AnswerNet Partners with Connect Direct to Improve Service to the Deaf

AnswerNet, a contact center outsourcer operating more than 25 facilities in 19 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, has partnered with Connect Direct to improve customer service for the 1 million deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in the United States.

With this partnership, companies can now allow customer service representatives to connect immediately with deaf or hard-of-hearing consumers through video. The agents will then use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate with the consumer. Call centers can now expand their offerings to handle email, chats, texts, social media, and live video calls that require ASL.

It also presents a unique opportunity to employ deaf and hard-of-hearing people, 47 percent of whom are not in the labor force.

"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]," said Gary Pudles, CEO and president of AnswerNet, in a statement. "However, as an owner of many omnichannel 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."