People with Disabilities Are Adding Value to Contact Centers
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Over 50 million Americans identify as visually or hearing impaired. That’s more than the populations of our two largest states — Texas and California — combined. But differently-abled Americans are disproportionately impacted by unemployment despite being a large talent pool. Because of the technology available today, many people with disabilities are going to work in contact centers. Because of the flexibility of the positions, many of these people have the option to work from home or onsite.
Advancements in technology such as HCI® and other types of workplace modifications have made it possible for differently-abled, yet no less talented, people to join the workforce and provide amazing customer service. According to the US Census Bureau, people with disabilities comprise America’s largest minority group. These positions offer a critical opportunity to the differently-abled community.
A Once Overlooked Talent Pool
Despite the popular idea that diversity in the workplace is a positive force that boosts a business’s competitive edge, there’s one segment of the population that hasn’t been fully brought into the fold. Americans with disabilities are impacted by unemployment at far higher rates than the mainstream population. n fact, The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the unemployment rate for people with disabilities in 2018 was 8%—nearly twice as high as the rest of the population. One of the reasons for not actively recruiting differently-abled staff is because of the perceived cost of adapting the workplace to the employee’s particular needs.
However, for the last 10 years research has shown that the cost of potential workplace accommodations is quickly offset by the data that reveals that these employees are far more loyal and likely to stay with the company long term. For instance, the Job Accommodation Network has researched accommodation costs recommended to client organizations over the past 15 years. They have found that the majority of accommodations are free. When an accommodation costs anything, it’s typically a one-time cost under $500.
Ultimately, modifying the workplace and accommodating people with different needs goes a long way for higher output, less employee turnover, and more effective operations.
Where Call Centers Come In
Hiring people with disabilities shouldn’t be seen as charity. Studies have shown that qualified people with disabilities can be more loyal and more motivated than many of their colleagues.
From the perspective of job placement, really any organization should seek out talent within the disabled community, but call centers are unique in that they offer a win-win situation. Many call centers are already set up in a manner that makes it easier for disabled workers to step in and succeed which makes it that much easier for the business to see results. This is because call centers often utilize solutions such as Vocal Vision, software that works with screen readers to help visually impaired staff navigate a computer without reading content or the use of a mouse.
Additionally, because many call centers offer remote work capabilities employees who may have mobility issues or otherwise need to be in their home environment have the autonomy to do so. This makes the work much more accessible, making it much easier for call centers to employ the differently-abled.
LiveVox’s Contribution: HCI® & Clicker Agents
LiveVox’s human call initiator technology has actually created an entirely new job category within the call center world. Clicker agents are employed in call centers and responsible for manually queuing up and dialing phone numbers from a call list. These calls are then passed on to a closer agent who works directly with customers. This proprietary technology is among the most battle-worn TCPA-tested offerings within the industry and has created countless jobs. Often touted as one of LiveVox’s strongest compliance controls, HCI® is a perfect example of the win-win benefit available for call centers who hire people with disabilities since it’s a technology that is already being used in operations.
In addition to being an untapped talent pool, there is a significant market opportunity for companies that recruit differently-abled employees. It is a well-regarded fact that when businesses hire people with diverse perspectives they stand to see huge gains in terms of product and service development, marketing, and customer service. After all, your customers aren’t one size fits all, why should your staff be?
Currently, 1 in 5 Americans has a disability, making those with disabilities the largest minority in America with a combined annual spending power of $645 billion. But beyond purchasing power and the moral uprightness, hiring people with disabilities is a tactically savvy business choice. In fact, one study found a 14% higher retention rate among the employees hired with disabilities over the overall group in the same roles.
They also reported a 50% increase in self-disclosures and strengthened workforce diversity. Self-disclosures reflect a positive workplace culture where employees feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work, which is a sentiment anyone can get behind.
LiveVox is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace and an affirmative action employer. We are committed to equal employment opportunity regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, ability, gender identity or Veteran status. We consider qualified applicants regardless of criminal histories, consistent with legal requirements.
We believe strongly in the value of diverse perspectives and work hard to foster a culture that’s open and inclusive. If you have a special need or require additional accommodations, please let us know. We’re always looking for smart, talented people with diverse backgrounds, interests, and experiences to join our team. Visit our careers page for more information on open positions.
LiveVox is a leading provider of enterprise cloud contact center solutions, managing more than 14+ billion interactions a year across a multichannel environment. With over 15 years of pure cloud expertise, we empower contact center leaders to drive effective engagement strategies on the consumer’s channel of choice. Our leading-edge risk mitigation and security capabilities help clients quickly adapt to a changing business environment. With new features released quarterly, LiveVox remains at the forefront of cloud contact center innovation. Supported by over 450 employees and rapidly growing, we are headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Atlanta, Denver, Bangalore, and Colombia. To learn more, schedule a demo today.