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Computer for a Customer Service Representative at FedEx

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Situation

When package-shipping giant Federal Express opened its Atlanta call center several years ago, the manager indicated a willingness to take a 'risk' and hire a blind person as a customer service representative. The Division of Rehabilitation Services selected 'Scott' to test the 'technological waters'.


Accommodation

Scott had received training on using the old DOS-based JAWS Screenreading Program. This allowed him to have access to text information on the computer screen. At Federal Express, customer service representatives take a large number of calls from customers either desiring to ship a package, or needing to have a package shipment traced. Multiple screens are involved, and this required the construction of keyboard macros and screen frames to speed up the access to screen information for Scott. A dual telephone headset was selected to enable him to hear the customer in one ear, and the talking computer in the other, thereby not interfering with sighted co-workers seated nearby.

Scott's success on the job opened the door for other blind individuals and those who were visually impaired but who had some usable vision. These people received the ZoomText Screen Magnification Program to give them enlarged screen characters.

Ultimately, Scott was promoted to a position within Federal Express, where he today coordinates the technological needs of all the blind and visually impaired service representatives, nationwide. While DRS assisted in the initial provision of the adaptive hardware and software, Federal Express has since assumed responsibility for all modifications, upgrades, and support.


Acknowledgements

Jack Gilson, Assistive Work Technology Supervisor

Georgia Division of Rehabilitation Services

From the Tech Connections audio conference:

Exploring the Potential of Employees with Visual Impairments


[1] http://www.workrerc.gatech.edu