Today, Santander UK, in partnership with SignVideo, has launched a Video Relay Service, for the British Sign Language (BSL) community.
The service is available for all account servicing, supporting customers with many of their day to day banking queries and transactions. The service enables deaf BSL customers to place video calls to Santander via a free and secure video link on its website. The video call instantly connects to a BSL interpreter at SignVideo, who then phones the Santander contact centre relaying the conversation in real time. It’s estimated that with Santander having around 35,000 active customers who use BSL to communicate, this service will go some way to help create barrier free access to its products and services. As BSL is its own language, with its own grammar and punctuation, it’s important we allow this community to communicate in a way that is simple and easy. With so many people in the UK classing BSL as their first language over English, it’s essential to offer an equal and parallel service to everyone.
Sue Willis, Managing Director of Customer Experience: “We are delighted to announce our partnership with SignVideo and the improved service to our British Sign Language customers. This will enable BSL users to contact Santander and talk to us about their banking needs in their first language and without the need to plan ahead. Our work in providing equal service to all our customers is continuing, and working with SignVideo is a big step forward in helping us achieve this.”
Jeff McWhinney, Chairman and Founder of SignVideo says: “We are extremely proud that Santander have chosen us to deliver equality for their deaf BSL customers. The fact that BSL is not based on English and is a language in its own right is often misunderstood. Banks use emails and web chat for customer services and this is actually creating a barrier for us deaf BSL users and as a result, we struggle to gain easy access to help when we need it. We have seen a turnaround in the banking industry recently with major banks starting to use our services and recognise the needs of their BSL customers and we are very happy to see Santander as one of the pioneers. We would like to invite other UK banks and indeed, any UK service provider, to get in touch with us and see how they can follow Santander’s lead”.