SINGAPORE - The lives of people with disabilities are filled with daily challenges that those who are abled do not fully understand, said Mr Kwek Kok Kwong, CEO of NTUC LearningHub.
Going to the bank can be one such challenge.
With this in mind, the United Overseas Bank (UOB) and NTUC LearningHub launched a service inclusiveness training programme on Wednesday (April 24) at NTUC Trade Union House.
Under the programme, 900 UOB front-line service employees will find out what challenges are faced by customers with disabilities or special needs and learn how to better serve them.
Mr Sam Tan, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Social and Family Development and guest of honour, said that such initiatives will help businesses "make a statement that they truly care about the unique needs and service experience of all their customers".
Said Ms Janet Young, UOB's head of group channels and digitalisation: "The training is about empathy. It is about building awareness and confidence when connecting with our customers."
Through this, UOB is also able to offer the best customer experience, to deliver service with a heart, she added.
The programme is in line with making Singapore a caring and inclusive society - a vision that the Ministry of Social and Family Development's (MSF) 3rd Enabling Masterplan champions.
The full-day training programme, which is a collaboration involving MSF, NTUC LearningHub, the Disabled People's Association (DPA) and UOB, comprises classroom learning and role playing.
A preview during the launch had UOB employees who participated in the programme showing how they would attend to customers with disabilities.
DPA's Inclusion Ambassadors, who engage the public to raise awareness and promote inclusion of people with disabilities, played the role of customers.
One of the ambassadors, Mr Lawrence Tan, 66, has glaucoma. His right eye has 20 per cent vision while his left eye has none.
In the role play, he shared that he has trouble locating queue ticket dispensing machines, moving around without assistance, and finding a place to sit. He also does not know when his queue number appears or which counter to go to.
Assistant branch manager Jervis Lim, 31, helped allay his worries by greeting him at the entrance and finding out what banking services he needed. He also offered his elbow to Mr Tan when guiding him to the correct counter.
Mr Haresh Gobindram, 42, also an assistant branch manager, then took over to help Mr Tan with his transactions.
When the transactions were completed, Mr Gobindram asked Mr Tan: "Is there anything else I can do for you?"
This key phrase was drilled into participants who were told that this was the habit of service champions.
Said deputy branch manager Heng Siew Pheng, 38: "I look forward to putting what I have learnt into practice and to making banking services more accessible for all our customers."