July 15, 2013

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LA Store Employees Learn to Communicate with Deaf Customers

When you visit the newest Time Warner Cable Experience Store on Eagle Rock Blvd in Los Angeles, you may notice some of our employees communicating with certain customers through basic sign language and common gestures.

This is because Eagle Rock employees recently participated in training for effectively communicating with deaf and hard of hearing individuals, led by the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, Inc. or GLAD for short.

The idea to hold the training stemmed from a conversation with representatives from GLAD, who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony when TWC opened the new Experience Store on June 7, said Romona Henderson, Director of Business Operations for Time Warner Cable Retail Stores.

GLAD’s local facilities are just a few blocks away, and their representatives mentioned that many of their hearing-impaired residents and clients are Time Warner Cable customers. “After hearing this, we asked how we could help to better accommodate these customers and from there the idea of holding a training session for our retail store employees came about,” Henderson said.

The one-hour training session was held on June 18. During the session, GLAD trainers explained the various ways that the deaf may choose to communicate and tips on making communications between both employee & customer easier.

Employees also learned some basic sign language, including the American Manual Alphabet, common gestures and a great appreciation for just how difficult it is to read lips.

The training paid off almost immediately. Barely 30 minutes after the class ended, a deaf customer came to the front counter and one of our newly trained employees was able to use her new signing and gesturing skills to assist him.

We’re now working with GLAD to train employees in other Southern California stores in the near future.

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