Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Telstra bill revamp stumbles

Any deviation from routine is deadly with Telstra. Big bureaucracies just cannot handle change without major trauma

DEALERS from one of Telstra's largest reseller networks are complaining that the telco's new customer billing platform is only successfully processing 5 per cent of customer migrations to the new system.

The other 95 per cent must be manually processed, claimed a dealer from a Telstra reseller network with more than 100 stores in its footprint.

Whenever a customer is upgraded to Telstra's new Siebel customer billing platform the system "errors out", the dealer said.

The Telstra dealer declined to have its name or the name of the dealer network published for fear Telstra would revoke its dealer licence.

"So far we have found that if a customer's details have been migrated to Siebel, chances are they cannot leave the store with their upgraded contract on their first visit," the dealer said.

"In the meantime the customer is in limbo and can't be upgraded.

"When we finally get the customer unstuck from the system and entered properly, we find that the sale hasn't been credited to the Telstra dealer," the dealer said.

It is understood that more than 9000 Telstra customers are waiting to be moved to the new system as a result of errors in the migration process.

The dealer said one customer had been without a new mobile phone service for almost two months.

Another dealer, which also declined to be named, said some of its customers had been without mobile phone services for four weeks.

"It can take three phone calls a day and sometimes up to 30 working days, for someone at Telstra to sort out the problem and get the customers unstuck from the system," the dealer said.

The high error rate is causing lengthy connection delays for customers and is also hitting dealers where it hurts most -- in their revenue.

On the previous billing system, rebates for phones, sales commissions, and airtime were all triggered for automatic payment, but dealers are saying this is not the case with the new Siebel platform.

"In most cases the correct dealer code is not applied automatically, so the dealer does not get their proper payments, nor do they get the airtime," one dealer said.

"It has left us out of pocket by about $5000 since the system came in.

"Once Telstra moves over the smaller business customers it's just going to snowball, and that's not even taking into account the airtime we are missing."

Telstra dealers receive revenue from airtime commissions.

Airtime is calculated over the life of a customer's contract.

It provides revenue based on a percentage of a customer's phone use. Telstra declined to comment on the progress of its customer migration to the new billing system or whether dealers would be compensated for loss of airtime.

"As we have reiterated a number of times this is a large, complex program and inevitably we are changing the way our front-of-house staff and dealers access the information to better serve customers," a Telstra spokesperson said.

"This necessitates changes in processes and behaviour and these changes take some time to become routine, however we can assure you that our program is on track."

Telstra's migration to the new customer billing platform forms a major part of chief executive Sol Trujillo's $12 billion transformation project, which is aimed at reducing complexity and cost.

The customer billing system project has already missed its self-imposed June 30 deadline.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Telstra quick to name you as a bad debtor

Post taken from "Not good enough"

We recently had a dispute over a new internet connection with Telstra. It basically didn't work from the word go and they kept not turning up to repair it. We notified them we didn't want the service anymore as they couldnt provide it.

In a nutshell they demanded their money & we refused. We asked for their dispute resolution process which they slowly put us through and wasted a lot of time. We finally got final notices and put our official explanation in as to why we hadn't paid ra ra ra.

We were awaitng a reply. Next thing I get a phone call from our bank saying we have been knocked back for our new home loan due to a default credit note on our credit rating listing. Without notice Telstra had placed us on there.

After frantic calls we got to a senior Telstra person who was great -- removed the debt as he concurred with our explantion. He also directed Dun and Bradstreet to remove us from their listing as we should not have been placed on it.

Sounds like all is well. Wrong. Dun & Bradstreet inform us although the debt was cleared we will remain on their credit check list for 5 years as we are deemed to have had a incident regarding credit.

We believe we haven't been given a fair go and Telstra's processes are to blame. I thought you were innocent until proven guilty.

We also have found with another disputed bill from another supplier B.O.C. industrial gases that they will also put you on the credit list if you refuse to pay their bill for whatever reason.

So it seems a new trend. No process just bang them on the credit list with no independent ruling or arbitration.


Later posts on the thread offer advice on how to correct the situation

Friday, September 5, 2008

More Telstra/Bigpond arrogance

It used to be routine that when you signed up with an ISP, you got a few extras as well as internet access. In particular you got help and hosting for a homepage plus some webspace for putting up files. More recently, a facility for creating and hosting a blog has become common. Telstra has provided all 3 of those to their users for some time. But no more! They have unilaterally and without notice decided to withdraw all but the blogging facility!

And that facility is a poor one. I used to make some use of it but they often seemed to turn it off at night! Since night-time in Australia is daylight in lots of other places, that was no good to me and I abandoned it.

Sadly, the way they can get away with such contemptuous treatment of their customers is that their many much smaller competitors are pretty bad too. Their competitors are cheaper than Telstra but the service can be even worse than Telstra as far as I can tell. The setup used to be that the little guys competed on price and Telstra competed on quality. Telstra provided the better and more reliable service at a premium price. Now they all seem to be crap. If a quality ISP pops up somewhere I will dump Telstra.

And the ISP part of the Telstra service is high-handed too. My service is a cable one and it was out of action for nearly two days recently. That is a LONG time to fix a cable fault. And enquiring about when it might come good was extremely frustrating. The answer you get on their technical enquiry line is a type of answering machine which assumes that any problem is the fault of the customer, not the fault of Telstra. So they make you go through a whole rigamarole of checking your modem etc and assume at the end of it that you are back on air. There is NO facility to tell them that their fixes did not solve the problem! Amazing.