Sydney, Australia, March 17, 2020 -- Telstra customers can expect longer delays for assistance because of the impact coronavirus has had on its call centre staff in the Philippines.
The call centre remains open, but because of restrictions introduced by the Philippines government, many workers are unable to get to the office.
As a consequence, Telstra has warned of longer wait times for customers contacting them by phone or online messaging.
Telstra will be ramping up staff numbers in Australia and India to make up for the shortfall.
That means asking staff to work from home, increasing overtime and extra shifts for Australian workers, and diverting sales calls to stores.
The staff shortage will not have any impact on E000 emergency calls.
"Our call centres across Australia and India continue to operate and take enquiries," a Telstra spokesperson said in a statement.
"We will be prioritising Medical Priority Assist enquiries, as well as high risk cases.
"We know how frustrating this can be. We're doing everything we can to improve the situation and thank our customers for their patience."
Telstra stores remain open if customers want to sort out an issue person-to-person.
The company asks that customers only visit the store if they are feeling well and are not under any COVID-19 self-isolation criteria.
Yesterday Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire island of Luzon under quarantine until April 12.
"Only establishments that provide services like food and medicine shall be open," Mr Duterte said.
Luzon has a population of 57 million and is home to the capital of Manila.
There have been 142 cases of coronavirus in the Philippines, and 12 deaths.
Worldwide, more than 180,000 people have been confirmed to have COVID-19, or coronavirus.
At least 7119 people have died from the disease, with Italy's death toll rapidly closing in on that of the Chinese province of Hubei.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Telstra Incorporated is a global provider of advanced communications services to multinational corporations.
Published: Wednesday, March 18, 2020
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