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Premium Direct Billing

Telstra News

Posted on March 26, 2018

3 min read

You may have heard today that we ceased providing Premium Direct Billing (PDB) earlier this month, and that we have also reached an agreement with the ACCC in Court proceedings relating to PDB.

We have agreed with the ACCC to jointly submit to the Federal Court that we pay a penalty relating to the management of our PDB service.

Premium Direct Billing enables our mobile customers to buy content such as games, apps or videos from third parties by subscribing or purchasing online and have it charged to their mobile phone bill. These services had been introduced by a number of mobile providers to give customers a convenient way of charging certain types of online services to their phone bill.

A large proportion of customers who decided to subscribe to a service were happy with it, however the number of complaints received over time shows there were issues with the PDB service that needed to be addressed.

I want to apologise to any customer who has been charged under our Premium Direct Billing service unexpectedly for these subscription content services and to those who may have experienced difficulty when trying to opt out from them.

And I acknowledge that customers may have raised concerns and I understand that the steps we took over the years in response were not effective and put in place fast enough. We did not get this right, and I apologise.

Following our decision to stop providing new subscription based services in December, from earlier this month we completely exited this service.

PDB services have been recognised as an issue for the broader telecommunications industry – we took a number of steps to improve our processes, but acknowledge we could have done more and done it faster. At Telstra, providing a great customer experience is our top priority and we recognise that our management of this service hasn’t always allowed us to deliver good experiences.

Our number one priority, right now, is working to continue to identify customers who have been impacted through being charged for third party PDB subscriptions, they either didn’t knowingly subscribe to or had tried to opt out of unsuccessfully.

We have a dedicated team working through this and we will commence contacting these customers from next week.

Once we have identified impacted customers, we’ll be proactively reaching out to them, but if you’re concerned about PDB charges on your account you can contact us directly.
Our number one priority is customer experience and the large majority of our customers have a great experience, but we don’t get it right all the time and in cases where we identify issues we will absolutely take the steps to rectify it. In this case, we have committed to identify, contact and offer to refund impacted customers, and we have now completely exited this service.

Background: Premium Direct Billing enables mobile customers to purchase online content such as games, apps and videos from third parties on a subscription or one-off basis by pressing on a subscribe now or purchase now button or similar and to have it charged directly to their mobile bill. We exited this service entirely on 3 March 2018. We will continue to enable customers to purchase some content from third party providers and have it charged directly to their mobile phone bill – more information on these services can be found here.

Why I love my smart home

Smart Home

Posted on March 21, 2018

5 min read

Kash Pervez is one of our Telstra Store managers, and has a home filled to the brim with smart home devices. He shares with us some ways in which his day-to-day life has changed with the introduction of this tech, and his love of voice assistants.

My first experience with smart home devices was when I invested in a camera to monitor my garage door. Oddly, it would often open by itself after I had closed it, and I used to get worried at work wondering whether it was secure or not. Having a camera set up that I could watch live anywhere (in the world!) from my mobile phone gave me peace of mind.

Today my life is completely different with a smart home. Things have changed so much since setting up that camera in my garage – now as I’m driving up to the house I ask my Google Assistant in my handset to open the garage door, and soon I’m parked and asking Google Assistant to close it behind me. I just say, “Hey Google, close garage door”, and magic happens. From there, when I walk in I can speak to my home for everything; from turning on the sprinklers, the TV, all the lights around the house and even the little things like turning on the kettle and fan.

Knowing that I can check in on my home from wherever I am in the world is one of the biggest benefits for me. I was in Italy last year when a parcel was delivered to my home. The postman pressed my smart bell, I received a notification on my handset in Rome, and then spoke to him and told him where to hide the parcel all through live streaming, which was mind blowing!

While away, I would also randomly turn lights on and off to make it look like someone was home. When Telstra Smart Home was released, I couldn’t wait to set it up alongside my other smart home devices. The Telstra Smart Home® app now provides the ability to switch to “Away” mode – a setting that gives the impression that someone is home through activities like lighting automations.

Since getting my voice activated speakers, I’ve found I’m using these more and more every day – I love Google Home and have a few Google Home Minis around the house. One voice command to my Google Home Mini can set the mood, set certain lights to medium brightness and my Phillips Hue lighting to different colours for a movie night.

I talk to people all the time who are nervous about the idea of setting up their homes with smart devices. I really think one of the easiest ways to do this is with the Telstra Smart Home Automation and Energy Starter Kit or the Watch and Monitor Starter Kit.

