesn’t work.


Thanks to all who have expressed concern about the impact of last week’s terrible blizzard on ASI’s team members in Buffalo, New York. Andy Bernatovicz, who is the ASI affiliate in Western New York State reports that the ASI, Buffalo office and manufacturing facility is located in an area outside of the ten-mile wide area near Lake Erie known as “The Knife,” which had up to seven feet of snow dumped on it. Andy reports that just a few inches of snow fell by ASI, Buffalo. However, he was quick to add that the people who were hit were buried in snow and they are still digging out.

Andy shared this screen shot taken from a CNN news story of the storm that was aired on a Buffalo TV station. The screen shot is of a sign from an ASI, Buffalo project that was buried in snow. Andy is most appreciative of everybody’s concern and well wishes for his team. He remains concerned for the well being of others in the Buffalo area that did not fare as well.


John Selig
Marketing Manager

Building Your Brand with Solar Signage





Brands gain prestige when they reduce their dependence on energy sources that release greenhouse gas emissions. Our last blog post discussed the exponential growth of solar energy as a renewable power source and the viability for its use in the United States. This post explores how solar energy can be harnessed to power your exterior signage. One of the first brand images that people see as they approach your facility is your exterior signage. Therefore, solar signs provide an ideal opportunity to showcase your organization’s dedication to reduce your carbon footprint.  Your green commitment builds your brand beyond your organization’s main business or function.

Benefits Provided By Solar Signage

Besides conserving energy and not having to pay for electricty to power the signs there are a number of benefits that solar signs provide. In areas surrounding your facility that do not have ready sources of electrical power, using solar signage can eliminate trenching costs. Running electrical lines a distance from your electrical power source requires digging as well as laying and burying the lines, which can be very expensive. Selecting solar signage also reduces the disturbance to traffic and pedestrians brought about by trenching. Solar signage provides an opportunity to place multiple signs around your facility in locations that would not otherwise be easy to power.

In addition to aiding wayfinding and branding, solar signage, when used where it is too costly to trench and run electrical power, adds more ambient lighting. People are naturally attracted to well-lighted facilities. Ambient light enhances safety. It results in safer walkways, safer driveways and safer parking lots. Ambient light also makes streets, driveways and parking lots safer to navigate for motorists who do not see as well at night.

The primary benefits of solar signage include:

  • Supports Sustainability Initiatives
  • Valuable Brand Enhancement
  • Operating and Financial Advantages
    • No Monthly electricity costs
    • Rapid Return on Investment (ROI)
    • Often Less Expensive to Install than Conventional Illuminated Signs
    • Low Voltage / Reduced Liability
    • Offset CO2 Emissions – Green Products
    • Immune to Power Outages

The new “look” of solar is quite different from the old image of ginormous photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. Much smaller PV solar panels are now used and they can be faced in different directions from the signs themselves so that signs can face in any direction. Solar panels must be located in areas that receive direct sunlight. Solar signs can include large monument or monolith signs, directories with or without maps and signs on buildings. Solar signs can share important emergency preparedness and evacuation information. Solar signs have the added benefit of remaining lighted even when the power grid goes down. Weather events such as bad storms and hurricanes can result in blackouts lasting for hours and sometimes days.

Solar Sign Components

Today’s solar signs are composed of a variety of components. Most obvious are photovoltaic panels, which collect the radiance from the sun and convert it to electricity, batteries, which store the electricity, and LED strips, which light the signs. The brain of solar signs, the power management system, is not as obvious. The power management system is key as it enables the solar sign to adapt to an ever-changing environment. The power management system is essentially a computer inside the solar sign. Power management systems solve challenges including:

  • Seasonal Variances – the amount and length of sunlight changes throughout the year
  • Environmental Variances – every day isn’t sunny
  • Directional Variances – signs aren’t always facing south, shade may vary as well as reflections from buildings and traffic headlights
  • User Requirements – signs are typically lighted seven days a week but the hours may change on different days and at different times of the year

Power management systems are run by software that takes into account all these variables and accounts for contingencies so that solar signage is dependable. Power management systems can be programmed with over forty years of local data to make sure that signs will remain lighted.

Solar signage is durable with batteries, LED strips, PV panels and power management systems designed to last many years. LED light panels typically last fifteen years or longer and PV panels are normally warrantied for twenty-five years.

