Telstra’s back end to burn churn

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Telecommunications giant Telstra expects to lower customer churn levels, reduce costs and improve margins through its recent investments in its back-end billing and CRM systems, chief executive Ziggy Switkowski said.

Addressing the company's annual general meeting, Switkowski outlined the ongoing roll-out of Telstra's new “customer-centric” infrastructure, which has included the commissioning of its $35 million Teradata data warehouse and the ongoing implementation of its front office customer relationship management (CRM) system.

Switkowski said the company's ability to bundle different service offerings, while employing the improved technology to better understand its millions of individual customers, would gave it the platform to take advantage of the billions it has already invested in “digitising” its network infrastructure.

“When executed well, offering bundles of products from our wireline, wireless, ISP and PayTV businesses, and invoicing on an integrated single bill, leads to much higher levels of customer satisfaction, lower churn, improved costs and solid margins,” Switkowski said.

“It is a powerful formula that able to be implemented once the appropriate investment is made in IT systems, and new generation of customer relationship management processes, which are progressively being put in place at Telstra,” he said.

The company announced its $35 million relationship with Teradata a year ago, and said it had switched on the first phase of the data warehouse project to support its CRM operation in June.

As part of the its IT infrastructure program, Telstra signed an enterprise agreement with Portal Software to roll out a new billing system that will allow to present a single bill to customers of multiple products.

The new customer-centric infrastructure would play an important role in “enhancing the brand and reputation of the enterprise”, Switkowski said.

Meanwhile, Zwitkowski told the meeting that Telstra expects to surpass one million broadband customers during the 2005 calendar year, more than four times its current number of subscribers.

Switkowski said Telstra's investment in recent years in digitising its network and extending the internet protocol to the out reaches of its infrastructure would continue to drive growth.

“There is a growing suite of services and applications yet to be explored and adopted by our customers,” Switkowski said.

“Subscriptions to our broadband services are building, and we've forecast one million subscribers in the 2005 year,” he said.

The company said in late July that it had about 175,000 subscribers and at that time had the capability at that time to process about 17,000 new connections per month.

Since that time, Telstra has boosted its ability to add new broadband subscribers.

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