Do your employees have Just A Minute for people with learning difficulties and communication barriers?
Social enterprise NOW Group have created an initiative called the JAM Card which allows people with learning difficulties and communication barriers to ask for an extra minute of patience when in customer service situations. The organisation is now launching a training platform for businesses – including an online course - which will allow them to ensure their staff are equipped to provide an excellent service to JAM Card users. Watch this short video to find out more.
The JAM Card, which stands for Just A Minute, is a social innovation from NOW Group an organisation that supports people with learning difficulties and autism into employment. It was their service users who said they would like a discreet way of telling people that sometimes they need a little extra time and patience. The JAM Card was created first as a credit card sized card and has recently been developed into an app for smartphones which received a Highly Commended award in the Innovation in Digital category at the DANI Awards this year.
JAM Card Friendly Organisations
The team behind the JAM Card are launching a package to businesses that will allow them to become JAM Card Friendly. There is the option of an online training course for staff which covers JAM Card awareness or a half day face to face training session with one of NOW’s experienced staff. Organisations who undertake the training will be provided with marketing materials to allow them to alert their customers that they welcome JAM Card holders, including a window sticker and logos that can be used online and on relevant documents such as headed paper.
The training has been tested by partner organisations during a development phase including Belfast City Council. John Walsh, City Solicitor at Belfast City Council comments, “Belfast City Council is delighted to be a JAM Card Friendly Organisation as we are committed to improving our customer service to everyone. When NOW Group approached us we could immediately see the benefits for those who use our service. We believe that the training platform is a valuable resource which has been tested by some of our staff and I look forward to rolling it out across the council.”
Increasing confidence and independence
The JAM Card app says ‘Just a minute’ on one side and ‘Please be patient I have a learning difficulty’ on the other, while the app allows users to choose what their screen says from a list including autism, a brain injury or simply ‘I have a condition’. One of the features of the app is that users can log where they have used it and give the business a rating so that users can see places that others have had a good experience and then make an informed choice about which business to visit. The app was launched to the public in January of this year and has been well received by service users with many commenting that it has given them the confidence to do things they previously wouldn’t have been comfortable with.
Head of Business Development at NOW Group Diane Hill comments, “The JAM Card was initially launched in 2012 and there are over 8000 people using it now. Feedback from users has been great, however many commented that they would like to know that businesses are aware of the JAM Card before they show it. We hope that the launch of the JAM Card Friendly business package will mean that businesses will proudly display that they welcome JAM Card holders and ensure that their staff are providing excellent customer service to all.”
Corporate Social Responsibility Opportunity
There has been considerable support from businesses since the JAM Card was launched with many welcoming the opportunity to improve their level of customer service and prove their commitment to being a responsible business.
Pricing starts at just £99 for a small business. This allows the organisation access to the online training course for 10 people, ‘We welcome JAM Card holders’ window stickers and marketing material. To find out more and register today visit www.jamcard.org.
JAM Card user Conor McCallan, 28 from North Belfast, is pictured with John Walsh, City Solicitor at Belfast City Council and Diane Hill, Head of Business Development at NOW Group at Belfast Zoo launching the JAM Card training for organisations.