To give its deaf customers a better experience in store, Sainsbury’s has created a short film for its colleagues on how to communicate with deaf customers, particularly those who use British Sign Language (BSL).
The innovative film was created as part of Sainsbury’s non-visible disabilities awareness week, after colleagues expressed a lack of confidence at communicating with customers who are deaf sign language users.
Watch it below:
Sainsbury’s held workshops with its colleagues who are deaf sign language users to develop the film. The workshops helped provide insights on colleagues’ own experiences of shopping and which signs would be most useful to teach the retailer’s 161,000 colleagues who would watch the video.
In a first for UK food retailers, Sainsbury’s is making the internal film public to help more people feel comfortable communicating with the one in six people in the UK who have some form of deafness.
Tim Fallowfield, Company Secretary and Corporate Services Director and Board Champion for Disability and Carers at Sainsbury’s said: “Our vision is to be the most inclusive retailer where people love to work and shop. We are committed to investing in disability awareness training and this film is just one way that we are providing additional help to our customers with disabilities.”
Sainsbury’s has received endorsement for the film from the Royal Association for Deaf People. Dr. Jan Sheldon, Chief Executive at the charity, said: “Communication between Deaf and hearing people can be difficult for both parties, but it can be made easier through awareness and education. The Royal Association for Deaf People support mainstream services to become more accessible to Deaf people. We’re delighted to see how committed Sainsbury’s are to providing accessible services to Deaf people.”
Tracey Kennard, a colleague at Sainsbury’s Dartford store who was in the film said: “As a child growing up with a deaf parent, I know how difficult it can be for a deaf and hearing person to communicate directly. Since watching the film, I have noticed a real change in my colleagues. They have gone from being nervous and handing over to me when a deaf customer needs assistance, to having the confidence to have a go – and once they’ve started, they often find they can help the customer without my involvement. All it takes is a simple signed ‘Hello’ for a deaf customer to feel valued, and a colleague to feel more comfortable in continuing the conversation using gestures or written words to make sure we’re delivering great service for our customers.
The film, titled ‘”Life Doesn’t Come With Subtitles”: Tips for Communicating with Deaf Customers’ recently won gold at the EVCOM Clarion Awards, the leading awards for recognising best practice in communicating the importance of CSR, diversity and other issues through live and visual communications.
Over the past year, Sainsbury’s has invested over 50,000 hours on in training store colleagues how to help customers with visible disabilities and non-visible disabilities. In 2015, Sainsbury’s became the first food retailer in the UK to bring SignVideo to its customer service centres – revolutionising the way our deaf customers can communicate with our call centres.
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne. Find out how to write for us by clicking here, how to follow us by clicking here, and read our disclaimer here.
The site exists thanks to our supporters. Check them out below:
- Eyewitness Media: TV and film from a Deaf perspective
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. Find out about the Deaf fashion bloggers taking on the world!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Signature: Leading awarding body for BSL qualifications
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- Signworld: Learn BSL online!
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- Association of Notetaking Professionals: The professional body representing Electronic and Manual Notetakers
- Sign Solutions: communication support, training and translation
- InterpretersLive: On demand BSL video interpretation
- Cast Theatre, Doncaster: The UK's the UK’s first fully BSL integrated pantomime
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- deafPLUS: BSL advice helpline
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Captioned and BSL interpreted performances (see dates here)
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Deaf Independent: Deaf care and support services
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people