Citroen UK has introduced a sign language video service across its sales and aftersales network, to support deaf and hard of hearing customers.
It claims to be the first car maker claims to offer the service across all its retail sites in the UK.
Citroen has partnered with SignLive to offer its video relay service, which enables customers to communicate with the brand using British Sign Language (BSL).
Eurig Druce, managing director of Citroen UK, said: “At Citroen we are inspired by our customers, and this philosophy is at the root of our 'The French Car that Speaks your Language' campaign. We understand the needs of our customers and work to exceed those expectations through our products and services.
“By partnering with SignLive, we once again demonstrate how our customers inspire our thoughts and actions as we improve the way we serve deaf and hard of hearing people.
“The nationwide adoption of SignLive across Citroen UK's retailers will transform the car buying process for thousands of motorists, ensuring that it's not only our products that deliver comfort and serenity for all – the customer experience does as well.”
BSL is used by 150,000 people in the UK and it’s estimated that there are more than 11 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK.
SignLive is an online interpreting service that allows deaf and hard of hearing people to connect with others through a phone or tablet for support via a live interpreter. The service can be accessed through a web browser or a dedicated app service. There are two main functions of SignLive: Video Relay Service (VRS) or Video Remote Interpreting (VRI).
Through VRS, users can press the ‘call’ button on the SignLive app to connect with an interpreter who appears on screen to help relay conversations between the customer and Citroen.
VRI works by using tablets inside retailer premises, which staff can use to call an interpreter who can then communicate with the customer, or leave them a BSL voicemail. Users typically wait 5-20 seconds to be connected to an interpreter.
To optimise access across Citroen UK's retailer network, all employees have received training to ensure they can operate SignLive's services with ease.
Joel Kellhofer, CEO of SignLive, added: “The process of purchasing a car has, up until now, been inaccessible for the deaf community, with retail experiences on the whole a regular challenge for deaf and hard of hearing people.
“It is great to see a leading retailer like Citroen make a positive change to provide British Sign Language users with access to interpreters for support on their car-buying journey, totally free of charge. We’re delighted to support Citroen and all of its dealerships throughout the UK in making this massive change.”