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Serving Customers with Mental Illness with Dignity


Evelina Silveira, President, Diversity at Work

What is the first thought that comes to your minmental healthd when you hear the term “mental illness”? You probably think about a commercial which is promoting mental health or a person you may know who is struggling with an illness. Alternatively, we may be speaking about you. What we often forget is that people with mental illness come to our organizations and businesses looking for goods and services. For some, their disorder will not impede their interactions. However, for others, they may experience barriers which prevent them from initiating or completing a transaction with you.

These individuals whose symptoms are more visible may require a heightened level of sensitivity and patience as well as an out-of-the-box type of service. According to the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health in Canada (CAMH), mental illness is the leading cause of disability

 

The Life and Economic Impact of Major Mental Illnesses in Canada: 2011-2041. Prepared for the Mental Health Commission of Canada, they indicate 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental health or addiction problem. By the time Canadians reach 40 years of age, 1 in 2 is the number.

The alarming statistics indicate this is a large demographic –one that requires our attention to ensure we provide an excellent customer service experience, get their repeat business and generate customer loyalty.

Learn more about serving customers with mental illness is our issue of Your Diverse Customer Training Ezine.  The topics include:

  • What is mental illness?
  • Tips for conveying and receiving information.
  • Interview:  How to conduct how visits.
  • Template:  Customer assistance form. A tool for providing service for unpredictable customers.
  • De-escalation – Tips for avoiding potentially violent situations.
  • Application and Resources – Case Study, link to further videos and learning

Purchase your Pdf copy today!

Your Diverse Customer – Serving Customers with Mental Illness

$20.00

 

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Great Customer Service Begins with Knowing How to Work with Language Barriers


coverEvelina Silveira, President, Diversity at Work

Customer service is about communication. A fruitful experience will result in both customer and agent satisfaction. Customer service training implies both the agent and the customer comprehend English, but that is not always the case.

According to Statistics Canada 2016, 2% of the Canadian population cannot speak English or French. The percentage is likely to soar, especially with recent news of mass migration and immigration proposed by the federal government.

Conditional on where you live, or the service you may provide, the percentage of people who lack English proficiency skills may be more substantial. Consider if you are a non-profit agency which delivers employment services to newcomers, or a store located in the heart of an ethnic community? All of these variations may result in a greater need for competencies in working with customer and clients who have language barriers.

While the encounter will be more challenging, it is not unmanageable. You can still provide courteous, attentive and results-oriented customer service. “Going-the-extra-mile” can contribute to customer loyalty; increased brand identification within a community; word-of-mouth advertising; but most of all, the satisfaction of providing them with what they want.

The various strategies and tips we will explore in this issue can be easily adapted to serving customers with learning and cognitive delays. Why? Patience, clear communication, and a willingness to “think-out-side-the-box” are requirements for reaching people with barriers.

In this issue of  Your Diverse Customer Training Ezine, you will learn how to communicate with people who have language barriers.

The contents of this issue include:

  • how to tell the difference between a strong accent and a language barrier
  • guide to reading letters and numbers over the telephone
  • common idioms to avoid
  • 8 Rules for Better Understanding
  • How to Make Your Communication Clearer
  • Case Study
  • Links to Training Resources

 

Purchase your Pdf version here:

Your Diverse Customer -Serving Customers With Language Barriers

$20.00

The Value of the Senior Citizen Market


Evelina Silveira, President, Diversity at Work

seniorscoverThe proportion of senior citizens (aged 65 and over) in Canada has been increasing over the past 40 years, and this group is becoming a larger segment of our population. According to Stats Canada, the proportion of seniors grew to 14% in 2010.

By 2036, seniors are expected to comprise 25% of our population.

It makes sense, then, that your organization or business should take an inventory to see how well-prepared you are to serve this growing population. You want to maximize your opportunities for sales; you want to provide effective and empathetic service; you need to meet legislative requirements regarding human rights and disabilities. It’s important to note that today’s seniors no longer fit bygone stereotypes. Boomer seniors won’t be cranky, sick, frail, and living in old-age homes as we once knew them. Current seniors are outliving previous generations by being health-conscious and active.

Stats Canada reports here, “The census counted 127,925 seniors (2.6% of the senior population) living in senior residences (72% women; 28% men). The majority (84%) housed in senior residences lived without a spouse/partner. For seniors aged 65-74 in senior residences, 81% were single men and 82% were single women.”

These stats reveal that only a very small percentage of seniors live by themselves, which is due to improved health, more support services, and adaptive devices. These factors contribute to seniors’ independence, improved quality of life, and more opportunities for engagement with others.

All of this information shows that we’re seeing a new profile of an evolving demographic. Today’s seniors don’t conform to our outdated ideas of a senior population. As a result, your business or organization needs to consider the way you and your staff view your senior clients and customers. You need to explore how you can improve the experience of seniors who frequent your organization or business.

This issue of Your Diverse Customer (our training ezine) will inform you and your staff on what you can do to improve the experience of seniors who count among your clients or customers.

Topics included:

  • Making your business or service “Senior-Centric”
  • The New Baby Boomer and How to Market to Them
  • Age-Friendly Business Checklist
  • Training resources – videos and links

Order a copy of our TRAINING Ezine today!

Our ezine offers you the tools to enhance your business operations by increasing your awareness of customer demographics; while learning how to provide excellent service with our training tips and resources.

Use the eZine for onboarding activities, departmental meetings as well as part of your customer service training.

Your Diverse Customer – Focus on Older Adults

A training eZine.

