JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Outsourcing will deliver better service: Telstra

Date

Peter Cai, Glenda Kwek

Job cuts ... Sensis runs the Yellow Pages.

Job cuts ... Sensis runs the Yellow Pages. Photo: Craig Sillitoe CSZ

Telstra says its customers will get better service from Filipino or Indian call centre workers who will take over from many of the 648 staff the telco axed on Thursday.

The managing director of Telstra's Sensis directories business, John Allan, told BusinessDay ''the vendors that we are considering provide services for customers that go beyond our service today, such as 24/7 operations and unique technologies that assist in processing efficiencies, which they do for many directory businesses around the world''.

Earlier on Thursday, Mr Allan reportedly told union officials that ''Australians will get better customer services from Manila or India. They have better technology and innovation.''

The Community and Public Sector Union spokesman Julian Lee said the comments were made during a meeting with union officials after Telstra announced the job cuts at the ailing Sensis unit.

The cuts, which include moving 391 customer service positions to the Philippines or India, come just two weeks after the telco booked a record half-year profit of $1.6 billion.

Telstra is slashing costs to arrest falling revenues at Sensis, which was once a cash cow for the company.

It hopes to turn the struggling print-based media business, which produces the Yellow Pages and White Pages directories, into one that is better suited for the digital market.

''Until now we have been operating with an outdated print-based model - this is no longer sustainable for us,'' Mr Allan said. ''Our future is online and mobile where the vast majority of search and directory business takes place.''

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, described Telstra's decision as ''really dreadful news particularly for the staff members''.

''It's always incredibly tough when someone loses a job,'' Ms Gillard told the Adelaide radio station 5AA.

The union condemned the company's actions. ''Telstra has done well out of Australia, its profits have risen off the back of hard-working staff and loyal customers and this is how it repays them - by sending almost 400 jobs offshore,'' the union's national secretary, Nadine Flood, said.

''And to add insult to injury, we have been told that one of the reasons why they are doing so is because Australian consumers can get better customer service in the Philippines or India.''

The Sensis business has been under pressure in recent years as customers desert print for digital advertising. At Telstra's most recent half-yearly results, the unit reported a 12.6 per cent fall in revenue.

Telstra remains obliged to produce the White Pages as part of its licence conditions.

90 comments

  • Why should I support Telstra?

    Selling Telstra was a mistake IMO.

    Commenter
    Francis Allen
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    February 22, 2013, 8:12AM
    • It’s a repetitive cycle, but we keep falling for it. The government wants money, so they try to convince the public to sell an asset. The public doesn’t go for it, so the Government publicises every little mistake the company makes to justify the argument ‘if we sell it, private operators will do a better job than these incompetent public service employees.’ Then we sell the asset, all while gloating about how lazy the public service is - as they lose their jobs mind you. Then with the private operator engaged, maintenance standards drop, the services that they provide decrease and they outsource EVERYTHING overseas, to reduce their costs. Even though they’ve also increased their prices! The government doesn’t care cause they get their cut of tax. But the public get scr*wed. My bet is the next to fall in this trap is Sydney Water.

      Commenter
      Zahra
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      February 22, 2013, 9:17AM
    • Good morning Zahra.
      Oh no, not Sydney water! It seems we the people have no control at all. How many voters expected hunting to be allowed in NSW National parks???

      Commenter
      Francis Allen
      Date and time
      February 22, 2013, 9:41AM
    • All the other Telcos outsource too, so you will be phoneless if you want to boycott it.
      Optus have been doing it for years and its hurt them, their customer service is terrible, Telstra is lying to themselves if they think the same won't happen to them.

      Commenter
      Freddie
      Date and time
      February 22, 2013, 10:02AM
    • @Zahra - It's our fault. No one votes for a government on the basis that they will provide public services anymore. It's all efficiency, debt and cutting costs to the bone .. as if running a country was the same as running a low margin business.

      Commenter
      Nicho
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      February 22, 2013, 10:41AM
    • Agree with you there Francis Allen, this is a joke claiming that outsources staff will deliver better service. Do the Phillipines and India have the key to the mint when it comes to customer service? Funny that because every call I get from an overseas operator I find myself frustrated at the poor service given.

      With this being an election year and several large Australian businesses have started to move operations offshore even though posting large profits you'd think that a Labor government with the backing of the union movement would do something to promote "jobs and growth" within our country rather than allowing business to gift these jobs to other countries.

      Commenter
      El Seano
      Date and time
      February 22, 2013, 11:20AM
  • Telstra is copying the actions of the banks, make all your profit in Australia from Australian customers and then take Australian jobs and give them to foreigners who have no interest in Australia or have never paid tax here.
    At the rate of the jobs losses occuring in Australia we will all be better of moving to India or the Phillipines as there will be no tax payers to fund unemployment benefits.

    Commenter
    no way jose
    Date and time
    February 22, 2013, 8:13AM
    • It's illegal to hire a worker in Australia unless a resident or on a work visa, but these companies constantly get away with offshoring the work out for the cheap labour even though it it still providing the same direct service to australians that people here in the country were already doing that provided jobs, income etc that directly supported families and the economy here that offshoring does not. 1. No shortage of workers here. 2. This company like others are making profits so the cuts are unwarranted. 3. This is just pure greed and the government should step in to stop offshoring to make it illegal, ESPECIALLY for those companies who are doing it for fatter profits, not because they are struggling with huge losses. Absolute disgrace.

      Commenter
      Radzb
      Date and time
      February 22, 2013, 9:38AM
    • I had a service call for a mobile phone with another company during the week. The accent of the person I was speaking to was strong and often I had to ask her to slow down so I could try to understand what she was saying. That was after my second call because on the first call I wanted to speak to a supervisor and instead the phone was put down and I could hear a group of people talking in a different language and it sounded like a social conversation from the tone of the voices.

      So lets see,if I get my annual or bi-annual call for an update on my yellow pages entry I want a change of details the person cannot understand me owing to language difficulties and my paid ad ends up being wrong. Yes I know I get a proof of my add, but often the proof comes after the closing date.

      Looks like we will need a competitor to Telstra and Sensis for telephone books

      Commenter
      ccb
      Date and time
      February 22, 2013, 9:55AM
    • Well yeah, at some point there'll be no profits to be made if no-one here has a job with which to pay for phones.

      What's really galling though is the alleged "private enterprise is more innovative than the public sector" trope that gets trotted out prior to every bit of privatisation. And yet, no one's puttingt some of that $1.5 billion in profit into investing in some "unique" technology here, when you can just service it out to the Phillipines? Glad those guys are innovative at least.

      Cut costs for short term share price increases. You'll have that golden handshake long before the long-term problems cut in...

      Something deadening about Australian management culture. Visionless at least. Echoes our political class, and most of our citizenry I guess.

      Commenter
      hehe
      Date and time
      February 22, 2013, 4:17PM

More comments

Comments are now closed
Featured advertisers

Special offers

Credit card, savings and loan rates by Mozo

Executive Style