Tax Credits and Rebates

Checkout DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency). It provides information on available federal tax credits, state rebates and utility rebates. There is money out there for use solely on green applications and this website provides useful information to help figure out how you may be able to offset some of the solar signage costs.

Solar signage is a ”no-brainer” when an electric power source isn’t located nearby. Solar signs are an excellent option in many locations to both convey messages and to promote your brand’s green commitment. Once installed solar signs eliminate all energy costs while being dependable in the event of power outages.


John Selig
Marketing Manager

Solar Energy Growth Builds Case for Solar Signage

Solar Energy


With the exponential growth of solar energy as a renewable power source the use of solar signage makes a great addition to an organization’s green plan. The high visibility of solar signage aligns your brand with environmental responsibility. This post focuses on the viability and growth of solar energy. The next post will examine exterior signage powered by solar energy.

Solar Energy Dwarfs All Other Sources

Solar energy continues to be the single largest energy source that is the most dependable, the most predictable and the most abundant. Solar energy dwarfs all other sources in comparison with both renewable and non-renewable sources (including total reserves of all the fossil fuels on earth).


Annual Global Energy Sources

(Terawatt Hours)


Terawatt Hours

Direct Solar Radiation




Ocean / Thermal




Tidal / Wave


1 terawatt hour equals 1 billion kilowatt hours


Total Global Non-Renewable Energy Resources

(Terawatt Hours)


Terawatt Hours



Natural Gas


Uranium 235




Tar Sands




1 terawatt hour equals 1 billion kilowatt hours

Source of above data – SunCell by Christopher C Swan, updated by Steve Heckeroth


In just a single year more than 32 times as much direct solar radiation, in terms of terawatt hours, reaches the earth than the terawatt hour value of all global non-renewable energy resources combined. Clearly, solar energy will be a key element in future energy supply solutions for the United States.

Rapid Growth in Use of Solar Energy in U.S.

Supply is one side of the equation but what about technology and consumption? In 2008, the U.S. was in the top 10 nations as far as solar energy consumption is concerned but we were towards the bottom of the list. Questions were being asked about solar as to whether solar radiation was as good a source as wind, biofuel, geothermal and tidal and wave alternatives. Some emerging technologies like tidal and wave advances seemed more applicable and appropriate.

Up until 2012 Germany was the single largest adapter of solar energy. This in itself is remarkable because in examining solar coverage viability, Germany is like the state of Alaska in terms of the amount of sunlight coverage. Statistics reported earlier this year show that 39% of Germany’s power consumption was being powered by solar energy.

For the year 2013 the United States grew to become one of the top 3 leaders in the global share of new solar installations. China was in first place, followed by Japan and then the United States. Germany had fallen to 4th place. China remains the leader especially in the use of solar energy for production and manufacturing. China produces approximately 60% of the world’s photovoltaic (PV) solar panels.

In 2013 global cumulative PV capacity increased by 37 gigawatts to a total of 135 gigawatts, an increase in production capacity of over 37% in just one year.

How well suited is the United States to capturing direct solar radiation considering how the amount of sunlight available is impacted by weather, seasonality, the angle of the sun, etc.? The good news is that the U.S. is in extraordinary shape to make use of solar energy. In fact, other than Alaska and the northwest tip of the state of Washington, the rest of the U.S. is far better suited to the capturing of solar energy than Germany. Solar is viable not only in the Sun Belt states but throughout the rest of the country including the Northeast, the Midwest, the Plains states and the West.

In terms of new electricity generation capacity in the U.S., between 2012 and 2013 the amount of new power produced by solar nearly tripled in one year. In 2012 solar represented 10% of the new electrical generation capability in service. In 2013 solar had jumped to 29%.

Statistics provided by the Solar Energy Industry Association for the year ending December 31, 2013 are rather astounding:

  • U.S. solar market grew to $13.7 billion in 2013
  • There are nearly 143,000 solar workers in the U.S., a 13.2% increase from 2011 to 2013
  • The U.S. installed 4.75 gigawatts (GW) of new PV installations in 2013, up 41% over 2012 and nearly 15 times the amount installed in 2008 (just 5 years earlier)
  • Total cumulative PV capacity in the U.S. is now at 12.1 GW (capacity was at only 3.9 GW at the end of 2011)
  • There were 140,000 new solar installations in the U.S. in 2013, with 440,000 systems operating at the beginning of 2014
  • More solar has been installed in the past 18 months than in the prior 30 years (mid 2012-2013)
  • An additional 6 GW of new PV installations have been forecasted for 2014
  • The 30% Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) has been extended through the end of 2016
  • The average PV system price fell by 15% in 2013

Obviously, the outlook for the use of solar energy is rosy and incorporating it as an energy resource throughout the U.S. is only going to become more attractive. My next post will share how solar energy can be used to power your exterior signage.


