Sunflower lanyards lend a hand

A subtle accessory that indicates a customer has an ‘invisible condition’ and may need a little help is growing in popularity.

The sunflower lanyard program was first trialled in Gatwick Airport in the UK in 2016 and has since been introduced to other airports, train stations and retailers such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

The lanyard indicates to employees that an individual may need extra help, whether that be giving them more time at the checkout, helping with packing bags and taking them to a customer’s car, using clear and easy-to-understand language, helping with harder-to-reach products or finding suitable trolleys or scooters.

Tesco Customer Proposition Manager Kerry-Lyn Coughtrey says she was inspired to trial the program at Tesco after experiencing excellent service while travelling with her son wearing the lanyard.

“As a parent of a child with special needs I do everything I can to raise awareness about autism,” she wrote on the Tesco blog.

“It just happens, I am one of many colleagues who manage customer experience in Tesco stores – I particularly take an extra interest in improving the shopping trip for disabled shoppers. And after speaking to customers with a variety of disabilities I wanted to see if the sunflower lanyard could work in our stores.

UK mother Nikki Pearson shared a post on Facebook of the sunflower lanyard that was given to her son at a Tesco supermarket and said, “sharing this, as the more people that know the better understanding everyone will have of invisible disabilities.”

“I love that it’s discrete and not labelling anyone, but it just makes people more aware that it may be why that person is struggling.”

Since the lanyard has cemented its beneficial status in the UK, Australian airports, such as the Brisbane airport have now begun offering the service.

The lanyards are free and can be collected at customer service desks and kiosks.

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