1,000 Reviews Later, Our Deaf–Friendly Journey Continues

Posted by: Staff Writer on April 2, 2014

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” -- Lao-tzu, Chinese philosopher (604 BC - 531 BC)  They say the first step is the hardest – and that every endeavor is a culmination of baby steps.

For deafREVIEW, nothing could be further from the truth. Two years ago, this deaf-owned start-up took its fledgling first step, paving the path for many deaf and hard-of-hearing consumers to fulfill its destiny as a trusted review platform to highlight local businesses that are deaf-friendly or deaf-challenged.

That day has finally arrived – last week, we received our 1,000th review! The subject of this milestone is Café Presse, a cozy French Bar-Café on Capitol Hill, Seattle. It is known to many Seattleites for its Poulet à Go-Go, its foreign and domestic newspapers, and hot mugs of Caffe Vita to go with your Petit Dejeuner (breakfast).

Now, thanks to Seattle-based reviewer Ariele Belo, it’s also known to the Deaf Community for its sourds-friendly (that’s “deaf-friendly,” in French) server Kevin:

“I always go to this restaurant for great food and always great servers,” Belo wrote in her 4-star review of Café Presse last week. “This time, I want to thank Kevin for being willing to communicate with each of us - (he) even asked one of my friends the sign for coffee.”  

This is Belo’s 19th review on this website, which she joined in May 2012 shortly after deafREVIEW launched in its flagship city of Seattle. Upon being notified that she wrote the 1,000th review, she told us why she writes them: “I used to work in restaurants and retail stores, so I know the importance of friendly customer service for everyone …"

By the numbers: What the milestone means

Reviewers like Belo are helping deafREVIEW gain critical mass every day, reflected Melissa “echo” Greenlee, founder and CEO of deafREVIEW.

“We couldn't have done it without the 100+ dedicated reviewers whom are out there plugging in reviews about their day to day experience as a consumer,” Greenlee said. “I am beyond thrilled reaching this important milestone of having 1,000 business reviews in 11 deaf-friendly cities!”

By now, 1,000 reviews are live on the website for public viewing, and express an overall upbeat feel: Over 80 percent of the reviews have garnered a positive review (four to five stars) on a one- to five- star scale. But even 11 of the most deaf-friendly cities in America are not above the reproach of neutral or unsatisfied reviews: the website has over 15% pitiful one- to three- star reviews.

“That means that 1,000 businesses have been notified about their deaf-friendly or deaf-challenged service. Hotels, airline carriers, doctors, restaurants, lawyers, grocery stores, movie theaters, salons, hospitals - you name it! All of them have been given tips on how to improve their service for our unique community.”

According to our site metrics, our most-reviewed categories are restaurants, theatres, and doctors.

Given the bustling social, and arts-driven nature of the Deaf Community, the first two are unsurprising. But the wide range of opinions about our OB-GYNs, dentists, optometrists, and family doctors? That was a telling sign that our health is a “non-negotiable” when it comes to deaf-challenged service.

What’s next? Nationwide launch, and two exciting workshops

Reaching this 1,000-review milestone means two things: deafREVIEW provides a key resource for the Community, and those who live in other cities deserve to make their opinions public as well.

The result: “We have decided to open our review potential nation-wide this spring,” announced Greenlee. “Anywhere you go in the USA, you will be able to write a review!”

Let’s give a hand wave for our coastal cities, which are home to our most active reviewers: Seattle, San Diego, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and New York City.

“Creating a deaf-friendly world can't be accomplished by one person alone - it takes a village,” said Greenlee. “Our goal is to turn your reviews into results!”

That’s why deafREVIEW is offering two exciting workshops this summer.

The first, called "How to Engage with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Customers," is available for people who own, or work for, businesses. The second, “Know Your Rights Under the Americans with Disability Act," aims to demystify the inner workings of federal law for deaf and hard of hearing consumers to gain confidence in requesting accommodations and deaf-friendly service.

Watch our Facebook page for dates, locations, as well as additional information about our upcoming nationwide launch!

In the meantime, keep plugging in those reviews: Tens of thousands of businesses are active in our database, waiting for corrective criticism or praise. Creating a deaf-friendly world isn’t just about the destination – it’s an ongoing journey that requires your involvement.  

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Comment Policy

We’re aware that issues facing the Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing Community can become quite passionate and divided. What can we say, we’re a group of passionate people! While we fully support a community full of passion, we also require that comments are respectful. We think negative attitudes and disrespect are a waste of everyone’s time and energy. This doesn’t mean you can’t disagree with people, you just need to do it respectfully. We reserve the right to delete or edit any comments we feel are judgmental, rude, or of attacking nature.

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