Assisting disabled customers
As a customer service representative, you will have opportunities to work with disabled customers. Not all disabilities are obvious. Any customer may have a disability, even customers with no outward signs of injury or impairment. And even those customers will obvious disabilities may not want to be coddled and could become offended if you rush to their aid or patronize them.
When you will be assisting a disabled person, ask yourself three questions:
- Does the customer need assistance? For example, is anything obstructing the customer’s view, mobility or access to a product?
- Can I improve things right now? Do you have the ability or authority to better the customer’s experience (e.g., move products positioned high on a shelf down so that a customer in a wheelchair can more easily see them)?
- Is this a more substantial issue that I should share with my boss? For example, if you are unable to communicate with hearing impaired customers, perhaps it’s time for at least one rep to receive training in sign language, and you’ll need to discuss that with your boss.
Next, assess the situation from your customer’s perspective, and work to meet those needs. Examples:
- If a high counter interferes with serving a customer in a wheelchair, walk around it.
- A customer with a hearing or speech disability may be more comfortable communicating in writing.
- Providing information in short, simple sentences will allow customers with cognitive disabilities to better grasp information.
Important: Never assume that a person wants help. Instead:
- Smile and offer “May I help you?” rather than forcing your assistance on a customer.
- Offer available solutions without calling attention to the disability. Example:Say “I can offer you a seat nearby,” without pointing out “so you don’t have to walk so far.” Let the customer choose the accommodation.
Finally, ensure their satisfaction. You want their repeat business, so ensure that you:
- Ask “May I do anything else to help you?”
- Wait patiently for a response, because the person may not ask if you appear to be rushed or annoyed.
- Attend to their additional requests enthusiastically. It is critical that you maintain an upbeat and accommodating attitude.
Source: First-Rate Customer Service Training Kit, WorkplaceTrainingCenter.com.
Purchase the First-Rate Customer Service Training Kit and learn how to make the most out of the opportunities you’ll have with these customers:
- Customers with children.
- Customers with disabilities.
- Distracted customers.
- Emotional customers.
- Customers for whom English is a second language.
- Indecisive customers.
- Senior customers.
- Talkative customers.
- Teen customers.
- Uninformed customers.
- Unresponsive customers.
First-Rate Customer Service Training Kit
The First-Rate Customer Service Training Kit is an essential resource for developing the front-line employees in your organization into confident and effective representatives of your brand.Customer service reps will discover how to:
- View service situations from customers’ viewpoints.
- Act in the best interest of the organization to please customers.
- Avoid phrases that irk customers and damage your organization’s reputation.
- Handle the most difficult customers with confidence.
- Turn service situations into greater sales.
- And so much more!
This resource includes more than a dozen guidelines that show customer service reps step by step how to handle the most challenging situations they will encounter. They will learn how to assess each situation and quickly adapt their responses. The result:reps who shine in every service interaction.
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