23 May 2014
By David Thodey

Why everybody should think they are the Chief Customer Officer


It must be one of the business world’s most widely used calls to action – “We must make the customer the centre of everything we do!” The reason it is, of course, is that it is absolutely right. Nothing is more important. But for all the passion and conviction put into creating genuine customer focus it is frustrating when we get it wrong.

Like many businesses around the world Telstra has been working to put the customer at the centre of everything we do. We have made good progress, but I’m the first to admit that we do not always get things right. Every business has a unique set of challenges, but when your business – like ours – is answering 15 million customer calls each year, making 900,000 customer appointments and completing 3.4 million tasks in the field, you only need to get it a little bit wrong to disappoint many.

That is the nature of the challenge. It is a task that for many of us is far from complete and we still have much to learn. That said, we now have the benefit of some hard earned experience.

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Posts: 31


  1. Jason says:


    I have been a customer of Telstra since June 2012 and thought to be connected to the NBN at the time.

    On the 23rd May 2014, a Telstra Technician named Carl visited my home to upgrade the Telstra Internet modem as I was advised this needed to be done even though my Telstra services were working fine. Carl the Telstra technician experienced difficulties and was not able to install the new modem and left my house saying, someone from Telstra will come out as I need to go to another job. This left me in bitter awe and with NO Telstra services (landline or internet) working.

    I then called the 13 22 00 number and spoke to someone from India out of the Delhi contact centre.

    After this call I have attempted on several occassions to rectify my issue but being on hold for over 45mins to 1hr and then getting transferred from India to Philippines and then back to India only made my frustration with Telstra increase.

    After 1 week of speaking to multipke departments and explain my situation over 50 times, it surely represents that Telstra do not know what is going on with my case and keep trying to pass the blame on to nbn.

    After 1 week of arguing with people from all over the world a Telstra customer service agent told me today I have never been on nbn -- so imagine how much more I get frustrated.

    I’ve been given multiple case numbers, spent hours calling from my mobile and even had to purchase a prepaid wifi tongle just so I wont incur a mobile phone bill that will break my credit card.

    The incident numbers ive been given in the past 2 weeks include:


    Some of the Telstra employees ive spoken to over the past 2 weeks include ID:


    I’ve taken 2 seperate days off work to entertain a Telstra technician and with the possibility of taking a third in day off work in 2 weeks!!! My issue has still not been resolved and I am on the brink of changing service providers.

    I’ve enjoyed 2 years with Telstra and still want to be serviced by Telstra, but the service I have and keep receiving continues to keep pushing me away….

    I would appreciate if someone will call me on ********** (Vodafone Mobile) as this is the only phone number working in our household.

    Thank you.

    Jason Pereira

    ‘Sometimes a Telstra Customer’

  2. Mr Thodey,

    I would be surprised if you actually write this blog yourself, but you must be called out. You have it completely wrong: ‘Putting the customer at the centre of everything you do’ is your problem.

    Once again, woeful customer service at the Canberra Centre Telstra shop:

    I stopped into the shop to get some resolution for the data usage for my business mobile phone. I’ve using more than the data allocation and wanted see my options in order to solve this issue. To do this I wanted to discuss face to face with someone the possible solutions that were open to me.

    I stood in line for almost 10 minutes with about 8 other customers who were ignored the entire time. When it came to my turn, the staff treated my like a pain and not a valued customer and I couldn’t get resolution of my issue.

    The staff couldn’t find the information for the plan I was on. They didn’t help me find the best solution, but parroted information about data-packs. Despite repeated explanations as to reason why I was there, they did not help me get to the bottom of the issue and were instead interrupting me to again tell me about ‘data-packs’.

    The service was utterly transactional and as soon as I started asking relatively simple -- questions that couldn’t be answered due to ‘system problems’ (such as “can I see my extra data usage for the last 3 months”) they because defensive and unhelpful, repeating loader the information that I’d already been told.

    I left angry and annoyed.

    The issue is leadership sir. You see, your staff lack it and do not receive it. This is shown through observation. You should not be putting your customer at the centre of everything you do but rather your employees, and their knowledge and ability to achieve a high standard of service. Simply being reasonably well dressed and polite is not enough.

    Their skills, knowledge and attitude (and many people I know have experienced the same) shows your managers (I use ‘leaders’ here sparingly) and your employees simply do not understand that they ‘are’ Telstra at the point of contact with the customer. This has huge implications for the ongoing prosperity of your business.

    I’ll leave you with an opportunity: Go into a Nepresso store and purchse something or simply observe the customer service. Please take a leaf out of their book and fix this. I don’t want to change carriers but I will.


    Alistair Pearce

    • Jamie (Editor) says:

      Hi Alistair, Thank-you for your feedback — as tough as it is to hear, it’s important for us to get. I have passed it onto the team for you and I believe someone will be in touch through your email. However, you can also provide a contact number via email so we can look to work through these issues. I hope this helps. Thanks, Jamie.

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