These are so simple to set up – all you need to do is to be set up with a fixed broadband plan and home Wi-Fi, then download the Telstra Smart Home app and follow the instructions to activate and pair your devices. Then you can start doing things like plugging in an appliance, like a fan or TV and home theatre, into a smart power plug, and controlling it either from the App on your phone or with your voice if you have a smart speaker.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who sometimes wonders if I’ve closed a door or window in the house after I’ve left. Door and window sensors from the Watch and Monitor Starter Kit, let you check this from your handset and also to receive a notification on your phone if a door or window is opened.

Telstra Smart Home is already bringing out exciting new devices, such as the Roost smart smoke alarm battery – which could be a great benefit for people. If someone wasn’t home and their smoke alarm was triggered – they can now be notified on their handset, and can see what’s happening with their smart camera.

Telstra customers are now able to choose between a Google Home Mini or Amazon Echo Dot* when signing up to the $124/m Smart Home internet bundle. Eligible customers can also receive a bonus of up to $100 to use on any Telstra Smart Home device on our online store when they activate their smart home service before 30 April 2018. Conditions apply. Min cost $3,075 over 24mths with $99 standard installation fee.

You can find more information on our bundles here.

* Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot are not compatible with the Telstra Watch and Monitor Starter Kit. Compatible Telstra Smart Home devices can be purchased separately.

Note: Telstra Smart Home requires a home broadband connection and home Wi-Fi network and must be activated via the free iOS or Android Telstra Smart Home App (data charges may apply). Telstra Smart Home Bonus $100: Activate your Telstra Smart Home by 30 April 18 to receive a one-time $100 activation bonus to purchase additional smart home devices from our online store.  Bonus must be used in one transaction and redeemed by 7 May 18. The bonus (or any unused portion) is not transferable or redeemable for cash.

The 12 fundamentals for project success at Telstra

Advice

Posted on March 5, 2018

5 min read

Each year in our business, around 900 project managers and 170 project sponsors oversee approximately $4.6 billion worth of capital projects around the world.

Despite the diverse nature of the projects carried out across networks, consumer products, small and large businesses and government, there exists a core set of project fundamentals that can lead to successful project outcomes across all our projects. These fundamentals are informed by insights derived from post implementation reviews and key stakeholder interviews across all of our business units.

When understood and used effectively by project sponsors and project managers, these fundamentals can act as both lead indicators for project success and as a code of professional conduct for your project workforce. Furthermore, these fundamentals support our agile ways of working principles, so they can be applied to any sort of delivery method.

The 12 fundamentals are grouped into four categories: Role Clarity, Front End Loading, Experience and Assurance.

Role clarity

Alignment

Alignment is key. Having clarity on what you are setting out to do and having everyone aligned on the business or customer outcome is a key success factor. Ensure that all project team members and stakeholders are aligned to the project objectives, the goals of the project and the values and methods to which the project is being delivered. Stop and check for alignment regularly.

Single point of leadership and accountability for project outcomes

Act as the person accountable to deliver the project outcomes. This includes the ultimate responsibility for decisions on implementation and fulfilling the promises made to seek approval. If you have two sponsors or two project ‘leaders’, fix it – this will erode accountability and will result in people bypassing you for decisions.

Collaborate on Expectations and Goals

Collaborate, clearly outline and communicate expectations and goals to the project team members. You cannot over communicate in a project. Utilise daily stand-ups, floor walks or whatever you need to get expectations and goals in front of the team at all times. Take a pulse check each week – ask “Do I understand what is expected of me this week and why I need to complete it?”

Front end loading

Optimise the Solution

Albert Einstein once said “If I had an hour to save the world, I would first spend 55 minutes defining the problem and only 5 minutes finding the solution.” Too often we are too eager to get started on building something when we don’t yet know what we are trying to solve.

In a rush to build something, we end up delivering a product few people want and have spent far too much money on getting it out the door. After all, the right answer comes from asking better questions. It takes discipline and courage to investigate all possible project options and pursue the most optimised project solution. The most optimised solution ensures the best outcome for Telstra, its customers and minimises waste in delivery.

Adequate Planning

The key word here is adequate. This logically follows from the finding above. Don’t over plan for the phase you are in – undertake only sufficient analysis and planning to meet the phase objectives. Your aim is to achieve a significant level of accuracy and confidence in being able to move forward to the next phase of work. This includes making sure you have the resources allocated to you in order to move to the next phase successfully.

Manage Upwards Effectively

Manage requirements, expectations and perceptions from key business decision makers. Seek guidance on a regular basis from the key business leaders so that you can give confidence and direction to the project team.

