Tuesday, October 12, 2010

You wouldn't know it from their submission

itNews has reported that Telstra PP&C chief David Quilty has told the CommsDay conference in Melbourne that "chickens were coming home to roost on customer service" and called for action to head off the potential for tighter regulations to be introduced.

Separately he and IBES executive director Kate Cornick argued that the industry needs to do more to spruik the value it delivers to the economy. One should note that AMTA has been doing that brilliantly for about a decade. Meanwhile the ACMA publishes its result on the benefits of competition each year.

It is unclear from the report whether Quilty made the logical leap that the customer service issue needs to be resolved before the industry can sell its value adding story. AMTA got into the value adding story bit at the same time as it was fighting environmental concerns. But it didn't just talk up the value, it acted to significantly reform the way infrastructure was deployed and communities were consulted.

The problem for me is that Quilty's call for effectively industry wide action isn't reflected in their submission to the ACMA's Reconnecting the Customer inquiry. The only co-ordinated action they saw was for an industry skill program on complaint handling and action to remove "confusing" regulation (see below). Equally in the Telstra strategy on customer service the measures they propose to use are private customer satisfaction and TIO complaint volumes.

This should be contrasted with financial services where the major financial services clients rely on the Nielsen Financial Services Monitor "for comprehensive reporting on the levels of customers’ satisfaction with their main financial institution and/or their home loan provider. Published quarterly using the latest trends data from Panorama, these reports tap into Australian consumer sentiment and reflect the dynamic nature of the Australian Financial sector."

(A report I only became aware of because of Crikey's report of a copyright scrap in relation to the report.)

I've previously noted the available public data on industry "satisfaction." Hopefully the industry, the regulators and/or consumer advocates will decide to draw a line in the sand and establish a single uniform satisfaction measure.

NOTE (for regulatory geeks): Telstra's submission makes the outrageous suggestion that the rules on pre-selection and override codes be eliminated as there are over 24 million mobiles and customers take up bundled offers. Now were Telstra to be suggesting a restructuring of the fixed line resale service that bundled pre-selection and wholesale line rental that would be okay - it was after all the core of a submission I drafted for AAPT in 2005. At that time I suggested that the idea of LCS/WLR and pre-selection being acquired by access seekers separately should be abandoned in favour of a single integrated wholesale product. That product could have resolved the definitional issue between PSTN OTA and the LCS by being a product in which a call that would be terminated in the same LAS as it originated would be done so, while a call that traveresed two LAS's would be routed through the access seeker's network. Interestingly there are "local" and "long distance" calls in both categories.

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est

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