Sydney, Australia, July 9, 2020 -- Telstra is keeping its inbound call centres in Australia even after the coronavirus pandemic subsides, with all inbound calls to be answered locally by the end of fiscal 2022.
Having been forced to temporarily shutter its call centre operations in the Philippines and India as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, Telstra had to add 3500 extra staff to fortify its Australian centres.
Telstra boss Andrew Penn said that the loss of the overseas centres had forced the telco to review how to best tackle customer complaints and the changes instituted at the start of the pandemic will now stay in place.
"While we have managed to move a large amount of this work online and to Australia, we are very conscious of the impact it has had and is still having on some of our customers in trying to contact us," he said at a Trans Tasman Business Circle event.
"There is no doubt therefore that this is the right time to also be thinking differently about our customer service in the future. Of the things that we have implemented temporarily to help us through this period, what can we make permanent?
"Our aspiration is that by the end of our T22 program all in-bound calls from these customers to us will be answered in Australia," Mr Penn said.
However, the overall composition of the Australian call centre workforce is expected to be substantially smaller, with Telstra keen on customers using digital options, like its 'My Telstra' app.
While Telstra declined to disclose the total number of call centres at its disposal locally, Mr Penn said that more than 70 per cent of the telco's customers were using digital options.
Meanwhile, Telstra's offshore call centre footprint could also be curtailed, with fewer operators needed in the Philippines and India to manage the digital chat and messaging channels.
Telstra also announced that it had become Australia's first fully 'carbon neutral' telco, with Mr Penn saying it had to rely on overseas carbon reduction projects to hit its target ahead of schedule.
The telco announced plans to become the country’s first carbon neutral telco by the end of the year in March, and Mr Penn said it had already received the formal certification from the federal government's Climate Active Program.
However, he said Telstra hadn’t been able to source all of the necessary carbon credits in Australia. "Our experience has been that it is extremely difficult to purchase carbon offsets from projects located in Australia."
"This is something that needs to be addressed because what it says is that there are not enough projects contributing to a reduction in greenhouse emissions."
The telco's overall climate commitments also include reducing its absolute emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 and run all of its operations on renewable energy by 2025.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Telstra Incorporated is a global provider of advanced communications services to multinational corporations.
Published: Friday, July 10, 2020
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