Inaccessible Customer Service
Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, hard-of-hearing, and late-deafened people face many barriers to communication in a world that doesn’t always think of accessibility for all. One of those areas that can be incredibly frustrating for Deaf people is customer service.
Imagine calling customer support to resolve an issue with your Wi-Fi, but you’re unable to hear what the customer service agent is saying. You can maybe get your point across but can’t hear the steps you need to take to resolve your problem. Deaf customers often need to rely on video relay service (VRS) in these situations, which means long waits and added frustration in an already frustrating situation.
This outdated process means your company relies on third-party VRS interpreters to represent your brand accurately, even though they have had zero training about your company and are unfamiliar with your services, policies, terminology, and culture. This can lead to misunderstandings between your customer and your representative, negative customer experiences and repeat calls, and longer call times due to the time-consuming 3-way communications process.
This situation sets up barriers and frustrations for everyone involved. No one in this situation – the customer, your business, or the customer service representative – is being set up for success. But there is a better way.
Improve Your Customer Service Offerings
So how can companies make their customer service more accessible? We have three easy ways to help!
1. Hire Deaf Customer Service Agents
This seems pretty obvious, right? Yet 75% of the Deaf community is under or un-employed. Our community is full of brilliant, hardworking people who could strengthen your company and improve your relationship with Deaf consumers, who are more likely to support businesses that are inclusive and accessible.
That means doing the right thing, increasing your company’s diversity, and tapping into the market of 2.5 million American Sign Language (ASL) users in the United States, who have an estimated $86 billion in discretionary spending power. It’s good for the community and good for your bottom line!
2. Provide Customer Service Calls In ASL
This is key – provide an equitable communications experience for Deaf callers. By hiring Deaf customer service agents and using products like ASL Now, Deaf callers can call your existing helpline number and automatically be routed to a trained Deaf customer service rep who knows your company, brand, and product.
Using ASL Now can minimize opportunities for mistakes and miscommunications, reduce call times by 33% on average, reduce costs by 35% compared to VRS, and increase the number of Deaf customers by 300% on average.
3. Make Customer Service Mobile and Easy to Access
What’s the point of having accessible customer service if people can’t find it? Too often, accessibility features are buried in websites on pages that are difficult to find and frustrating to navigate using a mobile device. So, make sure your accessible customer service is easy to find and mobile-friendly.
ASL Now has an app available in the Apple and Google Play store that serves as a directory of companies that currently offer customer support directly in ASL through Connect Direct.
A user simply scrolls through the list of companies, finds the one they need to call, and clicks to connect with a trained Deaf customer service agent over video in their native language. Companies in the directory now include Google, Xfinity Comcast, the Minnesota Health Department, Cox Communications, and the State of California.
Easy to access customer service in ASL from Deaf agents.
Accessibility is a lot easier to achieve than you may think! The ASL Now service, powered by Connect Direct, partners with globally recognized companies to hire and train teams of Deaf and hard-of-hearing customer service agents and establishes dedicated customer service solutions for their customers who are part of the Deaf community.
Learn more about the three simple steps to setting up ASL Now on our website, and download the app today!