Sunday, May 25, 2008

Telstra - waiting for action

Here are two photos of the Telstra exchange in Five Dock - the area facing the street has been nicely done over by the local louts.  

I spent a fruitless 15 minutes searching the Telstra web site looking for someone to tell about this.  The website lists plenty of contacts if you want to organise a phone line or an ADSL service, but there is nothing about actually contacting the company.  I tried reading annual reports and that sort of thing in an effort to find someone to contact.

No joy.

I have no idea where I eventually got this contact info from, but I wrote a letter addressed thus:


20 April 2008 

Mr Sol Trujillo



242 Exhibition Street

Melbourne VIC 2000

Dear Mr Trujillo

 Vandalised Telstra exchange in Five Dock, Sydney 

I am writing to you because it is unclear from your website who I should be addressing this to. 

The Telstra exchange building on Great North Road, Five Dock, NSW has been extensively vandalised with graffiti.  Please arrange to have it cleaned up.  It looks like a crack den, which is a poor reflection on your company. 

Yours sincerely



That was put into a letter box over a month ago, and I still haven't had a response.  That makes Telstra the slowest responding organisation that I have dealt with to date.  I haven't been past the exchange for over a week, so they might have done something about it and not contacted me yet (assuming that they will contact me at all)....... or they might be confused about this paper thing that has arrived via snail mail - Telstra being a high tech company and all that.  

Some might say that I should have contacted them via one of their call centres, but I have had enough dealings with their call centres on both a personal and professional level to know that calling Telstra on the phone is an exercise in frustration and frequently a waste of breath.  The organisation is so large and disjointed and specialised that I would probably have been bounced from call centre to call centre in a futile search for someone that deals with vandalism of Telstra property - that's happened to me before when I've called them about a data line problem.

I've still got about 20 stamps left, and I've put an entry in my diary to hit them again next week if they haven't done something about it.  

I find it fascinating that we often accuse government agencies of being slow, useless bureaucracies, but on the whole, most of those that I have contacted have been as quick to respond as private companies, and all have beaten Telstra by a country mile.

The problem Telstra has with these exchanges is that none of them are staffed anymore.  They probably don't have a real, warm-blooded Telstra employee within miles of any of them.  Everything is done remotely, so no one from the company walks in the front door any more, looks around the building and thinks, "This looks terrible - I'd better get it fixed".  Even if someone does front up to do some work, chances are they are a contractor, and they won't give a fig about how the place looks - it's not their problem, and they certainly won't be bothered to report it to anyone at Telstra.

Telstra is therefore probably quite dependent on the neighbours reporting problems with their exchanges.  If they had any sense, they'd letter drop the neighbours and give them a fridge magnet with a number to call in case of problems, and perhaps even send them a voucher for something every time they reported a problem.  But of course they don't.  There is no one left inside Telstra to give a bugger about these buildings any more - they've all been downsized, outsourced, rightsized, re-organised and retrenched, so it's over to us to beat Telstra over the head until they fix it.

There is no "somebody" at Telstra when it comes to somebody else's problem - the staff have all been taken out by a management neutron bomb.  So make it your problem to get it fixed.

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