Telstra Make Big Deal About Online Customer Service

For a nice change of style from the usual 'I hate Telstra story', Telstra have decided to focus on customers (*gasp*) – rather than profit and loss statements. Today, Telstra will give customers access to a new online portal that aims to be a one-stop shop for all things plan-related.

Excuse me for my skeptism, but isn’t this exactly the same thing that competitors Vodafone, Virgin and Optus have had in place for the last year or two? For what it’s worth, Telstra’s bigwig David Thodey had this to say about the planned online renaissance:

“It will give customers the option of using their computer or mobile devices to order new services, change their plans or activate features, for instance, without having to call to speak to company representatives”

I seem to remember being able to perform similar plan and product changes with Optus for the last two years - but given their website looks like a dog's breakfast - it shouldn't be too hard to manage something slightly more ordered.

Telstra have made no apologies about their love of all things online – with the same kind of zealous enthusiasm that helped banks in the early 2000's drive essential services online and close branches. All snarky comments aside, Telstra said it aims to have 35% of all transactions performed online by 2013 – which to be honest, is probably underestimating the burgeoning interest in the space. Gus from LifeHacker tells me that Twitter is still the best way to get hold of Telstra customer service reps when you're in the fix. So it seems, Telstra is not entirely new to this space after all.

Oh and they'll open 100 Telstra shops in the next three years too - kind of nice to have a physical presence as well.

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