Telstra adds 100 stores amid shift in customer service

More support needed through retail channels, online service to go ahead

Telstra has announced it will open 100 new retail stores over the next three years to leverage growth in its mobile business.

With its retails stores being visited by about 30 million people every year, Telstra chief executive David Thodey said more stores will make it easier for customers to interact with the company.

“This initiative means our retail outlets will now appear in even more locations,” Thodey said.

Telstra added more than 500,000 new mobile customers in the second quarter of the 2010/11 financial year.

February has been a busy month for Telstra with the announcement it will begin operating the first 4G mobile network by the end of the year.

Telstra will also offer more Android-based smartphones as part of its mobile handset range.

Changing customer support options

Last week news reports surfaced about Telstra’s decision to cut call centre positions in regional Victoria, with more than 100 jobs to be axed.

Work will move to a new call centre facility in Melbourne’s Docklands or offshore to the Philippines.

So Telstra is growing its business with more retail stores, but continues to shuffle its customer service and support infrastructure.

One Telstra customer from Sydney told TechWorld the company should offer more customer service and support through its retail channels.

“When I upgraded my broadband plan I had a question about the timing. I asked someone in the store that sold me the upgrade and the rep said ‘call BigPond for customer support’,” he said.

“The Telstra stores are happy to sell you something, but when you want help you are told to call the support lines.”

This month’s customer support redundancies follows 79 job cuts in a Ballarat call centre last month.

To compensate Telstra has announced it will establish a new online customer support service so customers can do more of transactions – like changing plans, ordering new services, or activate additional features – online rather than speak to a call centre operator.

Thodey said the new online customer service unit will support the growing customer base and provide the option of using social media services.

Follow Rodney Gedda on Twitter: @rodneygedda

Follow TechWorld Australia on Twitter: @Techworld_AU

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