From a marketing perspective I’ve always been interested in customer experience and perception. I’ve found that companies can be quite egotistical in their approach to their customers. They often forget that what the customer feels or wants is far more important than how good they feel about their product or how great their company is.
I recently visited the Telstra store in the Bondi Junction Mall in Sydney to purchase a Telstra pre-paid SIM Card. Having looked on their website, I knew exactly what I wanted.
I was pressed for time but there were about 8 Telstra people in the shop so I imagined that I would be served rather quickly. I chose my pre-paid SIM Card package from the display stand and went to the counter to pay for it. Imagine my surprise when having handed over a 50 dollar note to pay for my purchase, the person behind the counter told me that he was busy and that I would have to wait.
I was then approached by another Telstra person – this one carrying a clipboard. Assuming that they were going to ask me to complete a survey, I said I was somewhat pressed for time but all I wanted to do was to buy this SIM Card. They told me this wasn’t a survey, but could I please give them my name so that they could put me in a queue for service. I said that all I wanted to do was to pay for the product I’d just got from the display.
No – that was not possible – I wasn’t able to buy anything until my name was called and there would be a 20 minute wait – so could I go away and come back later!
Guess what happened next?
I went away as instructed and popped into the Optus shop next door where I was warmly welcomed and within 5 minutes had purchased and activated a new prepaid Optus SIM card with absolutely no hassle.
This leads me to pose an obvious question.
Is it Telstra’s policy to make it difficult for customers to purchase your products. Should we as customers feel that Telstra is doing us a favour?
It’s certainly appears that way.
What is more disappointing about this experience is that, having discontinued my phone and internet relationship with Telstra three years ago because of their customer service and pricing policies, I was hoping that the new Telstra would be different and was seriously considering coming back. After all their NextG service has wonderful coverage and their pricing plans for data have now become more competitive.
Sadly my recent experience has confirmed that the way Telstra treats its customers is still antediluvian – particularly for a company that is at the forefront of technology.
They might want to take a look at how Apple handles its retail business – not perfect but streets ahead of Telstra.