AnswerNet and Connect Direct have partnered to bring the deaf community to the forefront of today’s customer service solutions. With one million deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States, it’s astonishing how little progress has been made in customer service communications. While the use of smart phones and video chat has been well-established over the past few years, companies still haven’t taken full advantage of the opportunity to provide the instant customer care expected by most hearing consumers.
With a partnership between AnswerNet and Connect Direct, companies can now allow customer service representatives to connect immediately with their deaf or hard of hearing consumers through video. The agents use American Sign Language (ASL), often the first language of deaf and hard of hearing people, to communicate with the consumer regarding their issue in a quick and efficient manner.
While this innovation is great for businesses, it also is a unique opportunity to employ deaf and hard of hearing people. Forty-seven percent of the deaf community in the United States isn’t in the labor force. However, call centers can now expand their offering to handle live video calls that require ASL.
“The deaf community has lacked the support from corporate America. As consumers, they are not given the chance to speak in their native language [ASL],” says Gary Pudles, CEO and president of AnswerNet. “However, as an owner of many omni-channel contact centers, technology has so greatly opened up the world of communications that we can not only provide better customer service solutions but also provide employment opportunities that didn’t exist before; being deaf should never be considered a limitation, but being unaware of the community and the value they bring to a corporation is.”