Monday, October 09, 2006

You Blog on the Telstra Corporate Blog Honestly, You are Fired!

This may have happened to Tom Reynolds at Telstra in Australia. He wrote an entry on the corporate blog of Telstra advocating openness in corporate communications.
1. Tell the truth. The whole truth. Nothing but the truth. If your competitor has a product that's better than yours, link to it. You might as well. We'll find it anyway.

I’m not really a products guy. Trying to get me to tell the truth about what’s best and what’s not isn’t really going to work - I have no idea because really I’m a facilitator. I work out whom and what can help a business/customer and then I go and do it.

But it can be frustrating. News flash! I get bounced too! Sometimes I am on my third “hand ball” before I get the person I want. I’m not ignorant - I know who and what, but sometimes departments here have allowed a culture of “duck and cover” to rule them. Personally I think the new idea of “One Click, One Touch, One Telstra” is fine- in theory, but there will need to be more than just a fancy jingo and a series of cool new ads. We need to look at what we rate as important and make it happen.

One of the issues that constantly comes up is product knowledge. Products and features are increasing exponentially while internal knowledge grows at a slower rate. Despite an understandable desire on the part of customers to have their issue solved by the first person to answer their call, it is impossible to be across every product and every feature and every problem that said items might have. (If you do have such knowledge- you are ready for account/project management- not frontline staff work!) Sometimes staff members try to do too much to avoid hand balling a customer and make a situation worse rather than passing the customer on to the right area. What I would like to see is the Customer Service staff, when stumped by an issue, pass the customer on but stay on the line with them. This will serve two purposes: it will show that they are not just hand balling it for “lazy” reasons and by listening in; they will expand their knowledge and make sure people go to the right department next time.
And then we get to hear (unconfirmed and likely to remain so?) that he got fired over this post.
Tom Reynolds rang me this morning to tell me he was available to work on some TPN projects over the next couple of weeks as he’d been sacked from Telstra this morning. Co-incidentally, Tom wrote this blog post only two days ago quoting Robert Scoble’s Corporate Weblog Manifesto and saying from now on he was going to be more open and honest in his blogging.
The story is now at the front page of News.com.au.

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