Having recently achieved JAM Card (Just A Minute) accreditation, NIE Networks has taken its commitment to vulnerable customers one step further by becoming the first utilities provider in Northern Ireland to sponsor the production of 1,000 new JAM Cards.
The JAM Card scheme, run by local social enterprise NOW Group, helps improve interaction with individuals that have learning difficulties, autism or other barriers to communication.
NIE Networks has seen 91% of its employees to date complete the bespoke training programme enabling the organisation to achieve JAM Card accreditation.
JAM Card users, who may require more time and patience, can present their plastic card or digital app to communicate discreetly with others, letting them know that they need ‘Just A Minute’.
NIE Networks Customer Relations Manager, Natasha Nicholl, explained how the training will further enhance the standard of customer service that the organisation’s front-line staff will deliver on a daily basis, which includes customer relations advisers, meter readers, surveyors and way-leave officers.
“Customers are at the forefront of our business and so we are fully committed to ensuring that every customer, regardless of their individual needs, feels at ease throughout any interactions with NIE Networks staff,” she said.
“The JAM Card initiative is a fantastic step towards making our society more inclusive and we wanted to maximise our participation in the initiative. That’s why we’ve taken the unique step to strengthen our support through the sponsorship of JAM Cards for distribution by NOW Group.
She added: “The training has helped to ensure that our staff are empowered to provide the highest standard of customer care to any customer who requires understanding and additional support.”
With over 24,000 people now using the JAM Card, Leeann Kelly, Business Development Manager at NOW Group explained the importance of the scheme and the impact it has on its users.
She commented: “We are delighted to welcome NIE Networks to the ever-growing JAM Card family and their additional commitment to provide cards for us to distribute to even more service users is an incredibly positive step.
“Our training is about equipping staff with the tools they need to deal confidently with all customers and reassure JAM Card users that participating companies will respond positively and appropriately when they see the card.”
NIE Networks also plans to invest further in the partnership over the coming year by implementing the ‘Train the Trainer’ programme, enabling NIE Networks staff to deliver JAM Card training to others.