Let’s face it, it’s tough getting a negative review or negative feedback.  No one likes it, whether you’re an individual or a business. While eighty percent of reviews on deaffriendly.com are positive, the deaf-challenged experiences Deaf consumers face sometimes lead to reviews that are three stars or less. We encourage businesses to reframe the situation and see negative reviews as a wonderful opportunity to gain an edge, get information about Deaf consumers, and do concrete things to create a deaf-friendly experience in the future. In fact, the most successful situations we see are a deaf-challenged business taking a negative review and turning it into a positive one.

Here are some tips to help you transform a negative review into a deaf-friendly one.


What about the situation didn’t work?

Assume that there are barriers that need to be removed. Is there something about the environment that doesn’t work? Do staff have experience working with people of all language needs and backgrounds, including Deaf people? Read the review. Talk to your staff and to the Deaf consumer. Get specific information. Find out what happened and why. Now that you can identify what the barriers are, you can begin to take steps to remove them.

What solutions would solve the barrier?

Can this be solved by adding some training? Try keeping it simple: Do you need better signage or visual displays that would facilitate communication better? Do you have a pen and paper readily available if needed? Are you being asked to provide accommodation and feel uncertain how to proceed? There are people who know the answers to these questions and can be a great resource to you: ask the Deaf consumer first since they are the expert, and if you cannot for whatever reason, check in with a local Deaf agency, or us here at deaffriendly.com on ideas how to best serve Deaf consumers.

What steps need to be taken in the short term to provide an immediate solution?

Immediate steps can be acknowledging the consumer’s complaint. Letting them know you are working hard to address the issue and find solutions and also that you welcome and value their current and ongoing input. Loop your staff in. Send out an email or memo letting everyone know what has happened and you are working towards making sure your business creates a deaf-friendly experience for Deaf consumers.

What steps need to be taken in the long term to provide a lasting solution?

Sometimes we are reactive when it comes to making changes; we make changes after we are told we need to. Having someone whose job it is to implement a long term solution and policy including trainings, while soliciting ongoing feedback from Deaf consumers will go a long ways towards ensuring your business becomes and remains deaf-friendly. It’s often better, in the long run, to be proactive. Identifying things that you can do before a situation arises will serve your business well. When you have made the needed changes, invite Deaf customers back to show them how you have improved and ask them to write another review.

Keep it consumer-focused.

This bears repeating. We believe the Deaf customer is the expert, especially when it comes to identifying what is and isn’t deaf-friendly. Listen to what feedback they have given you and use it. If something feels unclear, ask. If you’re still not sure what to do, contact deaffriendly.com and ask us to provide you with an immediate solution, or better yet, implement long term results such as our deaf-friendly customer service training, tailored specifically for your business.