There are things you can do to make it easier for people who are d/Deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech communication difficulty to contact your organisation. You can:
- Accept calls from the National Relay Service (NRS) and from Video Remote Interpreter Services
- Provide training for staff on how to accept calls via NRS and Video Remote Interpreter Services
- Offer alternative contact methods in place of telephone calls (such as SMS, email or live chat)
- Allow personal choice of communication preference (e.g. the ability to receive texts only
- Offer video calls so users can read lips or use video captions.
Receiving a call through the National Relay Service
If you work in a call centre or as a receptionist, you may occasionally receive calls from your customers through the NRS.
People use the NRS when they need to talk to a hearing person who is using a phone. This includes contacting organisations like yours to do business over the phone.
How do relay calls work?
The NRS has specially trained staff called relay officers who act as a ‘relay’ or a bridge between people who are d/Deaf hard of hearing or have speech communication difficulty, and the person or organisation they are calling.
The relay officer is the central link in any relay call, relaying what is said by each party. The relay officer stays on the line throughout each call, but doesn’t interfere with what is being said.
What do I do when I receive an NRS call?
The first time you receive a relay call, it might seem a bit strange to have your conversation ‘relayed’. As the call progresses, you’ll quickly get used to it.
When you get a call via the NRS, the Relay Officer will generally introduce himself/herself and explain that it’s an NRS relay call. Relay Officers identify themselves by a unique name, e.g. RO Kathy.
Things to remember about NRS calls
- The Relay Officer relays your questions to the caller and relays the caller’s responses back to you
- All relay calls are strictly confidential
- If you’re required to authenticate the call, simply ask the same questions that you would of any caller.
Tips for managing an NRS call
- Be patient – a relay call may take longer than a normal phone call
- It’s a good idea to say ‘Go ahead’ each time you finish your turn speaking
- Speak slowly and clearly
- Speak directly to the NRS user – use ‘I’ and ‘you’
- Cover one topic at a time and wait for your caller to respond.
Learn more about the National Relay Service.