For people with physical disabilities, activities we take for granted can be a real obstacle course. This includes, for example, using a customer hotline for the deaf. With o2, a major provider is now responding to this problem and simplifying its customer service. The so-called “Tess” service is intended to ensure, among other things, that one receives an immediate promlem solution and can bypass annoying submenus.
Special hotline for the deaf
To make it easier for people with hearing impairments or even the completely deaf to get support from o2’s customer service in the future, they can now contact a hotline set up specifically for this purpose. When contact is made, they will be forwarded to a special interpreter service. This service, known as “Tess,” enables callers to access sign language. To access the service, you can either use a PC with a suitable webcam or an iOS or Android device with the corresponding app.
If the prerequisites are given, the call can already start. Tess” acts as a link between the caller and the o2 customer service. In practice, it works as follows: The customer contacts the Tess interpreter via PC or mobile device. The interpreter registers the transmitted signs in order to forward the corresponding question to the o2 customer service employee. Consequently, people with hearing impairments can now also ask questions to the provider.
Problem solving with fewer hurdles
Of course, deaf people could also approach o2 customer service in the past. However, this took far longer as it involved more hurdles. The so-called o2 voice portal used to bombard customers with many questions, which not only cost time, but also nerves and money. Under Tess, this is now to be eliminated altogether. Instead, customer service is to automatically recognize when a call comes to it from a special interpreter. These are then to be forwarded to a service employee without any detours.
Everyone should be able to enjoy suitable service
The step taken by o2 is a truly commendable one. After all, customer service should also be as barrier-free as possible. The fact that the company is concerned about this is also made clear by Ulf Michaelis, Head of Sales and Customer Service at o2:
“Our customers should be able to contact us via the way that is best or most convenient for them”
At the same time, the new service is by no means intended to be a pure marketing gimmick. The provider seems to really mean it. After all, o2 has trained its customer service staff specifically for the challenges with Tess. This means that it is finally possible for people with physical impairments in terms of hearing to contact customer service.
Special phone number only accessible via Tess
To ensure that the newly established service phone number 089 66 66 300 74 is not now overloaded, o2 has made it accessible only for calls via Tess. Incidentally, the provider is not only speeding up the connection to calls via Tess to save customers time. Rather, there are monetary reasons for this. A call using the Tess interpreter costs the customer 14 cents per minute. With the corresponding waiting time, this adds up to a hefty sum that o2 would not want its customers to have to pay. This courtesy from o2 is very thoughtful and praiseworthy.