I don’t think many of us could say that we like or look forward to sales calls. Don’t they all go pretty much the same way? They ask you to confirm that you are their bait which you do, with little enthusiasm. They then launch into their pre-prepared sales pitch during which you interrupt with the line, “Sorry I’m not interested.”
On occassions, I opt to humour the caller just to see what they’re offering and I guess many consumers do the same, particularly if it’s a company that you already have a relationship with. On Monday, I received one such call from Talk Talk. We didn’t get as far as the sales pitch though. And no, I didn’t hang up. The call centre guy couldn’t understand my speech. (If you’ve read my Elephant in the Room post, you’ll know that I have Cerebral Palsy and subsequently, a speech impairment.)
The line went quiet and despite trying to regain the chap’s attention, he was gone. He couldn’t understand me and had given up at the first hurdle. I hung up and forgot about it. Until the same guy phoned me again the next day. Remarkably, this time he had a little more patience and we made it to the sales pitch. But irritated by the evening before, I politely requested to interrupt him and said I’d just purchased a new mobile (read more in my Open Letter to Microsoft) and I didn’t need another. I thought I’d handled it well and that they might give up. Wrong!
The next day I received yet another call, this time from a lady operator. Here we go I thought, time to ask for a manager. The caller once again asked me to confirm who I was, which I did. Only she couldn’t understand me. Instead of asking me to repeat myself, she immediately asked to speak to someone else! She didn’t have any patience to listen to me and the easiest option in her mind was to get someone to speak for me! By this time, I’d had enough and having hung up on her, I contacted Talk Talk to make a formal complaint. Surprisingly, the guy I eventually spoke to had no problem understanding me!
In wrapping up my complaint, I decided to tell him what I do for a living and offer them my services! (I never miss an opportunity!) I also made it very clear that as we’re moving house in the next few weeks, I would be thinking seriously about whether or not to move my existing Talk Talk account to our new address.
This incident, as well as many, many others I could tell you about, illustrates how critical it is that your staff undertake Disability Equality Training. Your staff need to be able to respond to the needs of disabled customers, whether that be in person or on the phone. I regularly communicate on the phone quite successfully with people I don’t know so I know all that is required is a little patience and of course, an open ear. Your staff need to be able to recognise disability in all its different forms and to also recognise when a slightly different approach may be required to meet their needs.
Disabled people have a huge spending power in the UK – somelike like £50 billion. Are your staff losing you sales and customers? Give them the knowledge and confidence to communicate effectively with your disabled customers by booking a Disability Equality Workshop. You can also monitor their performance by implementing our Mystery Shopping Service.