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Category: Corporate Speech Pathology (page 2 of 2)

10 Tips for Communicating with Customers with Disabilities

“Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them.”

-Kevin Stirtz, Strategy Manager at Thomson Reuters

 

 

 

If you work with the public, you want to give your customers the best experience possible. Whether you have ten employees or ten thousand, your business depends on it. If you’ve been around a while, you’ve probably gotten really good at communicating with the typical customer.

 

But what about the customer who’s a little different? There is a whole world of communication impairments, and millions of people have them. Communicating with these customers may present a bit of a challenge. You may have to approach the interaction differently. However, if you’re prepared for anything, you’ll be able to turn those prospective customers into repeat customers who refer all their friends to you because you give them great service, every time.

Following are some tips to guide you as you strive to give all your customers a great experience:

  1. Respect. Do not laugh at, mock, or interrupt your customer. This is a no-brainer. You wouldn’t do this with your other customers, anyway.
  2. Do not finish your customer’s sentences. It may be tempting, especially if your customer seems to be having a really tough time getting the words out. Even if you know what they’re going to say, let them say it.
  3. Give your customer enough time to respond. Some people take a little longer to process information. Be sure you are giving your customers enough time to react to your questions or comments before repeating yourself or adding to the conversation.
  4. If you do not understand what the customer says, tell them. It will save a boatload of trouble from you guessing at what they want.
  5. Let them see your face. For some hard of hearing customers, it may be easier to have a conversation if you are facing them in good lighting.
  6. If your customer is having difficulty understanding you, use shorter sentences with simpler vocabulary. Sometimes you can communicate the same idea in three short sentences instead of one long sentence.
  7. Think about your surroundings. For customers with a head injury in their past, it can be difficult to concentrate on what someone is saying if there is a lot of movement and noise in the background.
  8. If you are in the position to do so, you might want to show your customer what you’re saying by neatly writing it down or having key points of your message typed out. This can be helpful to those customers for whom memory is not their strong suit.
  9. Use gesture and facial expression wisely. Think about what your hands are doing. Make sure that every gesture you make is meaningful and that you are not just flapping your hands around. Think about what your face is doing. Try to keep your facial expression appropriately neutral or friendly. Inappropriate gestures can distract from your message.
  10. Be patient. If a prospective customer feels like you’re in a hurry, they may be more likely to turn around and go straight to your competitor. Take a relaxed position and communicate your willingness to help the customer with everything they need, and your customer will be more likely to stick with you.

The key to successful communication with customers with disabilities is the same as with any other customer: put them first. Give your customers a great experience every time and they’ll come back, again and again.

If you have any questions about how your organization can improve your communication with individuals with disabilities, let us know. Contact us and we can provide you with more information, tips, and strategies in an individual consultation or group seminar.

Communication Problems in the Workplace

When an employee has problems communicating, it affects the work they do. The employee could be the most brilliant and productive member of your team on their own, but if they are unable to easily and effectively communicate with coworkers or clients, it can affect the bottom line.

Communication difficulties come in many shapes and sizes.

  • An employee could have any of a number of speech problems affecting their ability to get the words out smoothly to convey their ideas with fluency. You might know someone who stutters.
  • Or maybe you’ve seen an episode of The Big Bang Theory with Barry Kripke, Sheldon’s nemesis who, as we say in the speech business, “glides his liquids” (in other words, instead of pronouncing the Ls and Rs in words as such, he pronounces them like Ws).
  • Beyond getting the words out and pronouncing them correctly is how they sound. It could be that your employee, whose position involves a lot of speaking, frequently has a voice that sounds rough or hoarse.
  • And most of us have dealt with people with hearing difficulties, but few of us have received targeted training in effective communication strategies to maximize our communication exchanges with such individuals.

Communication is a two-way street. It usually takes a talker and a listener. Depending on the problem, both parties may benefit from speech training. Services may be aimed at improving an employee’s ability to overcome communication problems to communicate better, or they may be provided to entire teams to help them strengthen their abilities to communicate with members of the community who happen to have communication problems.

Corporate speech services give companies the power to help improve employees’ confidence, boost productivity, and connect – both within the organization and with the people they serve.

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