Turning every complaint into an opportunity

Seeing a complaint as an opportunity to improve is a critical change in the way we’re working. The feedback we get from these complaints is then used to address what went wrong in the first place – to tackle the root cause.

This is part of how we’re making customer service fundamental to everything we do at Telstra. We want our customer service to set us apart in a competitive market.

Moreover, one of the most critical parts of our CEO-led customer service strategy is to improve the effective resolution of customer complaints as we’re best placed to resolve the issue directly with our customer.

Ways we are doing this include:

  • investing millions of dollars in training for staff who deal directly with customers to make it easier for customers to deal with us
  • having more front-line people dedicated to complaint handling
  • enabling customers to call us and say ‘complaint’ to the voice prompt and be put through to a trained consultant
  • putting in place new complaint management standards across the business with timeframes for acknowledgement, resolution and closure that are much faster than the industry code

We’ve also increased our focus on resolving matters for our customers the first time they call us: this is being done with extra training for our staff and the removal of measurements on the length of time our consultants spend on the phone with customers in certain centres replacing those with measures focused on customer resolution.

These initiatives and many others have contributed to arresting the increase in customer complaints that go to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO). Our level 1 customer complaints to the TIO have reduced by one-third in the past year. However, the number is still too high and must be further reduced.

Stay tuned, over the coming months as we’ll be making more changes to improve customer service.

In the meantime, let us know your feedback.

Related links:

For those after more detail…

TIO complaints data reduction ( April 2009 v April 2010)

Level 1 complaints – down by 33%

Level 2 complaints – down by 16%

Level 3 complaints – down by 52%

Level 4 complaints – down by 50%