Maximizing talent pools

Lighthouse Works is passionate about equality in the contact center. The business solutions outsourcer employs around 500 remote and 100 onsite workers, with more than 300 of the agents having varying degrees of visual impairment. Its agent churn rate is five times lower than the industry average and last year it created one in four new jobs in the US for the blind. This success is built on an integration between the Genesys Cloud™ platform and Jobs Access with Speech (JAWS) screen reading software that creates more efficient workflows through automation.

Created 25%

of new blind jobs in the US in 2022

Five times lower

churn rate than industry average

Highly-efficient workflows

through automation

Expanded recruitment

through compelling offer

Anything is possible with Genesys. I’m really proud that Lighthouse Works last year created over 25% of all new blind and visually impaired job opportunities in the US. What’s more, we’re one of the fastest-growing companies in our industry sector.

— Kyle Johnson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lighthouse Works

Creating a truly inclusive space

Lighthouse Works is a business solutions outsourcer with a difference. The nonprofit organization was purposefully formed to provide an inclusive space for the blind and visually impaired, allowing them to gain competitive careers, apply their skills and earn a competitive wage.

“We believe there’s no such thing as blind jobs or sighted jobs — only jobs,” said Kyle Johnson, President and Chief Executive Officer for Lighthouse Works. “With the right processes, technology and training, a blind or partially-sighted person can keep their independence and contribute equally in the workplace.”

Self-propelled nonprofit model

Today, the Lighthouse Works contact center in Orlando, Florida employs nearly 500 remote workers and 100 onsite agents, with more than half of them having varying degrees of visual impairment.

In addition, revenues are reinvested in the services of Lighthouse Central Florida, a sister organization offering life-changing visual rehabilitation training, educational tools and advocacy. “It’s a self-propelling model of nonprofit funding that gives us more reach, more resources and more visibility,” added Johnson.

Barrier-free working

Previously, Lighthouse Works was held back by legacy on-premises technology that was hard to scale and devoid of effective reporting, quality assurance and resource management tools. “We experienced significant downtime and struggled to find workarounds, all of which prevented our agents from doing their best work,” said Johnson.

Lighthouse Works team member

In partnership with Genesys, the company developed an innovative model for delivering cost-effective business services by combining the Genesys Cloud platform with a screen reading tool called JAWS.

“We vetted numerous vendors but felt Genesys Cloud had the best capabilities and open APIs, allowing our software development team to write code and create the interface we needed,” added Johnson. “Another important factor in choosing Genesys was its people, and their genuinely sincere interest in what we’re doing. They’ve been really cool partners on our journey.”

The JAWS integration allows users with blindness or vision impairment to understand web pages through a screen reader and then navigate their computer using their keyboard.

“Many of our agents put their JAWS reader in one ear and the customer in the other, creating a great experience while meeting their handle-time goals,” said Johnson. “The tool reads the screen for them, giving audio cues so they can field calls, enter information and update records.”

Employee experience with empathy

Lighthouse Works continues to grow and offer opportunities to a highly talented group of people in the community who previously struggled to find work — not because they aren’t more than capable, but often through misconceptions about their abilities.

And loyalty is a two-way street. “We have a very low turnover rate of just six percent, well under the industry average of 30 to 40%,” added Johnson.

When visiting a web page, JAWS immediately begins scanning from the top down. Agents can manage reading tasks through a series of hot key and shortcut keystroke commands, initiating the solution’s text-to-speech capabilities to listen to specific text or navigate headings, lists, links and images.

Bright invention

An amazing by-product is re-engineering processes to be faster and more efficient than those in commercial contact centers. “We automated a ton of repetitive behaviors,” said Johnson. “For example, before it might have taken four clicks to verify the caller’s identity. Now, our agents press one hot key, and all four data elements appear at once, to cleverly streamline the workflow.”

With the right processes, technology and training, a blind or partial-sighted person can keep their independence and contribute equally in the workplace.

— Kyle Johnson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lighthouse Works

Building on this success, the company is currently building a bespoke user interface, which it plans to share via the Genesys AppFoundry® Marketplace.

“Anything is possible with Genesys,” concluded Johnson. “I’m really proud that Lighthouse Works last year created over 25% of all new blind and visually impaired job opportunities in the US. What’s more, we’re one of the fastest-growing companies in our industry sector.”

At a glance

Industry: Business process outsourcing

Location: US

Contact center: Around 600 users

Challenges

  • Needed to empower blind and low-vision workers as equals
  • Lack of system flexibility and functionality
  • Cost-prohibitive scalability
  • Frequent downtime for reporting

Additional resources

Blog post