The specialist contact centre provider Connect Assist has launched Sign Assist; UK’s first one-to-one signing service delivered by deaf native British Sign Language (BSL) users.
This is to ensure that those Deaf people who use BSL as their first language can have direct conversations when calling for a service or to speak to an organisation.
The outsourced contact centre has recruited a team of Deaf advisors, as well as a bi-lingual Team Leader to run the new department.
The Deaf advisors will be trained to represent participating organisations providing direct access these services. This also negates the need for an Interpreter to relay back and forth, with the frustrations and lack of empathy from the hearing contact centre that often occurs.
Connect Assist recognised that the deaf community is drastically underserved and wanted to provide a new service to ensure that those who are deaf aren’t faced with organisational barriers/issues/inequalities.
To use the service, users will click a Sign Assist logo connecting them with a Relate video platform. This launches a video call that’s answered by a dedicated team, all Deaf native, fluent British Sign Language users.
Connect Assist has recognised that diversity and accessibility is fundamentally important and is working closely with an Industry expert, terptree, who support the largest UK businesses to revamp their employee and customer experience.
They are using their expertise to guide Connect Assist in creating an inclusive working environment for the new Deaf team, avoiding isolation, adapting their office to suit staff members needs and much more.
terptree have been on hand and advising the team throughout the process.
Ron Moody, CEO of Connect Assist, says:
“Connect Assist’s mission has always been about helping people. With Sign Assist, we want to be able to support the Deaf community by giving them the help and support they need by communicating with them in the right way.
We want to cut out the middlemen, as communications with services and companies can often take days to get a response. Sign Assist will be able to supply deaf people with the answers to their questions straight away while still being able to ask any follow up questions too. We’re beyond delighted to not only be creating this new service but running it too.”
The in-house team at Sign Assist will have their own dedicated working area, with a carefully orchestrated backdrop to ensure that all sign language can be clearly seen. This also means that there’s nothing visually jarring that could potentially distract the Deaf service user.
As Sign Assist will be opening job opportunities for the Deaf community, the company are also providing all hearing members of staff free Deaf Awareness Training and sign language training so that they’re able to communicate with new staff members in British Sign Language.
Victoria Williams, CEO of terptree says:
“We are delighted to be working on this really exciting initiative with a business that truly cares about supporting people. Deaf people are massively underserved by most businesses and Sign Assist will help to re-address that balance and offer Deaf people direct access to these crucial organisations.”
Gemma Banks, HR Partner at Connect Assist, says:
“We don’t ever want a member of our team to feel isolated in the workplace. Our company culture is something that we’ve always been proud of and being wholly inclusive is a top priority.”
There are currently 12 million people in the UK deaf or have a hearing loss and around 50% of these people are said to have experienced negative mental health, compared to just 25% for the general population.
The community is searching for organisations that understand their specific needs, and Sign Assist should make a huge difference for them trying to get the support and answers that they need.
About Connect Assist
Connect Assist is a 24/7 specialist outsourced contact centre business. Through a uniquely human approach, technology, consultancy and experience they’ve become the market leader in delivering positive human outcomes for public sector, charity and socially focussed organisations.