Monday, February 25, 2008

Still at it...

When I did my Swamp newsletters years ago, one of them was about Telstra's business practices.

Looking over an ABC Online forum this morning, I found this little entry concerning Telstra call centres...

Well done!! A very accurate portrayal of the evironment with the Telstra Call Centre. I worked for Telstra for the last 7 years before being made redundant at the end of last year and most of that time I was in a Call Centre. My sincerest sympathy goes out to the families who lost thier loved ones.

It is generally the people who take pride in the standard of thier work who suffer the most in this enviroment. If you really do want to help people and are not motivated by the buck but really want to provide good customer service then it is a real challenge to stay sane in this organisation. In saying that there are still may wonderful people still there raising these matters with management on a day to day basis who are still fighting to be heard.

It may suprise most customers but it is generally the consultants in the Call Centres and the staff in contact with customers on a day to day basis who fight the hardest for customers rights! They are the ones who will generally have to listen to the complaints so believe me when I say, if the company makes a decission that they beielve will not be recieved well by the customer they fight hard for you.

While Mr Rolland makes the point that there has to be measures that are required for scheduling, which is necessary, however, it is how these measures are put in place that makes the difference. You are expected address the customers initial enquiry and then look for opportunities to up sell or cross sell to every customer, and do all of this in an average of 300- 600 seconds or there abouts. This does does not leave a lot of time for customer service. If this time frame was increased then it would mean that you would need MORE staff to answer the amount of calls that they anticipate at any given time, which is why they do not want to increase this target.

Inevitably, this means that a consultant will hurry through the basics of your call, try and sell you something and then get you off the phone. If your initial enquiry is too difficult then they will "transfer you to another area" rather then get stuck with a complex enquiry and move on the next sale. Then someone else has to take then call that has just been transferred. It's called the Telstra Two step. In my expereince, most customers just want their enquiry dealth with efficently and to have it done right the first time. If the managers would realise this, there may not be so many mistakes and therfore there would be less phones calls to deal with when people have to ring back 3 or 4 times toget something fixed. And the more angry and frustrated a customer is the longer the call is going to take!

While the internal message is Customer first, all of the targets and incentives are sales based and sales focused and there is very little recognition for customer service. Generally the people who really do want to help people and provide excellent customer service are the o

I don't know what the rest of this was going to say, but I just wanted to add that Telstra's call centres include a "Retention" department, a department designed to keep disaffected subscribers from moving to other companies. It's the role of Retention to (obviously) churn them back to Telstra during the mandatory cooling off period.

In my time at Dodo Internet, home of the very worst customer service ever, the Retention department was bigger than the sales department - who were all expected to meet or exceed their sales targets. Seems to me that if they paid more attention to providing customer service, they wouldn't need to spend nearly as much trying to keep customers who want to leave for greener pastures.

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