The Launch of Sign Assist

Our business has a clear vision to change the world for deaf people and we have a tangible goal:

By 2025, we will have positively impacted 1 million deaf peoples lives.

The way we do this is engaging with businesses who are equally as passionate about people
– whether as customers or employees.

In the middle of 2020, we started working with Ron Moody, CEO of Connect Assist, and a 24/7 specialist outsourced Contact Centre business. They take a uniquely human approach and have become the market leader in delivering positive customer outcomes for the public sector, charity and socially-focussed organisations.

I met Ron at a business accelerator aimed at working with high-growth businesses, supporting entrepreneurs to scale their businesses to the next level.

When we met, he shared with me the awareness he had of the challenges that deaf people face when trying to engage with organisations and how he could see Connect Assist using their expertise to bridge the gap and enable deaf people to join the conversation.

I am a strong believer in fate – and that things in life happen when they are meant to. And that has played out in this meeting of minds.

“Connect Assist’s mission has always been about helping people. With Sign Assist, we want to be able to support the Deaf community by giving them the help and support they need by communicating with them in the right way.”
Ron Moody
CEO Connect Assist

Ron had the desire to take action, and we have the expertise to support Connect Assist with everything from the service design process, sales, marketing, internal processes, environmental considerations, recruitment of the team and onboarding and delivery.

Every stage of the process to establish the new service line, now known as Sign Assist.

It has been clear to me throughout this entire process that the whole team at Connect Assist are genuinely passionate about empowering deaf people to access organisations that are currently no going through services.

Rates of mental health in the deaf community are at around 50% compared to 25% among hearing people.  Many of these issues stem from the lack of communication.  The lack of being able to contact an organisation to seek early support and intervention.

Sign Assist is there to serve the 150,000 deaf people in the UK who use British Sign Language (BSL) as their first or preferred language.

So, we started off by embedding knowledge internally about the deaf community, deaf culture, how deaf people communicate, and the barriers to everyday life that are faced.  This was a vital stage in the process, as this was the foundation on which the whole service was built around.

From there, terptree worked with Connect Assist to ensure that the business was ready to employ a deaf team.  Creating accessible processes, considering how the existing hearing team would embrace the new deaf team and work inclusively.  And creating a physical working environment that suits the needs of the team and the service.

The next step was focused on recruiting the right team.  A bi-lingual Team Leader and a team of Deaf Customer Service Advisors to deliver the service.  There were several considerations throughout this process, such as the Advisors having high levels of proficiency in BSL.  This is vital, as they will be taking calls from all around the country, where there will be a use of regional signs, and the service will also be used by deaf people who use a different signed language.  Sign Languages are different across the globe, so the team need the ability to communicate with deaf people for whom BSL is their second signed language.

Going back to what I said at the absolute start.  We are here to change the world for deaf people, and Sign Assist is a truly ground-breaking service that absolutely has the potential to do just that.

Deaf people access services in their first language through a native BSL user.  Being able to have empathetic interactions with someone who has a shared life experience and a deep understanding of what it is to be deaf.

Working with Connect Assist on the building of Sign Assist has been extremely satisfying.  To know that the world is moving forward and finally, deaf people will have the opportunity to access services in the same way as hearing people can.  That is true inclusion.

To find out more about Sign Assist:

Any questions - as always we are here to help!

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