Next Generation Text, also known as NGT, is a relay service that helps people with hearing and speech difficulties communicate with anyone over the phone.
It’s the UK’s national text relay service and was established back in 1991 where it was known as TypeTalk. It was then relaunched in 2014 by BT and called Next Generation Text Service. BT still runs this for the whole population and UK landline and mobile phone providers.
The deaf person types a message which is then relayed through an operator, via voice, to the hearing person on the other line, at the call centre.
This means that deaf people can use NGT to access all services such as large businesses who have call centres, hotels, GP’s or even members of their family.
To make a call using NGT, all the deaf person needs to do is dial 18001 followed by the number of the person that they want to call. This will automatically connect the relay service and the operator will explain they’re a relay service and how it works.
As you can imagine, back in 1991 this service was revolutionary and enabled deaf people to access the telephone for the first time.
There is no doubt NGT is a real lifeline for the deaf community, and you may believe that as a business this solves many problems as it offers deaf customers a way of contacting your call centres without any barriers.
But that’s something I would like to challenge. Just imagine this…
You are looking to renew your car insurance. You’ve followed the usual procedure of looking at the price comparison websites online and you’ve found a deal that you’re pleased with. You’re confident that you have entered all of the details correctly; but are very aware that if you accept the quotes and go through the process online your insurance would no longer be valid if some of the details are incorrect.
You therefore decide to make a call to the insurance provider and check all the details are correct. No problem, you have access to NGT which means you can connect to the call centre and quickly review all of the details with them.
Things are going swimmingly, all the details you have entered online are correct and you are ready to go ahead with your insurance quote – until you have to go through the mandatory part of the call! Which is agreeing to the terms and conditions of the insurance product and the business.
You hadn’t prepared yourself for this and waiting for the operator to relay all the information from voice to typed text means you are on that call for a total of 1 ½ hours!
NGT provides a useful relay service when you simply need to make a quick telephone call or check out some basic information. But when you need to take out insurance or call your bank, there is also a range of other alternative contact options that may suit that task better.
There are of course many other communication options that businesses can use to fall within the guidance that companies need to abide by, but without compromising that high-quality level of customer service at the same time.
The key is to understand your customers’ needs and the purpose of the call – and then find solutions that fit within that requirement.