You may know Be My Eyes as the largest online blind community with one of the strongest volunteer networks in the world. But did you know that companies and organizations can also utilize the platform to offer an accessible support channel for customers who are visually impaired? This is what we call Specialized Help.
What started off as a purely volunteer-based platform in 2015 expanded to include the Specialized Help feature in 2018. Even though Be My Eyes volunteers succeeded at giving people who are blind or low-vision access to a network of visual assistance with a wide range of tasks, some tasks were just too difficult for volunteers to handle. That’s where Specialized Help came in: to give users the benefit of being connected to an expert pair of eyes. And who better to guide with a company’s products or services than their own customer support experts?
The business case for accessibility
But why should your organization focus on creating accessible solutions for what you may consider a "niche" group of customers? The answer is quite simple: it’s not only good for your customers who benefit from these solutions, it’s also good for business. More than half of the global population is impacted by disability — either personally or by someone close to them — which makes the disability market estimated at around $13 trillion annually. That is larger than the entire Chinese economy, and what business would look past a market the size of China’s?
There is a clear economic argument supporting accessibility that many organizations still overlook. However, the benefits can’t all be quantified with facts and figures. The different benefits for your organization can be summarized as:
- Improving Productivity. Accessible technology helps to optimize performance for everyone, not just users with a disability.
- Profit Generation. It makes good business sense to create universally designed products and services that benefit all types of users.
- Mitigating Legal Risk. Offering accessible technology and services helps your organization comply with laws and regulations.
- Saving On Future Costs. Adding accessibility features into the early stages of development means you won’t have to retrofit your services later.
- Meeting Customer Expectations. Increased awareness of accessibility and the rights of those who need it means that more customers come to expect such features.
- Improving Brand Image. The consumers of today choose to support organizations that support their own values.
More and more organizations are starting to realize that prioritizing inclusion and accessibility is not just the right thing to do — it’s also good for business.
How does Be My Eyes work?
Be My Eyes is a free smartphone app that allows users who are blind or have low vision to connect to a network of sighted volunteers and partner companies for visual assistance. The call consists of a one-way video and a two-way audio connection that allows the volunteer or support agent to see what the caller points their camera at to solve the task at hand together.
By offering customer support through Be My Eyes Specialized Help, you allow your customer support agents to have access to the visual aspect of the support that customers who are visually impaired often have trouble describing in order to solve their issue. This means that your support agents are able to handle support calls from customers who are blind and low-vision much more efficiently, while your organization gains valuable insights on how products and services can be improved from an accessibility standpoint.
The Specialized Help solution is, of course, tailored to fit into your organization. Whether you’re a small business or a global corporation, it is completely customizable to fit the needs of your organization. With both the classic smartphone app as well as a web app for both agents and managers, it’s easy for support agents to answer calls and for managers to keep track of the figures and numbers. Everything from your company profile in the app to your opening hours, geographical availability, and supported languages can be customized by your organization. This means that your organization can be available to our community of almost 300,000 blind and low-vision users who already have the Be My Eyes app installed on their devices — or just in the geographical areas and languages that you decide. On top of that, the lines can be open at any time of the day that your support staff is available. In other words, with Be My Eyes Specialized Help, you can decide how exactly to support the blind community.
As a Be My Eyes Specialized Help partner, you will be in extraordinarily good company. Specialized Help partners already include companies such as Microsoft, Google, Procter & Gamble, Verizon, Clearblue, and countless blind organizations around the world. To learn more about the Specialized Help solution please visit the Specialized Help page or email firstname.lastname@example.org to hear more about how Be My Eyes can support your organization in supporting the blind community.
Be My Eyes
Our mission is to enable blind and low-vision individuals to lead more independent lives by giving them access to a global network of sighted volunteers and partner companies for live visual assistance.