HSBC and first direct launch British Sign Language video service

6th Apr 2016

HSBC and first direct have demonstrated their commitment to meeting customers’ needs with the launch of a British Sign Language Video Relay Service (VRS) for customers in the United Kingdom.

The service allows British Sign Language (BSL) users to communicate with their bank via an on-screen interpreter, who then relays the information to a customer service adviser in spoken English.

The initiative comes in response to research showing 29% of deaf and hard of hearing adults avoid organisations such as banks, building societies and utility companies that fail to provide sufficient access.

Joe Gordon, HSBC’s UK head of customer contact, believes banks have a key opportunity to harness new technology to enhance the quality of customer service. “Digital innovations allow us to improve every aspect of the customer experience and this launch is no exception,” he says. “It is another example of technology being introduced to make sure customers can access their finances more easily, safely and securely.”

For Paul Breckell, chief executive at Action on Hearing Loss, organisations need to ensure they take accessibility into account, and adapt to suit the needs of each and every customer. “It is great to see that the banking industry is giving attention to inclusion and accessibility among its customers with hearing loss, which affects 11 million people in the UK,” Breckell says. “Accessibility influences customers’ purchasing decisions, and if a customer feels they are not able to get the experience they want and need, they are likely to vote with their feet.”

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