Telstra has a great heritage but its company’s customer service and retention strategies are critical for its future growth, company CEO David Thodey says.
David Thodey has announced he’ll step down as Telstra CEO, to be replaced by Andrew Penn.
Under Thodey’s leadership Telstra’s reputation for customer service has been vastly improved. He joined the company as head of its mobile division in 2001 and has had a razor-sharp focus on customers during his time at the top which has helped the company defend its position as the dominant mobile provider in Australia.
In a LinkedIn post last year, Thodey outlined what he expected as a customer of any service company. It’s instructive for any business leader thinking about how they approach customer relationships.
“For Telstra we know if we don’t reinvent ourselves, if we don’t continue to innovate in some way that our customers will tell us and they’ll leave us and when they leave us we don’t have a business,” he said last year.
Thodey said customer demands and expectations are shifting in line with technology and because of that companies need to carefully consider the channels of interaction.
“When I’m the customer, I’m not thinking so much about whether the channel is digital or physical; I just want it to work,” he said.
He goes on to outline the three things he expects as a customer.
1. He’s not looking for friendship.
Like anybody I appreciate courtesy but good manners should not make up for not getting the basics right. I know that’s hard when you are dealing with complexity but when I’m the customer that is your problem and not mine. Make it simple and efficient to do business with me.
2. He’ll need your help when a product or service isn’t working as it should.
Be there in those times. And make it easy for me to reach out to you; please don’t force me to navigate your organization to find the person that can help me. Don’t make your problems or complexity my problem!
3. He expects you to look after his interests.
When I am the customer, I take this expectation personally. I expect to be respected as an individual, not treated as part of a segment, and I want and expect a genuine and authentic interaction.
You can read the full post on LinkedIn.
This is an updated version of a post that first appeared in October 2014.
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