News : Inside Telstra's Digital Contact Centre
Adelaide, Australia, March 30, 2015 -- Deep inside Telstra's Adelaide office, 30 staff members have been recruited to answer tweets, Facebook comments, and Crowdsupport posts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as the company looks to become truly digital.
Over the past few years Telstra has witnessed a decline in its overall call centre call volume, and has increasingly moved its contact centre services out of Australia.
Despite the criticism for the associated job losses in Australia, Telstra has made no apologies for its shift away from the traditional call centre. CEO David Thodey first flagged in 2013 that he expected to increase using overseas contact centres as the trend shifted from calls to online interactions.
"On the offshoring of work, our customers increasingly want to interact with us online. Forty percent of customer transactions were completed online in 2013 -- compared to only 30 percent in 2012 -- and this percentage will grow again this year," he said.
"This means that our contact centre work is declining quickly and will continue to do so."
Telstra now has a team of 30 based in Adelaide working on a rotating 24/7 roster to respond to these social media queries. The 24-hour service has been operational for over 1,300 days, and the team typically has between 1,000 and 1,500 conversations daily, with a quarter of these occurring after 6pm every day. Each worker deals with about 100 requests per shift .
Monty Hamilton, Telstra's director of digital operations was brought over from Ubank, following Telstra's digital director Gerd Schenkel in 2011. Telstra had been on Twitter in 2008, but Hamilton said that 2011 was when the company began to take it seriously, with the 24/7 operation.
"A business that might operate in Australian time zones can longer prescribe its accessibility to customers. We need to be available when our customers need us," he said.
The company's digital contact team is based out of Adelaide, but the company also has six technical consultants based in Townsville and Perth. Given the company receives much more technical questions online than in contact centres, Hamilton said there is some knowledge building in the company, but mostly the staff work together on internal social networks to figure out complex issues.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Wednesday, April 1, 2015