Mobile operator EE has moved to improve its support for deaf customers by partnering up with Action on Hearing Loss (AoHL), which among other things claims to have conducted a “thorough assessment” of its call centres in order to develop best practices for supporting those with hearing loss.
As a result of this work EE claims that its support teams will be better able to assist such users, not least through the use of Next Generation Text (NGT) text relay services and a sign language Interpreting service for British Sign Language users. Customers who inform the operator of a disability will also receive additional support from their dedicated Customer Disability Team.
On top of that the operator will also offer special mobile plans with a greater focus on data allowances (i.e. fewer voice minutes) to those with a hearing impairment (this will be offered alongside devices with a range of accessibility features – examples here), which they say is intended to “better align with how customers with hearing loss prefer to communicate.”
James Rowe, Executive Director at AoHL, said:
“We are very pleased to be partnering with EE as they provide some of the best support for the one-in-six people in the UK who are living with deafness or hearing loss. It is very encouraging to see a company like EE proactively taking steps to make sure that their customers living with deafness and hearing loss are not being financially disadvantaged and are able to access phone packages that are better suited to their needs.
We have been working very closely with EE and their excellent Customer Disability Team for the past few months and look forward to further developing our partnership so that people with deafness and hearing loss can continue to benefit from all the latest mobile and assistive technology.”
The news comes after a report last week revealed that some of the UK’s largest broadband ISPs and mobile operators were struggling to properly cater for those with a hearing disability (here). Hopefully the same study will be conducted again next year so that we can test what, if anything, has changed.