What makes for a good volunteer Helper?

As a Volunteer Helper for Be My Guide™, you will be entrusted with the demanding task of guiding and supporting the User to the point or destination where they will be able to continue on with their planned journey. With a countless number of situations that may arise in a Helper & User exchange, Helpers need to be versatile and equipped with a basic skill set to handle the needs of guiding the person who is blind or vision impaired. Please read the following for some sound advice and guidance as a Helper.

  • Stay calm & take your time to assess the person’s needs for guidance.
  • Act professional, courteous and respectful at all times.
  • Good voice quality – A Helper should be able to speak clearly, slowly, and with confidence.
  • Authority – A Helper should always maintain control of the phone conversation as to calm down the caller, save time, and attain as much information as possible.
  • Clear communication. It’s no easy task, but Helper should aim to keep their exchanges concise and relevant and resist the urge to overdo small talk. The person may need that human touch, and it’s always important to make introductions at the outset. However, always remember that they value their time, so communication should be to the point.
  • Patience – A Helper should have patience with callers who may have difficulty conveying the nature of the help or needs, such as location, orientation, or individuals who have difficulty speaking English.
  • Proper Etiquette and Professionalism – A Helper should always remain courteous, polite, and professional.
  • A Helper should always maintain control of the phone conversation as to calm down the User if they are experiencing anxiety, this will save time, and allow you to attain as much information as possible.
  • A Helper should provide a User a chance to explain their situation in full and never react negatively to an unhappy User.
  • A Helper should try and keep the language as simple as possible, clock face and other directional communication are good but not always understood.
  • A Helper should also put User at ease by explaining a solution calmly and patiently while remembering that customers do not always possess the orientation & mobility knowledge needed to resolve an issue.
  • It may seem dramatic, but empathy is among the most important customer service skills. A frustrated User definitely needs attention.
  • Positive attitude. No matter how upset a User might be, Helpers must keep a positive attitude. Using positive language that reflects confidence in finding a solution will reassure the User.
  • Attentive listening. If a Helper wishes to explain a situation in detail, Helpers need to be willing to listen. In addition, User’s may not necessarily accept the orientation or direction you suggest so attentive listening is critical to showing respect for the User’s opinions.