Gary B. Tanner, CEONexTalk, a Utah-based company, has been in business since 1990, developing communication software for the deaf, hard of hearing, and non-English speaking community. With a background in custom electronics, Gary B. Tanner, CEO, joined the team three years ago, because he wanted to make a difference. Tanner explains, “We take for granted our ability to communicate. NexTalk doesn’t build platforms for the general populous. We are dedicated to improving the lives of those with serious communication barriers.”
The genesis of the company and the solutions they provide are targeted towards the call center environment and the applications used there. The deaf and hard of hearing community have specific challenges in regards to call centers, and the SimpliciTTY® TTY Call-Management software developed by NexTalk addresses this by enabling agents to communicate more effectively. By focusing on migrating the experience away from outdated analog TTY phones to the desktop, calls are handled within the digital realm, providing more flexibility to work with this specific demographic.
The beauty of the NexTalk system is that it is agnostic in a call center environment, but it is able to work with any equipment on the market. The deaf community uses TTY-based communication devices which speak the Baudot language. Phone systems in a call center environment do not have the ability to speak Baudot, which prevents the devices from being able to communicate.
The first issue NexTalk had to address was to make sure call centers could receive and process TTY calls in Baudot through their normal call flow. When a deaf person initiates a call, it gets routed to the server version of their software that speaks Baudot. Once it confirms that the call is coming from a TTY device, it generates a voice call on the caller’s behalf. The system then forwards that call to an agent with the skillset to receive a TTY call, which is answered using the client version of the software which is installed on the agent’s computer.
We are dedicated to improving the lives of those with serious communication barriers
Implementation of the NexTalk system can be completed in one to four days. If a client selects the purchased solution, both the server version and client version reside on premise, which can take up to four days for installation. However, with the hosted solution, the server version is hosted by NexTalk and only the client version is on premise, reducing installation to under twenty-four hours.
NexTalk’s client, Healthfirst, has a call center that deals primarily with Medicare and Medicaid customers. The government, through the 5-Star Program, provides Healthfirst with compensation for their services, based on their ratings. Since they implemented the NexTalk solution, Healthfirst’s ability to communicate with the deaf, hard of hearing, and non-English speaking customers has improved, increasing their ratings. This has resulted in almost a million dollar increase in their government rebates.
Looking toward the future, NexTalk is developing products that provide companies with greater access to communication. Tanner states, “We are looking at the channels by which communications come into call centers. We want to augment current communication models with apps, website plug-ins, and speech to text/ text to speech technology, allowing our system to integrate into the call center’s existing work flow.” NexTalk’s software is already being used by industry leaders such as Microsoft, Dell, Fidelity Investment, BlueCross/ BlueShield, Samsung, Verizon, IRS, Library of Congress, Social Security Administration, Dept. of Veterans Affairs, Bank of America, TD Bank and many others.