Telstra forms new business units, makes new appointments

The telco wants to strengthen its commitment to improve customer service and to prepare for its role in the NBN

Telstra has added some new business units and announced three new appointments to further fortify its commitment to improve customer service as well as to prepare for its role in the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Australia’s biggest telco had long been suffered from a reputation when it came to customer service. This was recognised in recent years and Telstra worked on a strategy to increase sales and customer satisfaction at the same time.

“We have made considerable progress over the past two years, especially in the nine months to March 2011 when more than one million Australians returned to Telstra,” the company’s CEO, David Thodey, said in a statement.

The telco has decided to combine its sales and retail customer service teams together to form the Telstra Customer Sales and Service division from August 1.

It will be lead by the Gordon Ballantyne under the new title of chief customer officer.

Heads of the company’s business, enterprise and government segments will report to Ballantyne and will be members of an extended CEO leadership team.

The aim of a unified division is to better serve customers, win market share and improve efficiencies as Telstra prepares for the NBN.

Telstra has also formed an applications and ventures group division as content and value-added services become increasingly important once the NBN comes into play.

As the NBN’s goal is to level the playing-field for ISPs, the competition will rely heavily on differentiation through additional service offerings beyond just a broadband connection.

The group will be headed by Deena Shiff who will step down from her current role as Telstra’s business group managing director. She had spoken at a presentation on how to tackle the “information revolution” at the Australian Chambers Business Congress last month.

“Telstra’s Applications and Ventures Group will invest and partner with other companies and government agencies at the forefront of innovation to provide a new range of digital services for business and consumers, including in health and education,” Thodey said in a statement.

Former Telstra group general counsel, Will Irving, will take over from Shiff as head of Telstra Business. His replacement has yet to be announced.

Stuart Lee has been named as Telstra wholesale group managing director and will lead his team as NBN Co effectively becomes one of the company’s biggest wholesale customers.

Telstra and NBN Co finalised a historic $11 billion deal last month that still awaits shareholders’ approval in October.

Under the agreement, NBN Co will be able to use select parts of Telstra’s infrastructure as well as ducts for 35 years.

Along with the new business groups and appointments, the telco has streamlined internal operations and business support functions.

In line with its cloud computing push, the telco has established teams specifically to support growth in cloud computing.

Telstra’s international business unit is now responsible for managing network assets that serve international enterprise and carrier clients. All behind-the-scenes services for consumer customers is now in the hands of Telstra’s operations business unit. This makes it easier to track the telco’s operational performance.