Customers with disabilities are simply: customers, who also may have to interact with a company or brand and see their queries resolved. The fact that they may use different ways of communicating tells us we need to adapt our way of interacting in order to be inclusive. At the end of the day, they come for our services, and it is our job to help them. Being aware of the gap that existed in contact center solutions, a platform was developed, through which agents and clients can communicate using sign language.
Back in the day contact centers did not exist and issues were managed in person, it was probably easier to deliver accessible customer service. Agents could easily notice if a client had some kind of hearing impairment and act accordingly, for instance, by grabbing a notebook and allowing them to write.
As today’s contact centers show a greater gap between agents and customers, individuals with disabilities must not be forgotten in the customer service processes. As contact centers are not accessible by default, that is something to be discussed and implemented in order to serve and benefit everyone. We want all our customers to be able to contact us.
The fact that call centers are not accessible for the impaired community is a problem still faced all over the world.
Call centers must then be made accessible to every person, and agents must be trained to deal with those interactions.
Collab deployed its first solution addressed to the hearing-impaired community back in 2013 in Vodafone Portugal. This contact center solution allows individuals with hearing loss to interact with the company through HD video calls.
The technology is still being used by Vodafone Portugal after all these years and is, therefore, mature. A solution that works on Nubitalk, Collab’s cloud.
More recently, South African Sign Language was declared the 12th Official Language in the country, leading to some requirements:
1. Customer service must be accessible with Sign Language
2. Translation to Sign Language must be available in every contact center
Following these governmental requirements, Collab worked on a project for a big telco in South Africa. The solution was implemented in 2022 and consists of agents who speak South African Sign Language and are able to interact with customers through high-quality video calls.
Important to mention that each one of these agents must go through an intense learning course, where the staff learns how to communicate with these people, who are much more informal in speaking terms and do not have a so vast vocabulary. This means every interaction and communication must be adapted to the hearing-impaired.
Another project was implemented by Collab in France, where a company specialized in providing customer service in Sign Language provides outsourcing services to companies that require that type of assistance.
Insurance companies soon started to pay attention to this challenge in order to help their customers with hearing loss solve any problems they might face in case of an accident. In Portugal, Collab implemented a call center solution for a tier-1 vehicle insurance company, that aimed to help the hearing-impaired community. Using Sign Language, they act as an intermediary (through voice) between the customer calling and other people involved in the incident, who might not understand Sign Language.
Enhanced customer experience
Interaction through high quality video calls
Contact center solution suitable for the hearing-impaired community