"Sign language is my mother tongue"


Northmill Bank co-worker, Carolina Agerberg, grew up with two deaf parents. An experience now leading Northmill, as the first neobank, to launch a tailored customer service for people with speech and hearing impairments.

How did you come up with this idea?

I grew up with deaf parents and learned sign language, before I learned how to speak. Sign language is my mother tongue. Over time, I realized that there aren’t any good solutions for people with speech or hearing impairments to for example, talk to their bank. I was frustrated that it could be this way, and found that the few solutions available often put the responsibility and effort over on the customer. To my parents for example. They already have a hard time reaching out since the help they seek isn’t available, and I took it as a personal quest to change that. Most people probably don’t understand how many there are who actually suffer from this, and how challenging it can be.

How was your idea received internally?

At Northmill, we always encourage each other to speak your minds, or come up with new ideas for things we think could be improved. It's great to see that it’s not just empty words, but actually true. Although, the greatest thing is that we truly help this customer group and make their lives a little bit easier by meeting their needs. That feels fantastic. If it leads to us creating a better customer service experience, it’s a bonus. It also feels remarkable that we’ll be the first neobank to come up with this solution, because it is such an obvious solution that fills a need that did not exist before.

How does the new service work?

It is a tailored experience where customers with speech or hearing impairment simply book an appointment through email or chat. If it suits the customer we’ll have the meeting straight away, otherwise we book an appointment and send a link to a video call where our employees skilled in sign language tend the customers’ needs. We also send the customer a simple 3-step guide on how to use the video service. When we first tested the service, the response was absolutely fantastic. Now when it’s being rolled out on a larger scale and available to all our customers with speech or hearing impairment, I am thrilled!