North Carolina residents who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind utilize relay services (whether teletypewriter (TTY), internet-based, or video) to communicate over the phone. Relay services, mandated by the American With Disabilities Act, Title IV and provided at no cost to callers, allow Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind individuals to have conversations over the phone via a trained operator and/or assistive devices. For more information about Relay Services, go to www.fcc.gov.
Unfortunately, many businesses hang up on relay calls, mistakenly thinking they are scam or marketing calls. Relay calls are from customers wanting to utilize services or products from your business, and it’s important to be aware of relay calls and the potential of lost sales or business being lost via hang-ups. If you think this doesn’t directly affect your business, consider the following.
As of 2015, approximately, 1.2 million North Carolina adults, ages 18 and over, have hearing loss — 16% of the state’s population. This number is projected to increase by 33 percent by year 2030 — which translates to thousands, if not millions, of dollars in sales for businesses in North Carolina. That’s why we established the Relay-Friendly Business program.
Our mission for the Relay-Friendly Business (RFB) program for businesses, companies, and organizations is to learn about different type of relay services and products for deaf or hard of hearing people and people with speech disabilities.