Impact Sourcing

“Embracing Inclusivity: How Deaf Agents Transformed our eCommerce Customer Support

In the ever-evolving world of CX, businesses are continually striving to provide exceptional customer service while embracing inclusivity. At Call Lab, we recognize the importance of diversity. For us, the word diversity means creating a workplace that reflects how our society looks, and to embrace the incredible potential of individuals from all walks of life, with their unique skills and perspectives.

To address inclusivity and enhance our customer support, we made a decision: to employ Deaf agents to power our online chat service. This decision not only enabled us to offer exceptional service but also created a positive impact on the lives of our team members.

While the task of supporting the online chat function could have been assigned to hearing agents, we firmly believe that opportunities should be accessible to all. We saw no reason why Deaf individuals couldn’t excel in this role. Deafness is not a limitation; it simply signifies a different language. By leveraging their exceptional typing and reasoning skills, problem-solving abilities, and loads of empathy and patience, our Deaf agents prove that they are in fact, able to communicate effectively.

Embracing inclusivity required us to adapt our training program to meet the needs of our Deaf team. We embarked on a complex training journey that involved utilizing two sign language interpreters per training session.

Our Training team had to adjust their existing training process to cater for the needs of the new team. We had a quick crash course in Sign Language and were assisted by the Deaf community of Cape Town (DCCT) with Awareness training. We quickly discovered that our training journey will be a bit longer than anticipated, as no technical terms exist in Sign Language, the interpreters had to spell out individual words or create a sign for a specific term which is sector-specific, which meant that the initial timelines had to be adapted to ensure that we manage our client’s expectations with regards to go live.

Fortunately for us, we had a very understanding eCommerce client who also understood the complexity around the project and allowed us the time needed to successfully complete our training. With the learnings we took from the process, we are now better equipped to ensure that our future project takes all of the intricacies into account.

The commitment and effort invested were significant, but our shared goal was clear: to delight our customers with exceptional service and make a positive impact on the lives of our team members. Plus, we were lucky to have a group of fantastic people join us who were excited about the opportunity, eager to learn and very patient and understanding. This made the entire process incredibly rewarding. With the unprecedented advancements we have been experiencing in AI and the digital transformation, we are witnessing an exciting shift where the boundaries that once prevented the inclusion of differently-abled individuals are being dismantled. We are excited about these new possibilities and actively seeking ways to enhance our training, making them more inclusive than ever before.

Our deaf agents have exhibited beautiful loyalty, dedication, and an incredible work ethic. They have become an invaluable part of our team, setting an inspiring example for others to follow. Their positive attitudes and ability to overcome challenges with determination have brought an exciting and fresh perspective to our company culture. We consider ourselves fortunate to have them working with us, as they continuously contribute to our collective success.

The impact of our decision to embrace inclusivity extends beyond our immediate team and customer base. By demonstrating our commitment to diversity and showcasing the capabilities of Deaf individuals, we hope to inspire other organizations to explore similar avenues of inclusivity. The BPO industry is in a unique position to ensure that we create meaningful job opportunities for all!

Diversity and inclusivity are not just buzzwords but essential elements of a successful and impactful business. Through our decision to utilize Deaf agents in our online chat service, we have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of embracing differences. Our Deaf agents have proven that communication knows no boundaries and that by providing equal opportunities, we can unleash remarkable talent and create an exceptional customer experience. We remain committed to fostering inclusivity, continuing to make a positive impact, and inspiring others to do the same.”

Impact Sourcing is the practice of creating opportunities for those that would not otherwise have it.

Aimed at supporting individuals from marginalised communities globally, the model encourages businesses to engage with individuals who may have limited prospects and help recruit, train and develop them and ultimately provide them with a career, income and a better life.

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