With CMO job in flux, Telstra sees improved customer advocacy

'We must continue to become a truly digital and social company,' says Telstra CEO David Thodey during the telco's financial results presentation

Telstra CMO Mark Buckman announced his resignation last month.
Telstra CMO Mark Buckman announced his resignation last month.

Telstra will announce a new chief marketer in four to six weeks, its CEO, David Thodey, confirmed during a media conference for Telstra’s 2013/14 financial year results.

Current CMO, Mark Buckman (pictured), resigned from the role in July, four years after joining Telstra as CMO and five months after being promoted to managing director of marketing and media.

Thodey said Buckman will remain with the company for “a couple” more months, oversee all of Telstra’s brand and digital media growth activities and sat on the executive committee. At the time his exit was announced, a Telstra spokesperson said the company would be considering two separate appointments to cover Buckman’s CMO and head of media functions.

Related: Dialling into customer advocacy: Telstra's Mark Buckman talks to <i>CMO</i>

Thodey stressed the importance of customer experience during the financial results briefing. Telstra announced a net profit of $4.27 billion for the fiscal year ending 30 June, an increase of more than 14 per cent year-on-year.

"We must continue to become a truly digital and social company," Thodey said. "We will continue to put the customer at the centre of everything we do."

Thodey said Telstra’s efforts around customer advocacy saw an its Net Promoter Score (NPS) record an aggregated improvement of three points over the 2014 financial year, as well as reduced customer churn.

In addition, Telstra’s one-year-old loyalty program, Telstra Thanks, has been a success with customers, he said, with 1.6 million customers purchasing tickets for movies, music or sporting events.

Promoting customer advocacy is “about improving customer service, delivering better products to our customers and of course making it easier to do business with us,” Thodey continued.

Telstra has recently sought to personalise service to customers in two ways. Whenever customers contact Telstra, staff now give their names and contact details. Also, whenever a customer buys a post-paid service, someone at Telstra will ring within 48 hours to see that everything is working well.

“We’re seeing significant improvement in the NPS score across all those interactions we have with our customers,” Thodey said. “We’re going to continue to focus in on that area, because if we don’t, we can’t really move forward.”

Adam Bender covers digital marketing and emerging technology for CMO and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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