$20.00

LIVE WEBINAR: Serving Customers Who Have Language Barriers Over the Telephone


Customer Service People Wearing Telephone Headset

Customer Service People Wearing Telephone Headset ca. 2002

 

August 27, 2018  10:00 am -11:30 am EST  Canada

Encountering a language barrier in person is challenging enough, but what happens when you are required to sell a product or gather information from a caller in a crisis who has little in the way of English fluency?

Without any visual clues for both the caller and the call-taker, the situation can seem insurmountable; but it doesn’t have to be.

You can learn practical skills which will increase your confidence in responding to callers who experience these barriers but also assist them to navigate through the call more successfully.

What we’ll cover in this event…

How to Speak and What to Say Learn strategies for speaking clearly and choosing the most easily understood words. Receive tips for spelling letters and reading numbers over the phone.

Is it a Language Barrier or a Strong Accent?  Learn how you determine the difference and how you should respond. A guide for understanding various distorted pronunciation patterns.

How Can You Calm a distressed caller?  Three simple words which make a world of difference to callers who may be in crisis or anxious.

A three-hour workshop has been rolled out to several police services in Canada, non-profits and several other organizations.

We have condensed the content into a live webinar format which will run for approximately 1.5 hours. A replay within 24 hours is available along with handouts.

Job aids can be purchased separately to augment your learning.

A 9-1-1 Call Taker Simple Language Guide has been specifically designed with input from three police services. Contact us for more details.

 

info@yourdiversityawork.com.

For more information and to register, please click on the following link. https://events.genndi.com/register/169105139238467417/15863ce143

 

 

 

Your Diverse Customer Training Magazine


Have you noticed that your customer base is changing?

Do you wonder if you are providing equitable service?

Would you like to enhance your customer service training and protocols but don’t know how?

Do you want to create loyalty and an excellent customer service experience every time?

We are pleased to announce the debut of our digital quarterly training magazine,

Your Diverse Customer.

CoverMag.png

Take a peek inside.  Our magazine has a universal focus.  Whether you work in the private, public or non-profit sector there is something for everyone.  Best of all, we have chosen themes which will resonate with readers from across the globe.

Preview_ Your Diverse Customer (1) Here is a PDF version, please note scrolling is not shown here.

Or http://pub.lucidpress.com/yourdiversecustomer/

Your Diverse Customer Magazine is available in a printable format or online.

For more information, contact info@yourdiversityatwork.com

 

 

 

 

Serving Customers with Mental Illness


Written by:  Evelina Silveira, President, Diversity at Work

Another stressful day at the bank! My aunt would recount the horrors of a teller suspiciously inspecting her up and down, giggling and chatting with her co-workers about what a bad person she was.  My aunt would then explain to me how the bank no longer liked her since she started making withdrawals from her account and she feared that they would no longer want to accept her as a customer.  Maria would retell the experience in the most convincing manner, explaining to me how the staff stared at her causing the customers who were in line to glare with curiosity and caution.  By the end of the conversation, I was so angered by how they treated my aunt; I decided to call the bank manager and report the teller.  I wanted to ensure that they would never treat her like this or anyone again —after all, she was a loyal and valued customer.

As the years went on, I realized the complaint phone calls that I made for my aunt about rude staff, might have resulted in a lot of decent employees getting reprimanded for actions they had never committed.

My aunt was diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder when she was in her 50’s, and then the lightbulb in my head went off.  Perhaps the incidents she disclosed were based on her fears of persecution and that they had never occurred?

lewy-body-dementia-2965713_640-e1515973823994.jpgYears later, I would hear her crying and shaking in fear about how her landlord wanted to evict her. I would try to reassure her that it would never happen.  Her apartment was clean, she was quiet, and she paid her rent on time –the ideal tenant.  However, each month, I would have to reassure her of this, but it did not always work.  She would go to the landlord’s office and directly ask them if they were planning to evict her. They must have eventually figured out that my aunt was not well, and thankfully and remarkably they were always polite to her.

When she got older and was no longer able to live on her own, she moved to a nursing home which she liked.  However, there again, she thought the administrators were going to kick her out on the street, and her room-mate was part of the conspiracy.

Her whole life was built on fear.  Fear of every sort.  Fear every day.

Sometimes, you will encounter people like Maria whether you are a public service employee or a customer service representative.  People suffering from hallucinations will likely be the most difficult to serve. You want to make sure you do not aggravate or trigger their fear.

Regardless of how challenging people with severe mental illnesses can be to serve, it is important to recognize they are also customers with buying power and deserve respect and equitable service. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it is also the law in Ontario.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when serving customers with severe mental illnesses:

  1.  Although you may be in the position of power in your role, try not to emphasize your authority but instead act more as a helper, assisting them to find the product or service they need.
  2. Establish a rapport with them, by saying their name if you know it.  Give them a simple compliment.
  3. If someone is delusional, don’t try to correct his or her hallucinations.  Avoid taking on the role of the therapist.   You can try calling their name a few times to see if they can refocus on why they need your service.
  4. On occasion, a person with a severe mental illness may make threats.  Be aware they rarely carry them out.
  5. Avoid drawing any unnecessary attention to someone who is acting out or behaving differently.  It is disrespectful to do so and staring or making loud comments to them does not help.

For more information on how to provide courteous customer service to people with mental illnesses, subscribe to our upcoming digital magazine, Your Diverse Customer which will be coming out in Spring 2018.  Our first issue will be devoted to serving customers with mental illnesses.  It will feature interviews, tips and strategies, global trends, resources, case studies and more.

To learn more about Your Diverse Customer and purchasing details, please email me at info@yourdiversityatwork.com with “Your Diverse Customer” in the subject line.

 

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