If you want to make your business more accessible to all customers, consider how you could make it easier for the deaf community to utilize what you offer. You might not only earn business from a new group, but your customer base might love supporting your business even more!
No. 1: Use Adapted Accessories.
If you have an in-person location, giving your deaf/hard-of-hearing customers access to Wi-Fi is important so they can access their own tools for communicating, such as Video Relay Service (VRS). This helps them communicate with others through the phone with the help of a third-party operator who acts as an intermediary.
If your business is a hotel, motel, or rental-cottage, you can also include vibrating alarm clocks, a telephone with adjustable volume settings or an indicator light, a flashing and vibrating fire alarm system, and much more!
No. 2: Train your staff.
You can have all the accessories in the world, but if your staff isn’t trained on how to treat deaf or hard of hearing customers, they may not be sensitive enough to their needs. Add special guidelines to their orientation guides and make those instructions accessible to employees at all times. Even if it means taking time to communicate with a customer through a notes app on your phone, it’s always worth going the extra mile for them.
No. 3: Designate quieter areas.
Since the pandemic, public areas have been quieter due to the lack of density. But if your workplace location is naturally prone to more noise volume (e.g., a restaurant), try to designate areas where deaf or hard of hearing clientele can be prioritized for seating.
This is just a start, of course, and at AFEUSA, we know many of our business owners aren’t just experts at serving the underserved but also have disabilities themselves. To support all of our deaf entrepreneurs and their families, we’ve partnered with the American Hearing Benefits, which offers FREE annual consultations, a three-year supply of batteries, one year of FREE doctor visits, and much, much more. Join AFEUSA to learn more!
Director of Communications