At some point in our lives, we will all experience circumstances that make us less able to retain information and make decisions. At these times, we rely on the patience and understanding of others in order to deal with the tasks that we need to complete.
Spotting the Signs
Bereavement, redundancy, ill health or a family crisis are just a few situations which can make everyday tasks seem overwhelming. Our body language and facial expression may indicate that we’re confused or distracted. We might ask for information to be repeated several times, or find it difficult to locate items that we need. We could be easily distracted or vague in our responses.
In order to deliver good customer service, your team need to be trained on how to spot the signs and respond accordingly. It is also important that they receive clear guidance on how they can adjust standard policies and processes to meet the needs of vulnerable customers.
It is highly likely that some of your customers have physical or learning disabilities. You might serve customers for whom English isn’t their native language and with an ageing population, there are around 850,000 people with dementia in the UK. These individuals may want your goods and services. By providing a personalised service, your team can help them to get what they want.
Food Shopping and Films
Everyone needs to stock up on groceries, but a bustling supermarket can be difficult for many people to negotiate. It’s a sensory overload, as well as presenting challenges in negotiating your way around the aisles. In July, Morrison’s introduced ‘Quieter Hour’ to all of their stores. From 9-10am on Saturday mornings, the lights are dimmed, the music and tannoy announcements are switched off and till sounds are lowered. The initiative was developed in partnership with the National Autistic Society, but it isn’t just those with autism who prefer the opportunity to experience a calmer shopping experience.
In another example, we know that music and films have the power to unlock memories. Understanding the need to provide a specific service, for individuals who are affected by memory loss, prompted Odeon Cinemas to offer Dementia-friendly screenings of classic movies. This opens up the enjoyment of the big screen for those who weren’t previously being served.
Tips for Providing Personalised Customer Service
There may be ways in which your company could allocate slots of time to meet the specific needs of particular client groups. On a day-to-day basis, these tips could help your company to offer a considered and caring approach to customer service:
It can also be helpful if your company can provide a quiet area where individuals can sit and read through information at their own pace. Would it be possible for an additional member of staff to be called upon when individuals clearly need extra time to receive the service they require? This ensures due care is given, whilst other customers continue to be served.
Customer Service Training
Having undergone Dementia Training, I can shed some light on small changes that can be made in order to provide good customer service to this vulnerable group. In addition, as a mother of a son with learning difficulties, I have experienced both frustrating and exceptional customer care.
My customer service training equips teams with the understanding and skills they need to gain and retain customers. It’s important to make every client feel welcome and supported to reap the rewards.