How Telstra is exceeding customer expectations in the digital world

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What defines an exceptional customer service experience in 2022 and beyond? How can we meet, and exceed, customer expectations in the future?

These are the questions service providers like us need to continually ask ourselves to ensure we are keeping pace with a constantly changing business landscape, emerging technology trends and evolving customer requirements.

Customers today expect, and deserve, more. They already have enough business challenges. The solutions they choose and the providers they choose to work with shouldn’t add to them.

We’re committing the resources of our entire organization to the customer experience, investing in the infrastructure necessary to continually build on our expertise and solutions. We’ve simplified and revamped our entire service approach – from engagement and billing to pricing and communications – with every decision we make based solely on reaching a positive customer outcome and less on process, agreements and the structure of a contract.

This approach encompasses service delivery, service management, customer success management, and incident response, resulting in a new definition of outstanding service: “the world-class customer experience.”

Changing the past, building for the future

The telecommunications industry has had an often-deserved reputation for being notoriously slow. For decades, the industry was dominated by monopolies and built on legacy systems, with no serious threats from competition and no urgency to change.

This description hardly matches the profiles of our customers, who are among the fastest, most innovative and disruptive in the world. Customers can now set up a company or a global business to reach worldwide audiences in a matter of days.

This was never more apparent than in the last few years, as customers scrambled to quickly stand-up remote work environments, or stay ahead of high-bandwidth demands from their end-users.

We need to match their speed and ambition. That’s why we are changing and pivoting to adapt a similar mindset and provide those same levels of innovation and disruption in terms of network solutions.

We’ve moved away from being a legacy telco to being a full-service, global communications provider and, in the process, have become a true partner to our customers. We’ve broken down the traditional barriers to providing connectivity where and when customers need it, eliminating lengthy processes and unnecessary layers of approval. As a result, we've been able to establish services that would have once taken 90 days or more to within 24 hours.

Our values encompass service, partnership, solutions, and trust. This comprehensive approach is what differentiates us from our competition and is the driving force behind how we will remain successful in the future.

“Differentiation” is the key word. At their most basic level, there’s really no difference between the connectivity products from us and those of our competitors. So, if everyone’s beginning from the same place, how do we differentiate ourselves?

What sets us apart is how our teams develop, deliver and support those products – ultimately creating a unique world-class service experience that’s unavailable from our competitors.

How are we re-inventing?

We continue to invest in additional resources and digital tools to enable and support our own people and our customers. We’ve listened and have made changes based on quantifiable data as well as qualitative feedback, including:

  • Shifting our traditionally centralized service model to a regional approach, giving regional teams more accountability, autonomy, and empowering them to make decisions and drive outcomes.
  • Implementing an on-boarding framework based on a tailored success plan, to ensure we are in lockstep with customers and fully engaged with them throughout the entire life cycle of the journey.
  • Deploying new protocols to meet heightened demand, reducing provisioning cycle times by 40%, often exceeding our customer’s expectations.
  • Digitizing 90% of our transactions to make it easier for our customers to do business with us, while still retaining an element of the “human” experience in our customer interactions. We’re redefining how we can effectively use digital tools to make sure we right-size the customer experience.

Through our comprehensive customer experience approach, we have delivered real-world solutions to many of the largest Fortune 100 carrier, OTT, and enterprise customers in the world. Within our Enterprise segment, we specialize in supporting our top four verticals – IT, financial services, manufacturing, and professional services.

We now have the largest fiber optic subsea cable systems, reaching Asia-Pacific and beyond, with access to more than 2,000 points-of-presence (PoPs) in more than 200 countries, and we’re continuing to expand our coverage.   

Experiencing the future… today

Our focus for the future is on continuing to empower our customers, imparting a level of self-serve functionality and capabilities to the point where customers can manage their own network and make decisions with the right set of tools and the right set of data.

Connectivity is no longer a “nice to have;” it is a necessity, a requirement and a social responsibility. The connectivity we provide allows schools to do virtual learning and hospitals to remotely monitor patients. We deliver the technologies people need to stay in touch with family and friends, receive and share information and stay entertained.

As a leading communications provider, we take this responsibility seriously as we continually strive to perfect the art of “world-class customer experience.”

Eric Dalessio has been with Telstra for the past 19 years, consistently playing a key role in driving Telstra America’s transformation and growth. His mission is to continually redefine the customer experience by identifying new ways to onboard and use Telstra’s digital tools, efficiently managing Service and Delivery teams, and collaborating with customers as a true business partner for long-term growth.