One in Seven of Your Customers Can’t Speak to You and You Can’t Speak to Them


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- Video IVR on a 3G phone liberates consumers not confident with speech-based systems or unable to speak; an audience conservatively estimated at 9 Million in the UK-

Belfast & London – September 16th, 2009 – SpeechStorm, (, the specialist provider of phone self-service solutions, has today revealed that close to 9 million consumers categorised as deaf and hard of hearing are being alienated through the growing use of telephone-centric customer care services. Despite the growth of the Internet, over 75% of interactions between organisations and their customers are over the telephone. While this works well enough for many customers, despite often long wait times, for a large segment of customers, estimated at close to 9 million people, this is simply isn’t a viable option.

As retailers, banks, utilities and telcos increase their reliance on voice-based contact centre services that enable customers to pay bills, check account balances, find nearest stores or check delivery times etc; they are in fact disenfranchising a large proportion of consumers who either can’t hear or have partial hearing or whose hearing/speech impairment disables them from being confident enough to engage in a conversation with a person or machine.

Middle East based mobile operator, Etisalat has broken the mould and is first to offer video calling-based customer care services to its 8.5 million Egyptian customers. This service enables Etisalat’s deaf and hard of hearing customers to use the same service as the rest of its customers as it uses video and not voice to communicate the range of services.

Lynne Ellis of the British Deaf Association recently organised a demonstration of SpeechStorm’s Video IVR for three of her deaf colleagues using an interpreter to communicate their feedback. “My deaf colleagues were very positive about the benefits that Video IVR on a mobile phone would give them. They found the system very intuitive and could see all of the options on the display of the phone. The speed with which they would be able to check balances, make enquiries, confirm details without the need for an interpreter, which is an expensive resource, was very appealing.”

Lynne continues “Video IVR gives deaf and hard of hearing people access to services that were hitherto unavailable and this situation is set to get worse as more and more companies use phone self-service solutions to communicate with their customers. We hit these service barriers daily. Recently a deaf colleague using an interpreter contacted their utility company to change some account details but the utility provider insisted on speaking to the account holder. So even with an interpreter it was impossible to conduct the transaction. My colleague was advised to ‘write to us’ instead. We would readily support the use of Video IVR to redress these problems and we look forward to other telcos, utilities and banks offering self service this way.”

Damian Kelly is SpeechStorm’s director for Video IVR and comments, “We are hugely encouraged by the success of Etisalat and the feedback from both the British Deaf Association. “The difficulty of accessing ordinary, everyday services is clearly a big issue for a very large number of customers and we’re delighted that Video IVR addresses this so well. We will certainly be discussing this with all of our banking, telecoms, retail and utility customers, for whom it offers the potential both to improve and to truly differentiate their customer care.”

To find out more about SpeechStorm’s Video IVR applications please visit or see Notes to Editors attached, What is Video IVR?

About SpeechStorm
SpeechStorm specialises in self-service solutions that manage customer interactions over the phone.

The SpeechStorm portfolio provides a combination of best-fit solutions that give customers the service they want; whether touchtone, SMS, Video or Voice. SpeechStorm transforms the simple phone into a rich interactive tool for accessing content, finding information and interacting with an organisation to fulfil customer requests and optimise customer care goals.

Organisations including Comet, CPP, Dixons Stores Group International (DSGI), SITA Suez, eircom, Meteor and Northern Ireland Electricity rely on SpeechStorm solutions to underpin their business performance and improve the overall customer experience.

Backed by a professional services capability of more than 250 consultants, SpeechStorm is part of Kainos, a leading IT consulting and Systems Integrator. For over 20 years Kainos has been deploying critical customer interaction solutions giving SpeechStorm distinctive edge over most phone self-service specialists. SpeechStorm has offices in the UK and Ireland.

For more information please visit the corporate website on .

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