Telstra starts blogging

Telstra starts blogging

Summary: Phil Burgess Bound by red tape and with its push for relief appearing to fall on deaf ears in Canberra, Telstra today pumped up its campaign to win over the grassroots by launching a new Web site promoting its messages -- with blogging a key feature. The site, nowwearetalking.

Phil Burgess
Phil Burgess
Bound by red tape and with its push for relief appearing to fall on deaf ears in Canberra, Telstra today pumped up its campaign to win over the grassroots by launching a new Web site promoting its messages -- with blogging a key feature.

The site,, contains facts and perspectives from Telstra on -- among other things -- telecommunications regulation in Australia, the telcos' recent strategic review, past speeches by Telstra executives and case studies where Telstra services are being used.

The site was born out of a need to communicate better with Telstra's stakeholders, according to a statement on the site in the name of the company's group managing director of public policy and communications Phil Burgess.

"The idea for nowwearetalking came from a discussion with a shareholder. I was in a restaurant and he stopped by my table to say, 'Aren't you one of Sol's Three Amigos?' I said 'Yes' and we shook hands," Burgess wrote.

"My new friend said, 'Keep it up mate. I'm a Telstra shareholder. So are my kids. We didn't really know what was happening till Sol started talking. We need you all to talk more. Let us know what is going on."

"Two days later -- after discovering that a single mailing to shareholders cost close to $1.0 million -- we launched the idea of a special Web site for shareholders and the public together -- a place where we could address the digital revolution and what it can mean for how we live, work, play, learn and move about," he continued.

The site has launched with 11 blogs, one of which is written by well-known Telstra spokesperson Rod Bruem, a former journalist who works within the company's media relations team.

Bruem's first entry in his blog deals with his mother's opinion that he should install the popular Skype Internet telephony software. Technology like Skype is a direct threat to Telstra's revenue because it bypasses Telstra's fixed-line phone network and allows call to be made on the Internet.

"Janice reckons I should get Skype too, but I'm more for sticking with what already works for me," Bruem wrote.

"Despite my colleagues' urging, I refuse to part with my battered three-year-old Nokia mobile because it fits in the pocket easily, is simple to use and its SMS memory is like a dictionary of Australian vernacular. Even when accidentally left behind in shops or bars nobody seems to want to take it."

"My own family story says a lot. When sixty-somethings in rural NSW are using IP telephony, this ain't the technology of the future - it's here now."

"In order to succeed, we know Telstra has to do a lot more to get to know and stay in touch with its customers because their needs are so diverse and often hard to predict. Even I couldn't have predicted a year ago that Mum would be a Skypster!"

Another blog features the cartoon artwork of Howard Tuxworth, a group manager within Telstra's finance and administration division.

"Each week Howard will give his satirical view on the issues impacting the telecommunications industry through Australia's first 'blogtoon'," says the blog.

Tuxworth's first entry depicts new Telstra chief executive Solomon Trujillo being boiled in a pot on a stove with the heat level knobs reading 'customer', 'shareholder', 'regulator' and 'competitor'.

While Telstra's new Web site does include the ability for readers to make comments and contribute feedback, the designers appear to have left out one of the key elements of the blogging phenomenon.

No RSS feeds for Telstra's blogs appear to be available. RSS (or Really Simple Syndication) is a format that allows Web browsers to know when a blog (or any Web site) has been updated.

In addition, Telstra's communication efforts are nothing new, according to one of its competitors.

"Our staff and management have been involved in mailing lists, online forums and newsgroups for years," iiNet's managing director Michael Malone told ZDNet Australia.

"While it may be new for Telstra, talking with your customers isn't generally regarded as a new concept for most of the communications industry."

Topics: Telcos, Telstra, Social Enterprise

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  • Have your say

    The "Have Your Say" link is interesting. It goes nowhere ....On both Firefox and Internet Explorer. How paradoxical it is !!
  • Industrial Deafness Whan it Comes to Telstra

    Sent- Wed 8 march 2006 at 2am

    Dear Mr John Howard

    Progressively over the last week going through lists of party members I have sent an email to each member pointing out my concerns in regards to Telstra's own account of very high customer satisfaction rates and my personal experience explaining the discrepancy between these figures and the view of many Australians.
    I will now send Liberal party members an email, by 6 am all of the House of Representatives members (all party's) will be emailed including a copy to Mr Howard.

    It will be interesting to see who if anybody replies.

    Dear Mr Trujillo

    I carry out experimental research in the field of water surface science to better understand and change the H2O interface involving solids and gasses.
    Recent improved understanding of the role gasses play in processes for coagulation, flocculation and crystallisation are realising better methods for water purification based on magnetic resonance effects on protons.
    Myself and colleagues overseas are working hard to see these processes find practical use.

    For me I started this particular line of research after a course in computer use in 2002 corresponding with the opening of a community telecommunications centre.
    At 39 years of age I had never had a phone or computer connection.
    Just before Christmas after spending thousands of dollars at the centre, I decided I would see if I could connect and afford a suitable connection with a consideration that if I could access PC TV and have video connection with fellow colleagues the cost maybe more justified.

