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Highlights
  • Once detractors, the Reject Shop is now an enthusiastic advocate for Telstra, thanks to substantial improvements to customer service.
  • Telstra senior account executive George Vitsentzos says the Reject Shop’s story is “not a one-off” but part of a positive trend.
  • A successful service philosophy is “to treat every customer as if it’s my own business”.
  • The Reject Shop’s chief information officer, Darren O’Connor, says the big change he sees on the ground is more efficient field workflow management.
  • The Reject Shop says these shifts have “changed the nature of the conversation with Telstra” to boost productivity.

National discount retail chain The Reject Shop is embracing new opportunities as the result of improved Telstra customer service.

With 337 stores to keep track of, the chief information officer of The Reject Shop, Darren O’Connor, needs business partners and suppliers onside and ready to help.

This is why he was particularly happy when one of his largest suppliers, Telstra, restructured its service delivery to become far more responsive to customer needs.

“We’d open a new store, and order broadband, ISDN and EFTPOS, and there’d be a technician for each service, and each technician had to speak to the site supervisor, get an occupational health and safety induction, do the installation work, then we’d inspect it and check all the documents,” O’Connor says. “It added so much delay to everything, and you’d be petrified that you’d be opening the store without EFTPOS.”

Pink flower

O’Connor’s main frustration was that delays in infrastructure deliveries left newly opened stores without the technology they needed to serve their customers.

“Can you imagine, you’ve spent all this money on marketing, you’ve got this big opening and then customers can’t use EFTPOS?” asks O’Connor. “In one particular store, in Melbourne, we didn’t get EFTPOS working until 8.45 am on the opening day.”

Change for the better

Fortunately, those days are gone. Now, thanks to more efficient field workforce management systems, one technician carries out all the installation work in one visit. This means much less stress for O’Connor and his colleagues. It has also changed the nature of the company’s relationship with Telstra.

“Rather than spending every account meeting talking about problems or delays or complications, we can talk about how the business is doing, where it’s heading, and where the opportunities are to add value to the business,” O’Connor says. “Whether it be adding new services or lowering the cost or improving the reliability of existing services.”

female in supermarket

“Rather than spending every account meeting talking about problems or delays or complications, we can talk about how the business is doing, where it’s heading, and where the opportunities are to add value to the business.”

Darren O’Connor, Chief Information Officer, The Reject Shop

Win-win strategy

Telstra’s senior account manager for the The Reject Shop, George Vitsentzos, is also delighted by the opportunity to work more strategically with customers.

“The changes have allowed us to have much more productive conversations, rather than spending our whole time trying to put out fires,” he says. “We’re talking to the company at the moment about things like how we can help them with their marketing strategy and how they can use mobile technology to increase their loyal customer base and provide them with information about specials.”

From being detractors, The Reject Shop is now a Telstra advocate – meaning it would recommend Telstra to friends, family or business contacts

.“What we’ve seen in the last four or five years is a step change in behaviour,” O’Connor says. “These things are very difficult to measure, and you can’t see them in a bottom line, but I feel sure that ultimately the improvement in service delivery has helped our business.”

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