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Level 1: Cadet

Bizarre Online Ordering Experience

We are a conventionl family: husband (me) and wife +  kids.  We have a Telstra home bundle: phone, ADSL, T-Hub,  several mobiles.  The Telstra account is in my wife's name, a bad mistake, in hindsight, to have made 20 years ago, by being overseas on business at the time we moved house and signed up to our home account.  We had tried to put it in joint names 6 years ago when we moved house again, but the Telstra computer couldn't digest a change in account name.   Telstra was not able to accept marriage as a legitimate institution!

 

Over the past 20 years we would have spent up to $50K with Telstra and paid every monthly bill on time.  

 

As each child leaves high school, we have taken them off the bundle and they have to get their own phone account and pay for it - this is aimed at teaching them about budget responsibility and being independent.

 

I made a grave error in trying to pre-order a new Telstra iPhone 7 online when they were announced by Apple.  I answerred each question accurately, giving my current contact details but including wanting to attach my iphone plan to the home bundle.  

 

What followed was bizarre:

  • email confirmation of the order was received by me at my Bigpond email address - all normal - and I was in the waiting list for the new iphone 7
  • my son (who hasn't been on the home bundle for 9 months) started receiving odd SMS messages about my order.  He thought they were junk, so ignored them.  More SMS and phone calls to him followed, so I called back.  It appears that this part of Telstra still thought he was on the home bundle.  9 months out of date seems too long.
  • Online Sales (Asian call centre) questioned my authority to add this iphone order to the home bundle and advised the order was stopped.  I have had authority for 20 years.  I put my wife on the phone, standing nearby, and she confirmed she approved this order.
  • Then a stream of SMS to my mobile from Telstra Control Group.  Same issue about my authority to act on the account.  They said I didn't have authority, notwithstanding all the Telstra interactions I have managed for our household over the last 20 years.  It galls me to be assumed to be a crook with all the business we have placed with Telstra over the years.  I have also placed $M's of business with Telstra in my business roles.
  • Control Group over several days of to and fro SMS and phone calls, contacted my wife, to have the same phone call that Online Sales had previously
  • Control Group then wanted my wife's driver licence number.  But we had moved interstate 20 years ago and they had the old one still.  In  the move interstate, multiple times moving house in our new State, signing up ADSL plans, new mobiles etc over 20 years online and in Telstra shops, no one in Telstra had ever wanted a drivers licence.  20 years out of date seems unreasonably long.
  • Control Group then said that the order continued to be stopped until my wife went into a Telstra shop to show her drivers licence.
  • My wife, exploding with anger, cancelled the order and let them have her views on their treatment of customers
  • I got one of those utterly polite emails confirming the order had been cancelled, because "we can't authenticate the information you've provided through our online shop".  Bizarre, given the 20 year duration of our loyalty, the amount of business we have done and our answering every question they asked accurately and honestly.

I am deeply frustrated that an organsiation which has such a fine network and technical capability can go to such lengths to alienate loyal customers.  If there was another telco that had comparable rural coverage, we would change.

 

My wife and I will now go to the local Telstra shop nest week when I am back home, place an order for a new iphone 7 (no doubt right down the end of the queue now) and attach it to our home bundle.  We expect to deal with a helpful Telstra person, no older than our children, who will do everything on the spot.

 

Lessons learned:

  1. Telstra doesn't appear to recognise marriage or family groups who live together in one household.  It only recognises one individual name as a customer.
  2. Each department of Telstra has a different version of the data base saying who you are.  At least one of these is 20 years out of date.
  3. Never, never order anything online unless you are paying by credit card.  Telstra credit risk processes can't realistically handle anything more than this.  Telstra ought to say this up front.
  4. Never, never order anything online unless every phone, internet connection and service is in your individual name and your name only
  5. Telstra needs to get realistic that customers like us (and millions of others) are not bad credit risks or crooks trying to rip them off.  If Telstra needs to know about drivers licences, passports, and other identifiers, they should ask perriodically, particularly when they know better than any other organisation when people move address, change States, travel etc
  6. Telstra Departments need to ask a question once, and not have Sales, Control and other departments act as independent businesses asking the same question multiple times.
  7. The whole purpose of having online ordering is to reduce traffic to Telstra shops and cut staff time spent processing routine orders. The amount of time they will have spent with us on this order will have negated a large amount of those savings.  

I am very pleased to report that the service we got from a Telstra technician who repaired a network problem in the street was first class after our ADSL failed, and the Telstra mobile network is one of the best in the world, but the customer service given to us has been an eye opener in how poorly a big company can treat a multi-decade, but standard domestic Australian customer.  

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1 REPLY 1
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Level 24: Supreme Being
Level 24: Supreme Being

Re: Bizarre Online Ordering Experience

1. Telstra doesn't appear to recognise marriage or family groups who live together in one household.  It only recognises one individual name as a customer.

 

No, all of the accounts are allocated to a single person, they can have authorised representatives, however that one person is the one who is legally repsonsible for the account. 

 

2. Each department of Telstra has a different version of the data base saying who you are.  At least one of these is 20 years out of date.

 

My understanding is that with the exeption of a handful of very old accounts almost all residential accounts are managed with the same CRM which is what the staff should all be accessing. So they should all have the same information. 

 

3. Never, never order anything online unless you are paying by credit card.  Telstra credit risk processes can't realistically handle anything more than this.  Telstra ought to say this up front.

 

My understanding is that the online ordering system actually gets validated and confirmed by a specialised team, so as long as the standard credit assessment information (which is the same as the check they would do in store or by phone based on my understanding) is all good it should be good.

 

4. Never, never order anything online unless every phone, internet connection and service is in your individual name and your name only

 

As long as you are a full authority it should go through without a problem. I have previously palced online orders on accounts that I am a full authority on and they have gone through. However, there are multiple levels of authority and only full authority is able to order new services or recontract existing services and a lot of people are added as limited authority instead, which will let you make minor changes and check accounts and the like but not connect, recontract or disconnect a service. 

 

When you are in the store, I would suggest getting them to double check your authority level, because if it is pretty much anything other than Full Authority you will have these sorts of issues. If it is Full Authority well then you should have had no issues whatsoever.

 

5. Telstra needs to get realistic that customers like us (and millions of others) are not bad credit risks or crooks trying to rip them off.  If Telstra needs to know about drivers licences, passports, and other identifiers, they should ask perriodically, particularly when they know better than any other organisation when people move address, change States, travel etc

 

Sadly this is more to do with the nature of the society we live in and their requirements under the array of their legal requirements. They also have to try and negate people who collect information and pretend to be people so they can fraudulantly obtain things.

 

6. Telstra Departments need to ask a question once, and not have Sales, Control and other departments act as independent businesses asking the same question multiple times.

 

YES, ALL OF THE YES. It is one of the stupidest things... I hate having to say the same thing over and over and reexplaining myself. 

 

7. The whole purpose of having online ordering is to reduce traffic to Telstra shops and cut staff time spent processing routine orders. The amount of time they will have spent with us on this order will have negated a large amount of those savings.  

 

Sadly, when it goes wrong... it goes wrong... The service when it is good is good, but when it goes wrong it is a nightmare...so much much much room for improvement though....

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Previously worked with a Telstra Partner however I am not a Telstra Employee, just a fellow customer helping when I can.

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