Monday, December 07, 2009

Telstra Customer Service Program

Telstra has embarked on a program to improve customer service, including new CEO David Thodey making $40M of staff bonuses available for improvements in customer service.

On Saturday they announced a new program called My Telstra Experience. I just tried to enrol as part of this panel, but the second question asked if you or a member of your family work in market research, telecommunications or an ISP, advertising, or television or pay tv. By answering truthfully I got advised that they were already "oversubscribed" with people from that sector (which is theanswer you get for all 5 of those and really they mean they are screening you out).

So then I lied just to see what the enrollment process was like - but I stopped before completing it. Telstra will get a wealth of data from this - but how much "information" is doubtful. It is too easy to do what I did and lie to get in. The detail in the survey about prices paid for mobiles is stuff most people don't actually know.

Which is all a bit of a pity for me. I am a Telstra customer. Why? Simple, I've had a cable broadband service from before DSL and never seen a reason to change (it works, and when I was doing a trial for someone's ADSL it sucked big time). I don't make many LD or international calls so there are no savings for me in going elsewhere on the fixed line - though I did go to AAPT eventually when I worked there but left (probably to our mutual advantage) when I got a really badly constructed piece of corro about ending homelink 1800. I have Pay TV for rugby and hence my final choice (affter trialling both Optus and Foxtel in the mid 90s) was Foxtel - now billed on the Telstra account. (The mobiles are with Optus, I have a Bigpond 3G pre-paid dongle).

But what their little survey might not tell them are things like the story of my daughter moving into her new unit. Typical Gen Y wants fast internet, no need for a phone. Boyfriend works in IT. Logical choice a naked DSL from Internode. They place the order online - using a 3G wireless connection. Telstra rings to make the appointment for tech visit. Agreed that it will be between 10 and 2 on a Monday. Boyfriend is going to take day off and be at his place (2 mins away) so he can be using his Internet - they ask if the tech can ring on approach. Telstra call centre agrees!

Lo and behold on the appointed day, no phone call. After 2pm they ring Internode who hasn't heard anything, ring Telstra who says "yes a technician visited but there as no one at home", when asked about the phone call says "technicians cabn't be expected to call". Tech had turned up and left the "I called but you weren't at home" card. She finally gets Telstra to agree to a Saturday appointment on the grounds they aren't having someone off line for four hours again.

I'll let her words tell the conclusion to the story;

The highlight of the whole thing was undoubtedly at the end of the complaint call where, after telling me he can’t take my complaint because he has “no way of communicating it to their wholesale people” (which I don’t buy, you aren’t structurally separated YET!), the call centre guy had the audacity to ask me if I was interested in transferring any of my services to Telstra.

No. Not in a million years. Not even if you were the only provider. I’d sooner go without than deal with you ever again.

This is the bit our good friends at Telstra don't get. They are continually subverting their customer service to try to find ways to differentiate from their wholesale customers and screwing it up for everybody. Separation might help, but really just getting the idea that the service bit has to be perfect for retail AND wholesale customers is important.

And I'd say Telstra are the last tradies who don't "ring on approach." My plumber does, my electrician does. Sure Telstra might be coming to install "the phone" but we do have close to 100% mobile penetration. Have they thought how many ineffective "truck rolls" they could avoid that way?

1 comment:

Telstra Skeptic said...

Overhauling Telstra's lack of customer service must be one of the biggest corporate change initiatives ever undertaken in Australia. I doubt it's going to work, but good luck to them if it does. Everyone benefits from Telstra giving decent service to their retail and wholesale customers.