Project Management at Telstra

Experience

Consistency and Discipline

Ensure consistency and discipline in keeping all project scope/features, schedule, cost, risk and other information up to date and transparent in systems, dojos, war rooms or any other common environment. The more you share, the smaller the perception that you are forming a moat around your project.

Don’t neglect your stakeholders

Ensure consistent, concise and unambiguous information and communication to stakeholders at all times. This includes producing status reports on a regular basis and to the satisfaction and needs of stakeholders, and inviting them into showcases at every opportunity. You are likely to run into the same stakeholders again on another project, so don’t walk away from your project with a bad reputation.

Applicable project experience

Demonstrate that you have the necessary skills and experience required for the project. This includes knowledge in the delivery way of working and in the product/content itself. If you don’t have it, make sure you obtain it during the project.

Assurance

Independent reviews

Subscribe to independent reviews to tap into knowledge and experience so that the project can benefit from progressing into the next phase with greater confidence. Think of it like servicing your car every 6 months, rather than having to call a tow truck one night. Make the reviews proactive so that they occur in parallel to getting ready to move to the next phase.

Manage Change

Once you have agreed on a set of features or scope for the upcoming cycle or phase, keep changes to a minimum. Manage changes in a disciplined way so that everyone knows there is a proper process and so that the impact to deadlines, budgets and benefits are understood before those changes are carried out.

Manage Risk

Risks are measured uncertainties that could impact your project. At every opportunity, you should assess the risks against your project and make decisions accordingly so that the project is delivered with minimal unmitigated risk events.

Silent line fee removed

Tech and Innovation

Posted on February 20, 2018

2 min read

Technology is fundamentally changing the way we communicate at home, in the office and socially.

Update, Tuesday 20 February 2018:

We’ve now made the changes to our Silent Line product for home phone services.

  • Customers will no longer be charged a monthly fee to keep their details out of the White Pages and online directories.
  • All Telstra customers can now manage their Directory Listing and Caller ID (whether their number is displayed to other callers) preferences through the Telstra 24×7 app or My Account.
  • We’re also contacting existing Silent Line customers to reassure them their details remain private and what to expect on their bill.

At Telstra we’re investing in new technology and digitising our processes to transform not just the way we do business with our customers, but also our products and services.

Our original article follows:

With new technologies we’ll be looking to make changes to some of our traditional products, and the first of these is the Silent Line service.

Protecting our customers’ privacy is paramount to Telstra and providing tools to protect telephone numbers and addresses is part of what we do to help. We understand privacy is important to all our customers, and that some Australians choose a Silent Line for a multitude of reasons including for personal safety.

Currently, customers who want to keep their details out of the White Pages and online directories can request a Silent Line and pay a monthly fee of $2.93.

We are about to change that, and we will be removing the monthly charge to make privacy with Telstra more accessible to our customers.

We are also pleased to announce that we are making it easier for our customers to manage whether their number is visible to people they call and be able to control this – and their current White Pages listing – online, through the Telstra 24/7 app or My Account.

These changes will apply from 18 February 2018.

Tags: customers,

How you can go BIG this Lunar New Year

Tech and Innovation

Posted on February 16, 2018

2 min read

As we welcome the Year of the Dog across Australia and the world, how are you celebrating this Lunar New Year?

Is it with a family meal at home or the temple, or with friends at festivals and events across Australia?

But what about your family and friends interstate or overseas – how will you wish them good luck and fortune in the Year of the Dog?

At Telstra, we’re proud of the role we play in connecting family and friends during Lunar New Year, both within Australia and overseas.

Telstra Lunar New Year billboard

This year we wanted to do something more – something special – to help make your Lunar New Year wishes even bigger than ever before. So that’s what we’re doing – literally.

This weekend, from the 17th to 19th of February, we’re opening our 26-metre outdoor digital billboard in Melbourne for your personalised Lunar New Year messages to share with your friends, family and loved ones.

All you need do to is text your first name and then the first name of a family member or friend to 0484 800 800 (for a standard national SMS charge), and a personalised Lunar New Year greeting will appear on the outdoor Telstra Discovery Store billboard on Bourke Street, Melbourne.

Once approved, we’ll also send you a text with an MMS picture message of your personalised billboard that you can share via social media – so it doesn’t matter if your family member or friend is in Sydney or Shanghai, they’ll be able to see your BIG billboard greeting.

Happy New Year for the Year of the Dog. 新春快乐,狗年大吉 !

Telstra’s Lunar New Year billboard will be active from 9:00AM on 17 February to 11:59PM on 19 February. Please note that names need to be in English, and SMS must be sent from an Australian mobile phone. Max 160 characters.

Full terms and conditions of use are available here.