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james clarke

More outages: Telstra's woes continue

Telstra customers have experienced further outages over the last week as Telstra’s network problems continue. 

The most recent network failures have affected fixed services, rather than mobiles, with an estimated 375,000 ADSL and NBN customers experiencing loss of service on Friday 20 May. 

Only the day before, CEO Andy Penn had told an audience that Telstra still had much to do to improve customer service. Indeed.

The increasingly complex demands made on modern telecommunications networks is increasing the likelihood of such failures, which aren’t confined to Telstra. 

TPG-owned iiNet, for many years a leader in industry customer satisfaction surveys, experienced a major outage on 18 May, just a few days before Telstra. 

In both cases, customer anger was inflamed by the subsequent delays in reaching customer contact staff, as the volume of calls overwhelmed contact centres. In the case of iiNet/TPG this appears to have been in part a systems problem. But more fundamentally, the capacity of telcos to respond to customers in these circumstances is a resourcing issue. 

Customers, especially those paying premium rates for a supposedly superior service, don’t want to be left waiting on the line for 3 hours before they can speak to customer service. 

The experience of recent months suggests that Telstra - and other carriers – will need to review their contact centre staffing policies if they want to retain customers.

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