Telstra customer service slowly on the mend: Thodey

Telstra reiterated its customer service levels have improved slowly but surely, despite falling short of customer service expectations in August this year.

At the company’s annual general meeting, chief executive, David Thodey, said a number of new practices implemented to aid its customer satisfaction strategy had experienced significant customer takeup.

“Customer satisfaction is improving, slowly but deliberately we are making progress,” he said. “I want to hear about complaints because if we don’t hear about complaints we can’t improve and it’s all about how you respond to a complaint.

“I’d love to not have as many [complaints] but at the same time, when you’ve got a complaint it’s about how you address it and move forward.”

The introduction of weekend technician services has been used by 80,000 customers, while 28,000 people have taken advantage of the “connected seniors program” where they attended Telstra shops to learn about new technology.

The company has refurbished 280 Telstra stores and experienced an additional five million calls into its call centres since the facilities have been open 24/7.

“The challenge before us is to continue to improve our business performance so that when we’re at the end we can really say that customers are talking differently about Telstra,” Thodey said.

“As you all know we don’t get it right all the time and I’m sure there’ll be people here today who will say 'look I have not had a great experience with Telstra'. Well we want to know about it so we can fix it.”

According to Thodey, one area customers continue to complain about is billing, to which the telco has responded with the introduction of a refreshed bill format. The new bill aims to eliminate repetitive information, make totals clearer and add more descriptive labels and information about products.

The introduction of Facebook customer service and the launch of an online billing service were also measures taken to increase customer satisfaction.

An internal restructure of a number of Telstra’s divisions and internal management also took place in July, where its entire sales and retail customer service workforce were unified into a single division. In addition, it established a new applications and ventures subsidiary in order to partner with developers to provide applications in specialised verticals such as health, education, energy and e-commerce.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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