Helping you to communicate with Disabled Customers

I’ve blogged before about the problems I’ve had with Motability – the Government led scheme which provides mobility cars and electric wheelchairs. I’ve recently been left very unhappy with the service I’ve received, after being left without a wheelchair for almost a week.

Last week, I had the opportunity to express my disappointment in the service when a lady who was working on behalf of Motability, rang to do a survey. She rang my husband’s mobile (as that’s the number we somehow gave them) and asked to speak to me. After confirming who I was, she began the survey with, “On a scale of 1-10 how satisfied are you with the Motability service?”

I answered four but the woman couldn’t understand me as I have Cerebral Palsy and a speech impediment.  I repeated myself several times to no avail.  There were only 10 possible answers; was it that hard to work out?! Or maybe I Just wasn’t giving the answer she was expecting?!  But the woman wasn’t prepared to try and understand me, despite the fact that everyone who answered that survey would have some kind of disability.  She suggested that the survey was “too difficult for me to complete” and asked me to pass the phone back to my husband.

I think she hoped he’d interpret for her but he refuses to speak for me so we ended the call and unfortunately, I didn’t get to give my feedback.

Don’t get me wrong, I know it may not always be easy to understand disabled customers but there are much better ways of dealing with such situations:

  1. Take your time and politely ask the person to repeat themselves.  Make sure the person knows that you have the time to listen and there’s no rush.
  2. Make sure you’re listening carefully and not being distracted by anything else. Don’t try to rush or interrupt the person.
  3. Repeat what you think you’ve heard back to the person you’re talking to, to make sure you’ve heard correctly.
  4. Try to give the customer options, so that answers are shorter and easier to get across.
  5. If you’re really having difficulty understanding, ask the customer if there might be another way that you can communicate but always ask the customer if this is OK and apologise for the difficulties.

Ask yourself what you would do if you couldn’t quite understand someone’s accent – would you just give up or wouldn’t you just persevere?

If you need help with Disability Training, please contact Flyinglady

This entry was posted in Accessibility, Cerebral Palsy, Customer Service, Disability, Disability Equality, Equality & Diversity, Making a Difference, Personal. Bookmark the permalink.