Telstra embraces 'digital first'

Telstra has pledged improved customer support through a “digital first” initiative announced today.

“We will be looking at every Telstra product and service to see if there is a way we can provide this through digital channels as well as in-store or over the phone,” Telstra CEO David Thodey said at an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce event.

“We have listened to our customers and know many of them want the convenience of dealing with us on their terms in their own time,” Thodey said. “Improving and simplifying our online relationship with them will help to deliver this.”

This month, Telstra will provide more customised support for ADSL and mobile customers by sending users a unique code with their modem or mobile device, Thodey said.

The codes will help Telstra customer support staff provide “tailored information so [customers] gain the information they need faster and with fewer contact points", he said.

Later, Telstra plans to improve support from field technicians by using automated job allocation and digital mapping to get the technicians to jobs quicker and more efficiently. The approach will keep customers updated with an estimated arrival time rather than forcing them to stay home for large chunks of time, the telco said.

To show it’s serious about digital, Telstra is setting up 'Digital Transformation Centres' in Sydney and Melbourne to spearhead the initiative.

Telstra recently announced moves meant to position its directories business Sensis for digital, including a sale of the Yellow and White Pages company to Platinum Equity and a proposal to cut 800 jobs.

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of a dystopian novel about surveillance. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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