A Roadmap to Business Success: Communication Access

A Deaf customer using Convo Now at a retail store

Businesses today recognize the need to make their spaces welcoming for all customers, no matter their abilities. Retailers build ramps and wider aisles to allow customers using wheelchairs to move around easily. Online, companies focus on making websites easy to use for people with disabilities. Yet, there’s another crucial aspect of accessibility that often gets forgotten: communication access for Deaf and hard of hearing people.

Deaf people as a group are often an afterthought when it comes to accessibility, especially in retail spaces. But there is significant business value in providing access to communication for all customers. When businesses prioritize communication access, they not only ensure inclusivity but also open doors to increased sales, stronger customer connections, and enhanced loyalty.

Text: 75% of untapped business.

While a financial commitment is involved in ensuring full communication accessibility, the potential return on investment (ROI) is substantial. Research consistently demonstrates that 75% of untapped business is at risk due to poor accessibility.

Case Study: A Retail Bookstore in Washington, D.C.

We conducted a 30-day trial of our service, Convo Now, which offers on-demand sign language interpreters, at a retail bookstore located in Washington, D.C. The bookstore graciously permitted us to use their location to test our QR code web app for the duration of the trial period.

After the trial was over, we gathered stories from both the bookstore employees and Deaf customers. 

This is one of the stories:

At the store's counter, a Deaf woman asked for book suggestions by typing on her phone. The employee showed her a QR code for Convo Now, allowing her to connect with a sign language interpreter. The Deaf woman was impressed and excited to try this new service. They found they both liked horror and sapphic fiction, sparking a lively ten-minute discussion. The employee gave her many recommendations, and the customer bought eight recommended books, and eagerly began reading them in the bookstore’s cafe.

Several weeks later, the woman returned, recognized the staff member, and asked for Convo Now so they could discuss the books she’d read and new recommendations. Unfortunately, Convo Now wasn't available due to the trial ending. They ended up typing on their phones. Without Convo Now, the conversation was shorter and slower, and the staff member struggled to express all the details about characters, writing, and tone that she easily spoke while using Convo Now. Despite their shared interest, the interaction felt stunted.

it’s not just about accessibility—it’s good business. By investing in communication access, businesses can boost sales, foster meaningful connections, and encourage customers to return.

A Deaf Customer’s Experience

But let’s not just take our word for it. Here’s a powerful testimonial from Melissa, a Deaf Convo Now user, sharing her firsthand experience at a candle shop in Austin, Texas.

Melissa’s story vividly illustrates the impact of communication access in retail spaces. Her ability to engage seamlessly with a staff member through Convo Now fostered a genuine connection.

By prioritizing communication access, businesses can build meaningful relationships with their Deaf and hard of hearing customers, laying the foundation for customer loyalty and ensuring repeated visits.

Convo Now: The Great ‘Equalizer’

Communication access is the next frontier in the path towards full accessibility. Just as businesses do not measure the worth of physical and digital access modifications by the number of users who might need them in a given month, communication access should not be viewed as a temporary fix—it is a permanent commitment to inclusivity.

GIF of a customer using Convo Now in two different business settings.

Convo Now is a solution designed to ensure that staff members can communicate effectively in real-time with their Deaf and hard of hearing customers, removing barriers to full participation in the retail experience. Writing on a piece of paper is not effective communication as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). By integrating Convo Now, businesses signal that they value every customer’s right to communicate as freely and easily as anyone else.

Ready to take your retail space to the next level?

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