Telco issues run deeper than NBN: Macquarie Telecom

In light of today’s TIO report, Macquarie Telecom believes the issues in the telco industry run much deeper than the NBN, and Group Executive Luke Clifton believes we should “demand to know” what specific actions individual businesses will take to lower consumer complaints, and then hold them to it before the industry ends up facing its own Royal Commission.

The Telecoms Industry Ombudsman (NBN) report released today has led to huge criticism of the NBN, but shining a light on the data reveals that the practices being used within the telecoms industry to date are not working, and we can’t just blame the NBN for that.

The Ombudsman Judi Jones herself this morning on television said that she is more concerned with the three-quarters of complaints not related to the NBN.

Collective punishment through sweeping rule and regulation changes is not the answer now – it has never worked in other industries.

The Financial Services Royal Commission has been exposing the lazy systems and sharp customer practices of an industry dominated by too few large companies. The system failed despite tight regulation and pages and pages of industry-specific consumer protection rules.

It’s time to put the responsibility back to individual businesses and demand to know what specific actions they will take to lower consumer complaints, and then hold them to those commitments. Like banking, it is the more competitive ‘challenger businesses’ in the telecoms industry which are bucking the trend and setting the bar with better customer service.

These are the companies that make it their business to understand and care about their customers and organise themselves to deliver great service because that is how they grow. The heavyweights in telco aren’t trying to grow their already-dominant customer base because between them the top three have close to 90 per cent of the market.

Instead, they are trying to extract every dollar from those they already have, which means taking the knife to in-house services like sending customer-facing roles off-shore. This is why generic, industry-wide rules don’t work and never will.

Forcing those who are the worst offenders to fix their own problems, and then holding their feet to the fire, is the only short-term solution, and potentially the beginning of solving the deep issues of the industry before it faces its own Royal Commission.

Luke Clifton, Group Executive at Macquarie Telecom

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