Bloody Telstra…

It would be nice if Telstra, who are first and foremost in the communications industry, would act like it.

Working within the Managed Services Provider environment, I’m required to liaise directly with Telstra on our client’s behalf. By far, it’s the worst part of my job. The time this consumes is incredible, especially considering how little progress I make during that time on the phone/email.

Here are some of the major problems I’ve noticed/encountered.

The “Account Manager”

The role of the Account Manager in the business and enterprise side of Telstra is to understand the topology of their clients and to answer questions. When the account manager doesn’t know the answer, they are meant to take advantage of the in-house experts who do know and get that information to the client. This sounds great, it’s unfortunate that it simply doesn’t work like this. Account Managers are often one or more (or all) of the following:

  • Uneducated/ignorant of Telstra offerings.
  • Uneducated/ignorant of the client and their topology.
  • Overloaded with accounts to manage/co-workers made redundant and their accounts redistributed to who’s left.
  • Not interested.

This causes massive delays when getting things done.

Certain requests must be routed through your account manager.

The “Back-of-House Team”

These people are the brainiacs of Telstra. The only trouble is, the general public/enterprise clients can’t make direct contact with them. Becoming a Telstra Partner is likely the only way to get direct lines of communication with the tech-heads that make things happen.

If the back-of-house team is involved, it’s always by proxy. Someone client-facing at Telstra will forward your request to the back-of-house team. This is where things go wrong, either because the client-facing employee doesn’t understand the spirit of your request, or because they don’t relay the information accurately to the brainiacs.

Complaints

With small business/individual account holders, complaining is a good way to get things sorted out. You simply go online to the Telstra complaints site and lodge your complaint. A case manager is then assigned who will often provide a more-than-fair resolution to your complaint.

Business/Enterprise accounts are different. If you have a Telstra Account Manager, this process becomes harder. The only way to lodge a complaint is THROUGH your account manager, which sounds fine at first, except in many cases the complaint is regarding the account manager directly (usually for one of the four reasons above). Very conveniently, on a few occasions, the email/contact attempt is lost in transit and nothing changes.

Sometimes the account manager will attempt to manage the customer complaint directly instead of lodging the complaint via the formal process. Clearly, there is a conflict of interest here which seems unimportant to Telstra.

It’s becoming impossible to get these jobs done, thanks to Telstra’s non-compliance and apathy.

Had a similar encounter? Let me know!

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