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Virgin’s signing video relay service gives deaf customers a helping hand

Virgin Media’s deaf customers can now contact customer service via a sign language interpreter using an online video relay.

The free Video Relay Service (VRS for short) follows Virgin’s existing Text Relay service, and can be accessed with no more than a broadband connection and a webcam.

Users download the VRS plugin on the Virgin Media website and it connects them to a fully-qualified sign language interpreter who translates for a customer service representative in real time.

Virgin’s signing video relay service gives deaf customers a helping hand
Virgin’s Video Relay Service is a sign of things to come for accessible services

“We’re committed to making all our products and services accessible to all of our customers, whatever their needs,” said Paul Buttery, Virgin Media’s technology and networks officer.

“Our new Video Relay Service is simple and easy to use and, with comprehensive deaf awareness training for our customer teams, we’re excited to start taking our new video relay calls.”

The service is available throughout the working week (9am-5pm, Monday to Friday), and outside these times customers can request a return video call.

Communications minister Ed Vaizey said: “I have been pressing companies to consider VRS as part of their contact strategies for their customers and I congratulate Virgin for providing VRS. I hope other firms follow their lead.”

The service is provided by Sign Solutions, which has been providing British Sign Language/English interpretation for 15 years.

Sign Solutions CEO Sean Nicholson said: “Virgin Media is using technology to become more inclusive, helping customers lead an independent digital life. This is an important step forward and will transform the customer experience for many people.”

Virgin Media introduced the Video Relay Service after taking a ‘comprehensive review’ of its products and services. The Text Relay Service is used by more than 8,000 people a month.

Image: Portland Mike/Flickr



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