VUSSC/Content/Tourism/Customer Care/Effective Communication with Customers who have Difficulties with Visual Communication Methods
EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION WITH CUSTOMERS WHO HAVE DIFFICULTIES WITH USUAL COMMUNICATION METHODS
Effective communication with customers is always important. However, some customers may find it difficult to communicate with you in the usual way. This may be because of disabilities regarding their
Responding to customers with hearing impairment
When speaking to a customer with a hearing impairment, the following may be useful:
- Look at your customer, so that he or she can see your face.
- Form your words making full use of your mouth – your customer may be able to read your lips.
- Speak slowly and deliberately.
- Check your customer understanding.
- Do not shout.
- Do not talk down to your customer – it is not their intelligence that causes the communication difficulty.
- Be prepared to repeat yourself if necessary.
- Use your hands to support your message.
- Above all be patient.
If above attempts are unsuccessful you may consider writing things down and showing your words to the customer. You can also seek help from someone who is able to use sign language.
Responding to customers with speech impairment
When you listen to a customer with speech impairment:, you may find the following useful:
- Listen carefully to what your customer is saying.
- Tactfully, ask him/her to repeat anything you do not understand.
- Be sympathetic – s/he may be frustrated by the difficulty he or she is experiencing.
- Be patient, do not rush your customer or interrupt.
- Confirm your understanding once you are aware of your customer’s message.
You may need to provide a pen and paper for your customer to write a message for you to read, if your customer requests it.
As with customers with a hearing impairment, if there is someone who is able to use sign language ask him or her for help.
Responding to customers with visual impairment
When communicating with a customer who has a visual impairment: you may find the following useful:
- Be prepared to explain things that you might show to a sighted customer.
- Explain what you are doing.
- Take your customer to other parts of the building rather than sending him or her.
- Remember that it is only the visual aspect of communication that causes difficulties.
Your organisation/agency may produce information for customers in large print or Braille formats to help visually impaired customers. Now complete activity 17.
We need to be prepared to provide a little extra care to some customers with particular needs.