Telstra CEO: Customer advocacy is top strategic growth priority

David Thodey shares list of initiatives aimed at personalising customer engagement, as well as rising digital interactions

Telstra CEO, David Thodey
Telstra CEO, David Thodey

Telstra’s chief executive has flagged customer advocacy as the group’s highest strategic priority and highlighted a range of initiatives driven in the name of personalising services during its annual general meeting.

Telstra CEO, David Thodey, said customer advocacy is one of its three strategy pillars and a core growth driver for the business. He noted 11 million customer surveys, at an average of 30,000 daily, were conducted in the past financial year, with feedback used to improve services.

Other initiatives details over the last 12 months include call centre operators now giving customer their name and contact details at the end of each call to make it easier for follow-up with the same support individual. Field technicians are also leaving a calling card after installing new or repairing existing services.

In stores, new post-paid mobile customers now receive a phone call from the consultant that served them within 48 hours of purchase as part of Telstra’s onboarding program.

“Customer advocacy is our highest priority and we see it as not just serving our customers better, but providing such great service that they are willing to be advocates for Telstra,” Thodey said. “We are committed to building Telstra into a business that has the customer at the centre of every decision, every action, every opportunity, every day.”

Thodey then discussed the need to continue lifting the telco’s game in the online services space. As a way of highlighting the importance of digital channels in customer advocacy, he pointed out Telstra currently has 1.5 million page views on its website daily, and 6 million unique visits online per month. The telco also engages in 200,000 online chat sessions monthly, and has 1.7 million customers using its 24 x 7 mobile app to manage accounts and services online.

In addition, 90,000 personalised emails and SMS confirmations are sent to customers every day, and 360,000 customers have signed up to Telstra’s 12-month old StayConnected mobile phone service. The telco also claims it helped 220,000 customers via the Telstra Platinum technical support service, which launched in November last year.

“There is no doubt this trend towards online services will continue to grow and we will continue to invest in our digital capabilities,” Thodey continued. “However, we will always give our customers the choice of how they wise to interact with us – in person, on the phone or online.”

In his financial results presentation in August, Thodey stated 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.

Telstra reported total income of $26.3 billion for the year to 30 June 2014, a rise of 6.1 per cent year-on-year. EBITDA reached $11.1bn, while net profits lifted 14.6 per cent to $4.3bn.

Across the board, the group added nearly 1 million new domestic retail mobile customers and now has 16 million retail mobile services in Australia. Over the past three years, Telstra has added almost 4 million new retail mobile services, Thodey said.

“These results were underpinned by our commitment to provide our customers with the best connectivity on Australia’s leading network,” he added.

More on Telstra’s customer engagement and digital strategy

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