John Selig
Marketing Manager

Signage Is a Vital Component of Customer Service

Customer Service Directional Signs Edited 092914


Customer Service is being emphasized by a growing legion of businesses and organizations. Making certain that the interaction between organizations and their stakeholders has become keenly focused on providing the best experience possible. Customer service training programs abound, as do employer incentives rewarding positive results.

Customers Often Disappointed by Service

Certain industries are perceived as being especially challenged when it comes to service. The travel, utility, insurance and telecommunications industries, amongst others, are often cited as being unresponsive to customer concerns. Today many organizations have customer service representatives available to address customer issues. However, it has become nearly impossible to reach management who can address policy issues. Good luck finding phone numbers and email addresses for management in most organizations.

Several years ago a musician, whose guitar was damaged by baggage handlers, recorded three music videos complaining about the company that broke his guitar refusing to take responsibility for the damage they caused. The musician had been in contact with the company for nine months and they refused to take ownership of the problem. YouTube viewership of the first video shot into the millions in just a matter of days. Bad service has become so rampant that many people lived vicariously through the musician’s ability to stand up to the company’s unwillingness to accept responsibility.

Many organizations have implemented programs focusing on improving customer service. Unfortunately, training corporate staff on the importance of customer service has too often resulted in programs more concerned with their employees than the customers they serve. Programs that seem well intentioned at the corporate level can fall short when improperly implemented in the field.

The Misuse of Customer Surveys

The customer survey is one popular tool that can be misused. Surveys are often presented with the bill at restaurants. It has become the norm to also receive surveys after speaking with a tech support representative, having your car serviced, staying in a hotel, making a major purchase or even after a visit to the dentist. Receipts from grocery stores, home improvement stores and pharmacies invite patrons to complete an online survey. When customer surveys were first introduced they seemed innovative. But when one is asked to complete a survey every time one eats at a restaurant, speaks with tech support, visits a grocery store, pharmacy or other retail establishment customers may feel that the survey is nothing more than window dressing.

Not long ago I had my car repaired. Soon after the work was completed I received a call from the dealership asking about my satisfaction with the repairs. A few days later I received an email from the dealer asking me to complete an online survey followed a week or two later by another email and survey from the car manufacturer. What at first seemed like concern began to feel like harassment.

On a recent business trip the hotel clerk at the check-in counter accosted several colleagues and me. After completing our registrations and handing us our room key cards the clerk informed us that after our stay at the hotel we would receive surveys. He asked us to complete the surveys and added that the hotel staff would get in trouble if they received anything less than a 10 out of 10 on every question. One member of our party commented the next day that they had heard similar comments at breakfast. Apparently it was our responsibility as hotel guests to make sure that the hotel received perfect scores. The sentiment behind the survey was admirable. However, the implementation of the hotel chain’s focus on customer service became more about the welfare of the hotel’s employees than the service provided to guests.

Signage is Vital Component of Customer Service

What impact does signage have on service? When you think about it, signage is a vital component of customer service. When visitors, customers, patients, students, suppliers and even staff are in a facility (or a section of a facility) for the first time and they have to get from Point A to Point B they are often disoriented, short on time and on-edge. When the facility’s signage is attractive, easy to read and placed in the right locations it reduces the stress felt by those navigating to their destinations. Including a wayfinding plan produced by signage professionals as part of your signage program is every bit as important as your choice of signage.

Concentrating on the sign design and content is essential  but it is not enough. By focusing on the navigational needs of those visiting your facility people will be able to expend their energy on what it is they are wanting to accomplish while in your facility and not on worrying how they are going to get to where it is they need to go. Furthermore, folks will be able to find their way without having to interrupt your employees in the building for directions. Customer service takes many forms. Genuine customer service is always appreciated.

To learn more about the benefits of wayfinding download our Wayfinding Whitepaper.


John Selig
Marketing Manager

Older posts «

Get Adobe Flash player