News : Telstra Working on ‘Uber-like’ System to Improve Calls
June 20, 2014 -- Telstra will use digital channels to improve the efficiency and customer service offered by its field technicians as part of its next customer service push.
Telstra’s head of digital Gerd Schenkel said that the telco is looking to create a system similar to ride-sharing service Uber to better connect its field engineers with its customers.
Work has already started on drafting out this initiative, with Schenkel confirming that an initial release will be rolled out as early as next year. However, Schenkel added that Telstra is still examining what features and functionalities will make it into the initial release of the new service.
Typically, Telstra customers have to arrange a service call for a faulty fixed-line network through the telco’s service centre. The customer is then given a four-hour window for the engineer’s arrival at their home or business. Schenkel said this new service will improve this response time.
"If someone has a particular issue with their fixed services and they are home at the moment and a technician is just around the corner, and has finished a job sooner than planned, why wouldn't they just come around?" he asked.
"There will be certain number of those instances right now, every day. But we don't know them and customers don't know them. So we can't match them."
"But, if we bring all that into the cloud and allow customers to share this data, then we will find certain amount of efficiencies."
Schenkel added that the fact that part of Telstra’s field technician service is contracted out to third-party companies wouldn’t affect the implementation of such a system.
"If done correctly, they [Telstra’s contacted field technicians] will be dying to get on the program."
"It’s completely irrelevant how people [Telstra’s field engineers] are employed or paid, it’s more about whether we have a tool that makes peoples jobs easier and richer," he said.
The move comes as part of Telstra’s wider push to double down on customer service.
Over the past four years, the telco has focused on pulling more of its interactions with its customers onto digital platforms, through initiates like its live chat service and its community technical support platform, Crowdsupport.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, June 23, 2014