Telstra keen to woo customers the CBA way

Telstra has sought advice from the Commonwealth Bank on how to improve its popularity with its millions of customers Australia-wide.

Telstra has sought advice from the Commonwealth Bank on how to improve its popularity with its millions of customers Australia-wide.

But the telecommunications company has no plans to scale back its outsourcing of call centres.

In an exclusive interview with BusinessDay's Malcolm Maiden, chief executive David Thodey revealed that Telstra had consulted the Commonwealth Bank on the telco's plan to win over customers, a project requiring big changes to Telstra's processes, technology and culture.

Mr Thodey said the formerly government-owned Commonwealth had "a lot of parallels" with Telstra and he took heart from the bank's success in transforming its customer satisfaction ratings under the leadership of former chief executive Ralph Norris.

According to Roy Morgan research, consumer satisfaction with the Commonwealth reached 80 per cent in January, the highest rating of the big four and the Commonwealth's best rating since the survey began in 1996. "It was seven years before they climbed to be No.1 and we are what, two or three years into our journey," Mr Thodey said.

Telstra has lifted the net promoter score that rates its popularity with its customers into positive territory overall, but Mr Thodey said the company still had a long way to go.

But one difference between the two was that the bank had not sent processing and call centre jobs offshore. Telstra runs local call centres but also has a significant operation in the Philippines. Mr Thodey said its first priority was to give "a great customer experience, irrespective of where that contact centre is".

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