iiNet spares Manila call centre

iiNet spares Manila call centre

Summary: A former AAPT Manila-based call centre in the Philippines now managed by internet service provider iiNet has been given a new lease of life due to a dramatic turn around in its customer complaints handling.


A former AAPT Manila-based call centre in the Philippines now managed by internet service provider iiNet has been given a new lease of life due to a dramatic turn around in its customer complaints handling.

A source within the company told ZDNet Australia that at the time iiNet bought out AAPT's consumer division, including the Manilla call centre, AAPT's net promoter score (a measurement of customer satisfaction) was around -8. Since the take over, iiNet had sent a team over to Manilla to train the call centre employees and has improved AAPT's net promoter score dramatically to +24. By comparison, iiNet's net promoter score (excluding AAPT) for the 2011 financial year averaged at +50, according to the company's financial results released last month. Complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) had also halved.

iiNet wouldn't comment on whether the call centre had been facing the axe, but iiNet's chief customer officer Maryna Pienaar confirmed to ZDNet Australia that it had come a long way since the takeover.

"Over the last year iiNet has worked with local staff to improve processes and remove unpopular customer policies. We have also invested heavily in training, including the secondment of some of our best operators to Manila," she said.

"Manila staff have shown a real enthusiasm for the new environment, demonstrating flexibility and a solid commitment to customer service. We have a great team in place, one which has proven capable of delivering the class of service iiNet prides itself on."

ZDNet Australia understands that as a result of the drastic improvement, the contract with the call centre will be extended until July next year. The call centre will need an upgrade of its ageing equipment.

Pienaar said iiNet would continue to invest in the call centre, "including IT and infrastructure upgrades where necessary".

iiNet ceased to offer new broadband plans under the AAPT brand as of 31 August 2011, with new customers redirected from AAPT's residential page back to the iiNet home page. Although iiNet looks to be retiring the AAPT brand, CEO Michael Malone said last month that iiNet would continue to support it for existing customers.

Topics: Telcos, AAPT, IT Employment


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • Its sad to see an Australian company investing so much time and money in overseas operations :-(
    Think local, buy local
  • Well, its just a proof that people from overseas are good in customer service, its not with the language or accent that determine your greatness but its with the attitude and compassion. worth investing.
  • Is the beginning of the end for the respective Australian based call centres. Staff in the respective iiNet Australian call centres should be worried and yes it should be noted it is coming up to that time of the year to make those silly decisions to make people redundant, just before Christmas.
  • what a bunch of silly comments. I've worked in call centres for over 10 years, been made redundant, and in fact know the crew in Manila. So a few points

    1. there are hundreds of call centres still operating in Australia. You silly people don't have to worry about the loss of a "aussie speaking" muppet answering your dullard questions.

    2. call centre jobs are the worse thing you could wish on your sons and daughters. I left school with a low HSC mark. I went to a job that reflected the 'path of least resistances'; a call centre. You do not learn valuable skills. You are treated terribly. Paid badly. You have to be a sycophant or sex, drugs and nepotism to get ahead (especially in the big ones). The turnover is horrendous. The training non-existence. The customers terrible and the management a pack of uninformed **** I gladly would let the third-world take these jobs if only to ensure that Australian teenagers and young adults are challenged to enter into jobs that require a significantly better skillset then the standards that you need for a call centre job.

    4. However and this is the biggest reason why we should be exporting these jobs out of this country is the fact that the third-world badly needs these sorts of jobs.

    The western world has destablised, stripped bare, strangled the third-world for the past several hundred years. The reason why people live on a few bucks a day in Manila is because of our collective robbery over the past 100 years.

    Forget about a few measly bucks in the charity you give. A call centre job in manila, from a reputable operator, can support an entire family group. Furthermore in that sort of country mental illness and low self-esteem, caused by poverty and family violence (which there is much of), can be treated by giving the individual a job that means something. A job where the individual is productive and is being invigorated with a challenge.

    Its also a stepping stone to a corporate environment that is learning, developing and growing. One of these days countries like the Philippines will be in a position to export the call centre jobs they once did.

    So in summary. Let them have the call centre jobs and learn to put aside your bigotry (if another person whinges to me about not hearing an aussie accent I'm going to shoot them).
  • In addition to what 1984 said above. Would it have been better to just pull out of the Manilla call centre?
    With the increased need that the AAPT acquisition would have required iiNet would not have had any chance of providing any level of service to their new clients and would have heavily degraded the levels of service for their existing customers.
    Plus pulling out would have left an entire call centre of staff suddenly without income, wonderful thing to do to quite vulnerable families!
    These situations where a company can provide good customer service, doesn't hide the fact where staff are working from, keeps control and works closely with the remote site are a much better way of investing in a weaker economy instead of 'investing' in mining etc. Instead of taking all the money/profit away with them the majority of money invested stays in the country and mostly ends up in the pockets of those who most need it, the call centre staff.
  • @1984 You have to be kidding yourself, people in 3rd world status get paid little because there's a ton of people there and having no award rates or standards, also means you can pay those people anything you like.

    People do those jobs for $1 a week because it brings in something rather than nothing.

    Most people wouldn't be mentally sick etc because you'll be fussing about the farm you'd have so you had food to eat and place to stay.
  • @Zag

    I think you don't know what your talking about. The people working in call centres in the Philippines are all university graduates. In fact the common retail jobs in the city centres are all manned by university graduates. Its an employers market and they can force any condition they want, including low wages.

    See the real problem is there simply isn't enough work to create an environment where employers are challenged to improve conditions. By exporting call centre jobs to the third world we increase the pool of work available and thus require employers to pay greater amounts (or offer better conditions) in order to obtain workers.

    Case in point. My partner is heavily involved in a major furniture imports business. She tells me that their supplies in China are having huge problems finding people to work in the factories. See 10-20 years ago factory work was considered very good for the average person in China, a real trophy job. However with the advent of the domestic service economy and a rapidly growing government bureaucracy millions of people are leaving the factories to work in those sectors who are offering better wages & conditions. For this reason Chinese mass produced goods are in fact becoming more expensive as the factories are forced to respond to this by upping wages.

    This is in environment where there are no "awards"or "standards"

    Seriously I don't know why anyone in Australia would want to defend the call centre industry. Exporting these jobs is a win win for everyone. @Zag, have you been made redundant from a call centre job exported? Well I have and I can say that it personally made my life better. It forced me to get a better job and now I earn double the money. The same for all my colleagues.
  • LOL at this "The call centre will need an upgrade of its ageing equipment."

    nothing serious. I just didn't see this coming! haha