Union slams staff threats over poor customer service, Optus CEO refuses to back down

Union slams staff threats over poor customer service, Optus CEO refuses to back down

CEO criticised by union over sacking staff instead of focusing on better service delivery

Allen Lew (Optus)

Allen Lew (Optus)

Credit: Optus

Optus CEO Allen Lew has been criticised by the telecommunications union after a report that he would've threatened staff who made customers unhappy.

According to a Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) report, a staff member said Lew told staff that if they made customers unhappy they would be sacked.

The CEPU Communications Union said the statement has crossed the line, and is a sign of how "out of touch" the CEO is with the real issues impacting the telco.

According to the SMH, Lew conducts weekly Friday meetings with staff in its Macquarie Park office, which are streamed to offices in Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth.

"Our CEO, Allen Lew, is passionate about customer service and in a recent address to staff did not sugar coat his bitter disappointment regarding Optus’ performance in a recent annual TIO complaints report," said Andrew Sheridan, vice president regulatory and public affairs at Optus.

The telecommunications union said the threats on workers trying to do their jobs is outrageous.

“These workers are on the frontline, dealing everyday with customers irate over their billing issues and the chronic under-investment in the Optus network,” said Shane Murphy, CEPU Communications Union national president.

“Optus workers are just as frustrated as customers are with how the telco is currently being run," Murphy said.

Murphy suggested that Lew should focus more on ensuring the telecommunications provider is delivering the services it promises to customers instead of "sacking chunks of the workforce every few months" Optus might be in a better position.

“If it weren’t so serious, it would be laughable," he added. "How Allen Lew can think it’s acceptable to beam his face onto screens across the country and threaten workers like this beggars belief.

"Optus workers are just trying to do their jobs under very difficult circumstances. Of course customers are unhappy – they’re unhappy because rather than improving Optus services management at the telco is more focused on axing jobs and threatening staff."

Meanwhile, Sheridan said the telco has invested "heavily" to deliver a premium mobile network and value plans.

However, as Optus was the second telco with the highest number of complaints in the latest TIO report, the telco need to lift its game if it wants to lead in customer service.

"Our reinvigorated focus on the customer includes making all staff accountable for customer service and experience," Sheridan added.

"Allen expects every Optus employee to be clear that we are all answerable to our customers, and that we are all responsible for delivering exceptional customer experience, not just those interacting with customers through stores and call centres.

"We’ve acknowledged that complaints from Optus customers in the past year are unacceptably high and we have committed to address this and have implemented a range of customer focussed initiatives across Optus which we expect will further improve customer experience and service."

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