    In the end this was not the case and I am a very unhappy with the running of Telstra on many levels including under trained phone employees, methods used by other employees to stop complaints being lodged or reaching lodgement as such, lies and manipulation to stall at every turn and maintain a false high customer satisfaction rate.

    (Note- I was promised connection capabilities by Telstra phone advice line staff that turned out during and after installation to be not achievable due to lack of staff knowledge due of area available infrastructure and false product description)

    This resulted in half the product that was described, a little like buying a car that has a top speed of 50km/hr instead of 100km/hr and of course in reality the car is of no value at all.
    In this case the car goes a quarter (1/4) the speed and you pay double the price.
    In simple terms I was lied to which resulted in financial losses directly and through lost productivity, ended up with a useless service and asked to sign a Release & Indemnity.


    My name is Gary Looney. I live in the small town of Menindee on the Darling River near Broken Hill NSW.
    I have had a bad experience when using Telstra Services.
    The company is in affect standing over me and asking me to lie so they can sweep the dirt under the rug and I feel certain that this is an ongoing cultural problem within the company and to be honest I don't now if anything can or even should be done.
    Some times I think it may be less damaging not to fix problems that are so deeply entrenched.

    I have made a Web Site to put the information on-



    Mary Berejiklian- I will Have a Release and Indemnity drawn up and you will sign it.

    Gary Looney- I will not.

    Mary- (Repeats first statement over and over talking over the top of me, this time louder.


    It is interesting that free legal aid services responded by saying that Government funding would be taken from them if they were to


    No Reply to Email, I thought communications would be Phil Burgess strong point.

    SENT TO-Philip Burgess "TELSTRA"(public policy & communication)
    "ANNAPOLIS INSTITUTE"(president)
    "UCLA"(professor of policy studies)

    Philip Argy "MALLESONS LAW FIRM" (Chair).
    Rosemary Sinclair "Australian Telecommunications Users Group"
    Philip Carruthers"TIO" (Company Secretary).
    David Thomson "TELSTRA" (Resolution Dispute Officer).


    Please forgive me for not addressing each.
    I have contacted you as a group after looking at your positions & expertize.

    There is a serious problem in Telstra's management of complaints due to
    manipulation of protocol by Telstra staff & management, or perhaps to much
    flexibility in guidelines.
    In relation to an official written compliant by a complainant points in case are-
    1/ Complaints being handled by sales staff for extended periods and not stating there position in the company.
    2/ No mechanism or time frame were complaints are officially accepted as a complaint or escalated to the Dispute Resolution Department.
    3/ Being told that if the case is lodged as an official complaint there would be a 6 week waiting period until it could be looked at by Complaints Department.
    4/ CEO office taking over case instead of Dispute Resolution Department and being told by general phone enquiry staff that they have orders to redirect calls to CEO office.

    Prior to connection on the 22 of December information given by Telstra phone staff resulted in unnecessary costs and inaccurate product description.
    An implied warranty were the product was unfit for purpose.
    Trade Practises Act s74(2).

    There has also been misleading conduct in breach of section 52 of the Trade Practises Act.

    It should be understood that any perceived resolution with the complainant will not fix underlying problems and Release and Indemnity agreements readily drawn to favour the company will serve to reduce acceptance and the need for cultural change.

    It is unacceptable that Telstra demands the signing of an incorrect Release and Indemnity before compensating the complainants cash loss with a credit of Telstra services.
    Refusing to accept occurrence of faulty installation of phone wall socket resulting in 14 days with out phone. This wall socket is still not functional, alternative socket is used.
    I would like resolution on a personal level but not at the expense of my moral values or outcomes for future customers.
    Further to this actions speak louder than words and I am sure this letter is going to the right people to make a change if it is possible.
    Can I help to make it happen?


    Gary Looney
    Box 191, Wentworth rd
    Menindee. NSW.

    Ph 0880914680 (presently unplugged, can be plugged in)

    Please go to my web site and make link with your own if you like-
  • what coustomer relations?

    Sent: Tuesday, 5 February 2008 9:36 AM
    Subject: FW: Fwd:Ministerial re Telstra Photo 1


    From: Jenny Allen []
    Sent: Friday, 1 February 2008 5:47 PM
    Subject: Fw: Fwd:Ministerial re Telstra Photo 1

    Hi Donna,

    Another quick update as discussed. The latest information is that Telstra are waiting on permission to access the property. We have requested information as to who that is so we can get the permission and skip some waiting. As we discussed yesterday you have recently been to the site so I am sure that we will solve this one and then move on to any other hurdles that pop up.

    The other information I did get today was that instead of a temporary solution they are looking for a permanent solution so that is some good news. This may be the end of your troubles with the phone.

    I will contact you again on Monday with any updates I have available.

    Have a great weekend


    ----- Original Message -----

    From: Jenny Allen


    Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2008 4:42 PM

    Subject: Re: Fwd:Ministerial re Telstra Photo 1

    Hi Donna,

    As discussed I am still coming up against a brick wall in this. I was advised today that they are still having access issues and that the estimated date at this stage is 22nd February. I have again escalated it and will follow it up again in the morning.



