November 24, 2015 By Robin Walters

The Human Face of a Commodity Driven Service

The heart behind closed captioning

Last week I received a call from a gentleman out west who asked if we could help him caption a video. It wasn’t just any video, it was his wedding. Turns out his wife is deaf and he wanted to surprise her for Christmas by making the video more accessible.

As the business development executive for CaptionLabs, I’ve been tasked with putting a price on a service that also holds great meaning for the millions of hearing impaired Americans who struggle to have the same experience with media and entertainment that the non-hearing impaired quite probably take for granted.

The irony is that so many of the calls I receive are from people representing organizations that are simply looking for the lowest price. I’m learning to disqualify these callers because, frankly, we aren’t the cheapest captioning company in the market. Even though I’m new here, I confess it sometimes ruffles my feathers to have a caller expect to pay $1 or less per minute for the kind of human-driven quality control that we offer.

It has left me wondering about:

  • In this commodity driven industry, how do you impart the true value of an accuracy-driven service?
  • What kind of price should organizations pay for made-in-the-USA-midwestern-based customer service?
  • How do you drive quality over price, when people still seem to think of captioning as a necessary evil, something that is forced on them by the FCC?

Yes, we earn a living by doing this work. Yes, we quoted a very low price for that husband who was looking for a Christmas present for his wife. But I think the true measure of the kind of company I’ve joined is when I overheard one of our employees offering to stay late and do the job for free. While we couldn’t keep the lights on and pay the rent with this kind of attitude for very long, I think it’s indicative of the passion that our team brings to this work every day.

Robin Walters

Robin is the Business Development Manager for CaptionLabs. She has a master’s degree in marketing/communications and 20 years experience in marketing and sales. Robin is also a writer, artist, organic farmer and pet parent of five dogs, three cats and a bird in her “free time”—not that she really has any. Whether you need help with captioning, want to discuss the best variety of tomato to grow, or need help with dog training, Robin can probably help.

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