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On a drive of any sort, whether it be long or short – a coffee is definitely the way to go. I make one to take with me before I travel, and if I have over one hour in the car, I will generally stop and get another coffee on the way.

Stopping at the services usually prolongs the journey, but today I was delighted to see that Warwick Services had opened its drive thru Starbucks; enabling me to grab a coffee on the way through to my busy day in Birmingham.

So I drove around to the drive thru and patiently waited my turn. I know that my deaf friends have always found using drive thru’s entirely impossible due to the fact that you need to speak into the microphone and then get a response from the person serving of which cannot be accessed. Frustrating having to go into the store when there is a quicker alternative there.

Today, I experience first hand how technology is starting to pave the way forward in terms of customer experience as a whole and having a positive impact on deaf people’s access to communication.  

On driving through to the speaking pillar – I was welcomed by not only a voice but a face, which was a bit of a shock – being used to simply giving my response verbally. Yes there was video on the server, which I thought was Ingenious – using technology to speed up a process, but at the same time maintaining the human interaction – attaining exactly the right balance for the customer.Now I cannot say that this screen was entirely accessible to a deaf person, as the picture was still very pixelated, but I have no doubt that we have a time coming whereby we have a visual as well as having live subtitles. Yes, these days are coming.

My key takeaway was that Starbucks are looking at different ways of using technology to improve their customer experience and I wanted to ask what are you doing to improve yours?

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