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Verizon Intros New Video Call Center Link for Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Customers

September 20, 2007

In a bid to increase the ways in which Verizon's many customers can communicate with them about their services, more specifically for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, Verizon has launched a new video call center that utilizes videophones and American Sign Language.

Using the new service, it will be possible for customers to communicate with representatives for orders, service changes, and to answer questions.
Representatives will be fully proficient in American Sign Language (ASL) and will communicate with callers via videophone.
Videophone is making it easier with those in the deaf or hard of hearing community to have effective phone communications.
"Verizon is the first company in the industry to offer customer service via videophone - another example of our leadership position in providing effective communications for all of our customers and our quest to make the center a valued resource for customers with disabilities."  said Tom Boudrow, who is outreach manager at the Verizon Center for Customers with Disabilities and who is deaf.
Currently, the new ASL video link is available for customers in the Mid-Atlantic region, "pending possible expansion of the service," a company news release noted.
Videophone adoption is increasing along with the expansion and lowered costs of broadband. With the technology, it is possible to have face-to-face interactions that make communications for the deaf and hard-of-hearing consumer possible.
"Due to the widespread availability and affordability of broadband, more and more deaf or hard-of-hearing consumers have a videophone," said Boudrow. "In addition to the advantages that face-to-face interaction provides, initial results show that customer support in ASL via videophone has increased sales by twofold."
The new option will also further support Verizon's Center for Customers with Disabilities, which provides customer support to people who are deaf or hard of hearing, blind, or have mobility, speech or cognitive disabilities. 

In support of improved customer experiences, Verizon also offers customers a number of options for communicating with the company in their native languages including, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Korean, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.

Claude Stout, executive director of Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Inc. (TDI), a national consumer advocacy organization based in Silver Spring, Md., commented, "TDI congratulates Verizon for providing one more way for its customers who use sign language to contact a company service  representative  by videophone.  Verizon continues to make the extra effort to stay competitive with its services, which need to be not only accessible to customers who are deaf or hard of hearing, but which also leverage today's digital technologies."
Stefania Viscusi is an established writer and avid reader. To see more of her articles, please visit Stefania Viscusi’s columnist page.