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Wednesday, 30 August 2000
Page: 17009

Senator Allison asked the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, upon notice, on 22 June 2000:

(1) How many Telstra call centres are there around Australia at present.

(2) How many equivalent full-time employees are there in those call centres.

(3) What is the percentage annual staff turnover in each call centre.

(4) (a) How many call centres are there in regional areas; and (b) how many staff are currently employed in those call centres.

(5) Which call centres will close in the next 12 months.

(6) What will be the net job losses or gains from call centre closures.

(7) How many job losses or gains will there be regional areas.

(8) Can a copy be provided of the report of the Telstra call centre employee opinion survey conducted in 1999 .

(9) What measures has Telstra put in place as a result of the survey.

Senator Alston (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

Based on advice from Telstra:

(1) As at March 2000 Telstra has 290 call centres around Australia.

(2) As at March 2000 there are 14,490 full-time equivalent staff in the 290 call centres.

(3) Whilst Telstra does not have the annual staff turnover for each call centre, the average staff turnover for call centres is approximately 5% for Telstra employees and 29% for agency staff.

(4) As at March 2000 there are 74 call centres with 2,808 FTE staff in regional areas.

(5) There have been no decisions made on Telstra's future call centre configuration.

(6) See answer to Question 5.

(7) See answer to Question 5.

(8) Telstra's call centres are distributed across its business units. As EOS surveys are based on business units, an opinion survey for all call centre staff is not available. However, a copy of the 1999 employee survey report for Telstra's Information and Connection Services has been provided separately to the honourable senator.

(9) See answer to Question (8). The following actions occurred within Telstra Information and Connection Service Centres as a result of the 1999 Employee Opinion Survey.

. Communication of results to all staff.

. Action Plans formulated within call centres to identify areas for improvement.

. Working Party formed to focus attention on improving operating efficiency, leadership, quality, and customer focus.

Examples of outcomes adopted across several call centres are as follows:

. commitment to involve staff in decision making at a local level

. input from staff in developing action plans for improvement

. review call centre procedures and minimise double handling

. explain / discuss all important decisions from senior management with staff

. senior managers to become more visible

. reinforcement of 'every call counts' policy for improvement in customer service

. reward and recognition awards launched in centres to encourage staff commitment.