Alternative Service

If the terminal meets all the previous priority guidelines and there are still people who cannot use it, it is important to ensure that the services it provides are available through an alternative channel. Accessing the alternative channel should involve a minimal amount of inconvenience to the user and should be provided at no extra cost.


Having met all the previous priority guidelines, there may still be a small group of people who cannot use the terminal. If this is the case, they are likely to be users who either have extreme difficulties in one particular area or who have multiple difficulties so that no combination of the accessibility features meets their needs. For example, users who are deaf and blind cannot see displayed information or hear the spoken equivalent. They rely on tactile representations such as output via a refreshable Braille display. These users may still need to use the service to which the terminal provides access.

Providing an alternative channel through a human customer service agent has particular benefits, even for customers who can physically use the terminal but have some difficulty with the service. The human representative is able to interpret customers' requirements, answer their questions and give spontaneous information of which the machine is not capable. They also provide a “face” to the organisation, which some users are far happier with.

Directions and Techniques

The best alternative service is through a trained customer service agent who will be able to deal with a wide variety of situations and needs in an intelligent way – something no machine can match.

How you could check for this

Undertake trial runs of the alternative services using representatives from actual user groups to ensure that processes have been fully defined and customer service staff are fully trained.

During testing, the following key checks should be made:

  • Provide trained customer service agents.