    ----- Original Message -----



    Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2008 9:51 AM

    Subject: Fwd:Ministerial re Telstra Photo 1

    Hi Jenny,

    As I said yesterday we have a few photos of the creek in question
    with Telstra. This is the permanent water level for the creek.


    Donna Symonds
    ----- Forwarded message from WAYNE <69ER@AUSTARNET.COM.AU> -----
    Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2008 20:04:24 +1100
    To: Donna Symonds <>

    ----- End forwarded message -----


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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Sapphire Scrap Metal Recyclers P/L.
    To: Ian Duff
    Sent: Monday, February 04, 2008 2:41 PM
    Subject: Fw: Telstra

    Hi Ian, while i was away the Southern Phone Co. contacted
    my office manager [Donna Symonds]and told her the reason the phone was not fixed was because the creek was flooded, i have been crossing that creek daily for many years, the only time it rises is when we have very substantial rainfall, like 3-400ml,
    then it stays up for a few hours and goes down again, it drains into Dalmeny Lake about 100 meteres from where the line is, first i was told by Southern Phone Co. that Telstra said the line was cut at the recycle centre,which is at least a kilometre away! I dont believe that an independant technicion would say the creek is flooded, when it is not!
    Why they just dont fix the problem is beyond me?
    Sapphire Scrap Recyclers are under a tender situation at the moment, this ongoing problem could cause us to be unsuccessful in this, concidering we have never lost a tender in 23 years, if we lose the contract will mean 7 local people will be looking for jobs, i find this to be totally unexcep
  • what customer relations?

    Hi Mike, i spoke to you the other day about my business
    phone being down, you rang me and we discused the situation, i said that the fax line was down too, my daughter told me that she had cancelled that line, sorry, i never knew!
    two hours after we spoke, the line was fixed, thank you very much for that, it worked for the rest of the day and went down again! its now Friday at 8.18 pm and its still down, so that means we have no phone until at least Monday, i am paying for a service that i am not getting, goodness knows how much money i have lost, i cant sit at home next to the phone 7 days a week waiting for a phone call, i have contracts with local government and the contract says i have to provide a phone at the site, as Workcover classify the site as a construction site, [its a landfill site] it is a dangerouus site, earthmoving equipment, cliffs, traffic ect..
    if somebody were to get hurt and we had no way of calling Police, Ambulance or Fire brigade, somebodys head would roll, and because its in the contract for me to provide a phone, it would proberly be mine, however i think the people that are responsible for fixing the phone would not go unscathed, we first notified Southern Phone Co. about our phone [0244768354]not working on the 17th of October 2007, it took 2 weeks for Telstra to come and fix the line, one week later the phone went down again, we notified
    Southern Phone Co.and more weeks went by with no phone, even for the short period of time the it had worked during that period, it was crackly and sometime just dropped out, we buy and sell non ferrous metal and we need a phone to conduct our business, because of where the site is situated we have no mobile service, is there something you can do to help us again? regards Ray Madrid..
  • what customer relations

    Hi Ian, we had the thieves back again last night, they took
    at least 400 kilo of copper radiators, we still have no phone!
    regards Ray Madrid..
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Sapphire Scrap Metal Recyclers P/L.
    Sent: Thursday, January 17, 2008 10:38 AM
    Subject: Fw: Telstra

    Hi Ian, this is the emails that i have sent to the ombudsman, this morning we had to call the police to the site as somebody cut the fence last night and a quantity of copper and brass was stolen, the alarms are hooked up to the phone and obiviously would not activate, thank you for
    your assistance in this matter!
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Sapphire Scrap Metal Recyclers P/L.
    Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2008 6:37 PM
    Subject: Fw: Telstra

    Hi Mike, our phone went down again last Monday week,
    Southern phone Co. said they notifyed Telstra and they would be at the site last Friday to fix the problem!
    Friday came and a technician from Telstra turned up and told my site supervisor that he couldnt fix the problem on that day, he said they would be back to fix the problem
    on Monday, Monday came, no Telstra, we rang The Southern phone co. They rang Telstra and were told
    they would be out at the site to fix our phone on Wednesday 16/1/08, between 8 am and midday!
    Its now Wednesday at 6.35 pm , we no technician has been seen all day and still no phone, the security alarms are hooked up to the telephone, so we have no security
    either! Please can you help us, we are only a small business and rely on the phone to survive, regards Ray Madrid..
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Sapphire Scrap Metal Recyclers P/L.
    Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 8:48 PM
    Subject: Telstra
  • what customer relations?

    Over a month, still no phone, they tell me it will be another month before somebody comes and fixes it, i am a small business that relies on a phone to survive, excuses, excuses, lies, lies lies...
  • i am having a telstra (emotional breakdown) does anyone care about there customers
    so many problems with the only remote telecommunications provider in australia about to get my phone independanly tested (radiation overlaod) about to sue telstra over faulty mobile phone and it goes on and on HELPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP