Mum was right! If she raised you with basic good manners and somewhere in your childhood you joined the scouts or lifesavers, then you’ve got the groundwork for providing great customer service: courtesy, caring, willingness to serve, and an attitude that lets customers know that they matter and that you care.

Mum knew we needed an occasional refresher on which fork to use, and the odd sharp wake-up call on good manners and treating people right.

Putting yourself in the other person’s shoes is a good place to start – and over the past week, we’ve begun looking for 18,000 pairs of them.

We’ve begun recruiting for our new My Telstra Experience panel – 18,000 people who will have a hand in improving our customer’s experience with Telstra.

Our goal in the My Telstra Experience panel is to find out what’s it really like to be our customer from our customers’ point of view. What is the day-in, day-out ‘customer experience’ we deliver? How does it feel to wait on hold on the phone? To open a package and be uncertain how to follow the instructions? To stand in line, be charged a fee, wait for a service call that was promised? What’s it like to be remembered? To receive helpful suggestions? To get everything exactly as it was promised? To be confident that the answers are the best ones for you?

To create a superior customer experience requires understanding the customer’s point of view, and to truly understand the customer perspective, we recognized that we had to track and analyse customer experience across service channels and over time.

In My Telstra Experience, we have created a forum that gives a voice to the silent customer. Fewer than 10% of dissatisfied customers actually complain to the company, but they do complain to each other. They’ll tell other people, even if they never tell us. We want to give these people every opportunity to tell us how we’re doing, not just once, but over and over again.

And while we know there are things we are not doing well, there is also a lot we do that is great. By identifying both the flaws in our service delivery and also the right stuff – what matters most to customers – we will continually improve the quality of the customer’s experience, reaping rewards in higher customer satisfaction, greater customer loyalty, a larger number of customers and more profits per customer.

We have created My Telstra Experience panel to seek direct, immediate customer feedback – not simply to ensure that problems are fixed but also to build in methods of systematic innovation and improvement. If you’d like to join the My Telstra Experience panel, and have your say, please visit: www.mytelstraexperience.com.au