Can Customers HEAR YOUR VOICE?

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns have led to many of us reassessing where we are going with our lives and our careers.

Many businesspeople I’ve spoken to have reconsidered their business models and developed a new focus for what they could (or should) be prioritising as we move into the uncertain territory of a post-lockdown world.

Heavily Hit Sectors

One section of the working world which was severely affected by the pandemic is the hospitality industry. 

Following the first lockdown, hospitality businesses gingerly began to reopen their premises, only to be forced to close once again in November 2020.

This left a host of cafes, restaurants, hotels, and guesthouses experiencing yet more crushing losses in revenue, and having to furlough and lay off valued staff members just to keep their heads above water.

Sadly, this second lockdown affected many of these businesses so severely that they were forced to close permanently – leaving behind numerous debts, bankruptcies, job losses, and feelings of failure for both business owners and their staff.

Survival Of The Most Accessible?

There are, of course, many businesses who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes – refurbishing their premises, rethinking their branding, and putting plans in place to prosper once they reopen for good.

My question is, during this time of picking themselves up, dusting themselves down, checking Boris’ ever-changing guidelines, and planning for a brighter tomorrow, how many of these businesspeople have taken the time to focus on what they can do to welcome back all their potential customers?

Here is a sobering fact – 1 in 6 of us now have some form of hearing loss, and by 2035, approximately 14.2 million people UK-wide will be experiencing problems with their hearing.

When our current lockdowns end for good, a significant number of potential customers will want to rush back to their favourite coffee shop, eat at their preferred restaurants, and plan to stay in that lovely hotel or B&B they’ve been thinking of throughout this past year.

Some of these potential customers will likely be deaf, and while some may lipread, many will struggle to see your face and lips if you’re wearing a mask, or be unable to hear you in a crowded public space.

The Importance Of Training Your Team

Can you confidently say that your staff will be able to serve a deaf customer as well as their hearing counterparts?

Ensuring that you and your staff are Deaf Aware will make a huge difference to the deaf and hard of hearing customers that you invite into your business.

Simple things, such as asking if a person needs to have a conversation in a quieter area – away from visual and audio distractions – can make an awkward experience become a pleasant one for that customer.

Small changes can make a big impact, and don’t forget that bad news – or worse, a bad review – travels fast!

What We Do

At Study Sharpe, we teach you simple British Sign Language phrases to meet and greet customers who are
BSL users.

We can tailor our training to your specific business needs with relevant vocabulary that you and your staff can use every day. 

Through scenario-based training, we’ll show you how to put Deaf Aware tips and strategies into action, so that you can understand the diverse communication needs of deaf people, while respecting their community and culture.

As a result, you can become a ‘Deaf Friendly’ business ready to offer all your customers an inclusive experience where staff are patient, considerate, and keen to ensure that an excellent experience is had by all.

Written By Emm Sharpe, Freelance Deaf Awareness Consultant/Trainer
07746 060 547

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