Let’s face it, it’s tough getting negative feedback. No one likes it, whether you’re an individual or a business. While eighty percent of reviews written by deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing people on deaffriendly.com are positive, the deaf-challenged experiences deaf customers face lead to twenty percent of reviews that are three stars or less. 

We encourage businesses to reframe the situation and see negative reviews as an opportunity to gain an edge, get information about their deaf customers, and do concrete things to create a deaf-friendly experience for future interactions. 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 important things to ask yourself to help you transform a negative review into a deaf-friendly one. 

What about the situation didn’t work?

Read the review. Talk to your staff and to the deaf customer. 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? Or are you being asked to provide accommodation and feel uncertain how to proceed? There are deaf people who know the answers to these questions and can be a great resource to you. 

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

Immediate steps can be acknowledging the customer’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 your deaf and hard of hearing customers. 

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 deaf-friendly customer service training while soliciting ongoing feedback from deaf customers will go a long way towards ensuring your business becomes and remains deaf-friendly. 

Are you keeping it customer-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. 

Here at deaffriendly CONSULTING we have an expert team that is ready to help you with immediate and long term solutions on providing a deaf-friendly experience for your deaf and hard of hearing customers.

To get started, download the free QUICK START GUIDE so you can learn more about this important demographic!

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