Twelve percent of the US population is twice as likely to leave positive reviews: Deaf and hard of hearing customers.
It’s a stark contrast to a recent Salesforce study: Consumers (in the general population) are twice as likely to share bad customer service experiences than good ones.
Last month, deaffriendly.com – a consumer review platform for the deaf community crunched the data on thousands of reviews posted on our site since our 2012 launch. The ratio has been consistent over the years: around 80-10-10.
That means a whopping 80 percent of reviewers post positive reviews (four to five stars). Ten percent post neutral reviews (two to three stars). Only ten percent scraped the bottom of the customer service barrel with one-star reviews.
What gives? Deaf and hard of hearing people are not necessarily twice as nice. But in a world that overwhelmingly caters to the needs of hearing consumers, we tend to notice – and want to spread the word – upon discovering a deaf-friendly business. Negative customer service experiences can go viral in hours – and who doesn’t have a “Karen” tale or two?
Satisfactory service, on the other hand, is more likely to be taken for granted. Not so when miscommunication stakes can be high: misdiagnoses at a medical provider’s office, or a waiter misunderstanding your severe food allergy to olives.
Positive reviews go beyond digital high-fives and feel-good vibes – their incredible long-term benefits can’t be ignored:
A budget friendly way to boost SEO and digital presence.
Growing a business in the 21st Century means knowing this magic acronym: SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization.
Even non-tech entrepreneurs rely on SEO to some level, whether their business is selling tractors or tutoring children in piano. It’s common for businesses (particularly small ones) to face challenges in their websites not ranking high enough on search engines. According to SEO experts, a short-term solution is to claim their business on a review site such as deaffriendly.com, which improves “google juice” with an updated business profile, an uploaded logo, and business description.
Got a bare-bones ad budget – and even less cash to overhaul a business website? Thanks to the Web, positive reviews have the amazing ability to help in both categories. You may not have a slick, modern-looking website, but no matter: four out of five Americans agree that smaller companies emphasize customer service more than large ones.
Out with the old, signal the new.
The COVID-19 pandemic has meant rethinking traditional systems. Curbside delivery no longer became a novelty – it’s now regular day-to-day business. Working from home, once a luxury perk, became the norm. Stages, shut down for 18 months, found new ways to bring entertainment in our own homes.
All of these examples had some unintended benefits for people with disabilities.
Is your business making a major shift that will benefit customers who usually can’t make use of your service or product? A positive review can tell that story to the world.
Is your business a joy to visit in-person, but shutting out a customer who tries to order online or by phone? Not going to fly: 85% of customer interactions with businesses don’t involve human interactions – and a negative review also tells that story.
When businesses evolve, so do reviews and customer-business relationships.
Many deaf and hard of hearing reviewers take note when a business takes steps to improve its accessibility. It signals an adaptable business listening to its customers (for ideas, check out How to turn a negative review into a deaf-friendly one).
Retain and keep customers – both deaf and hearing.
Today’s customers have options – too many, perhaps. Deciding among brands can be overwhelming, which is why so many people rely on reviews – and number of stars.
According to ReviewTrackers, 94% say an online review has convinced them to avoid a business entirely.
That’s an alarming outcome, particularly when 48 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss. As for retention, that’s a tough loss of an exceptionally loyal demographic – more likely to spend more per trip and re-visit often.
Customer loyalty is a long-term relationship to be nurtured year in and year out. Consistently earning reviews about deaf-friendly actions is a great way to stay on a customer’s radar.
If you’re a business owner looking for tried-and-true ways to become more deaf-friendly and inclusive, take this simple step: sign up for our Deaf-Friendly BASICS course. In an hour or less, you can level up your customer service game and increase your chances of earning positive reviews.