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When we are faced with a situation that we are not expecting, it sends off signals in our body which starts our fight or flight mode.  Our need to survive in the moment, which either makes us want to run, or primevally renders us cemented to our place, like a rabbit in the headlights unable to do anything!
It is often the second that happens when people are faced with their first deaf customer.  Serving a queue full of people, busy taking orders, making coffee and you are faced with a deaf customer.
First of all, you may not know that the customer is deaf – you just know that the communication is not flowing as it usually does with customers and then you start to show the panic on your face.
These ironically are situations that we are NOT EXPECTING.
But how comes??  We know that there are over 10 million deaf people in the UK, yet we have not prepared ourselves for the communication tactics we could use when serving a deaf customer.
This is all about preparation.
Benjamin Franklin famously said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”.
If you had considered what you would do if you were serving a deaf customer – you would have the opportunity to offer ALL of your customers that world class customer experience that we are all aspiring to – by simply preparing.
But you see, the majority of individuals, teams and organisations are not prepared to deal with deaf customers.
In the world of sport, we see teams perform after preparing for every possible scenario.  What would happen if the ball went over that side of the court, if we had 2 minutes left and we were losing, if our most talented player went off with an injury.  They will have a plan for each and every possible occurrence.
And this is a concept that could create dramatic change if it were applied to how deaf customers were served.
If a team regularly considered the ‘What if?’ scenarios…
What if I am are serving a customer and they don’t answer me?
What if a customer does not understand what I am saying?
What if I say how much something is, and I get given in the incorrect amount of money?
This then allows you the time to think about how to deal with these situations.  You are not leaving it to chance, or allowing the communication to breakdown, but you are being proactive about the possibilities  – you are priming yourself for dealing with any situation you are faced with.
Enabling you and your business to provide a world class deaf customer experience.
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