Telstra is an international company based in Australia. It’s the leading telecommunications and technology company that offers a range of services globally. It however, focusses on the Asia-Pacific region. It has about 3,000 employees that are based in the 22 countries offering various services to government, businesses and individual customers. It focuses on providing sophisticated network application services, software, online sales, e-health and video delivery (Tonts and Taylor, p. 2651). Communication is very vital in operations of any company. It’s through communication that a company is able to converse with the employees, stakeholders as well with the customers. Effective communication is crucial for success and growth of a company. With the advancement in technology and globalization of organizations, e-communication becomes very vital. It is therefore, important for every organization to embrace technology in its operations and use of e-communication. Electronic communication is a powerful communication channel that creates new ways to interact with various people involved in business operations (Desanctis and Monge, p. 4). This paper therefore, will focus on communication and e-communication strategies of the Telstra company.
Non-electronic communication is the distribution of messages especially in the form of letters, invoices, reports, flow charts as well as verbal communication among the employees, stakeholders and customers (Levine et al., p. 124). It is not a popular means of communication in this era since nowadays people have become digitalized. Social media has made many people to spend a lot of their time in internet and therefore, this makes electronic communication the most appropriate communication channel. However, it is still being used alongside e-communication and it opens new avenues for communication within the organization. To reach many target customers it is advisable for a company to engage in both communication channels.
Non-electronic communication used by Telstra Corporation Limited
Telstra has embraced the non-electronic communication alongside e-communication. The company uses letters, bill message and notices to communicate to their customers. In case of any complaints the customers are responded to depending on the means appropriate for them. In case of any changes in their operations or in services they provide, they also put a notice in a national newspaper (Lexa, p. 4). This is usually published in three days’ time before the change is done. If the change is suspected to have a major detrimental factors on the clients, the company offers a 30-day notice via the bill message or a letter.
Invoices is another channel that the managerial team communicate with the employees as well as amongst the employees. An invoice indicates the list of each item with its quantity, price, contact address for payment and service description. The company targets the buyer with invoices as well as clients with an outstanding pay (Siefert, p. 5). The company as well uses memorandum to communicate within the departments internally. This if for communication purposes amongst the employees and with the seniors.
Face to face communication is also very vital within the organization. It offers one an instant feedback and a manner to express yourself. Face to face is very applicable also in instances that the customers visit the store of Telstra in various parts of the country. Customers can purchase their products directly from our stores and thereby offer their grievances or areas of improvement. The advantage of face to face communication is that you can notice body language of each other. It is said that human communication usually consists of 93% paralinguistic cues and body language while only 7% of words. You can read more from the body language of a client or an employee than you would from other forms of communication (Nardi and Whittaker, p. 99). Passing of information via face to face is very effective since you are guaranteed 100% attention and the message you sure it reaches the intended targeted customers.
Electronic media and communication strategies used by Telstra company
Electronic communication originated long time ago during the times of telegraph that usually used Morse code to send information and messages over a long distance using wires. Later, the industry expanded to wired telephone, television and wireless radio. Now days the industry has exploded with various social media that people share information freely. New channels of communication especially the electronic means are essential in today’s era since they provide new opportunities in terms of business operations and sales (Bolisani and Scarso, p. 125). E-communication is effective since it reaches a large number of target customers as compared to non-electronic communication. The quality of messages sent are also advanced and helps engage in two-way communications. Failure to embrace the use of social media and other electronic channels of communication, may lender the company obsolete and hence be outdone by its competitors. Electronic communication channels used by Telstra company include; internet, talk-back radio and instant messaging.
Internet and Social networking (Facebook, Myspace, Instagram, website)
Internet is the largest used e-communication in Telstra company Limited. Internet encompasses various media such as e-mail, webcasting, podcasting, mob casting, alternative websites and social networking (Facebook, Myspace, Instagram and YouTube). At Telstra, there is an increase use of these new media tools in order to communicate in the current Web 2.0 world (Oboler et al., pp. 17). In Big Blog for instance, the Big Pond members can exclusively blog with all the benefits of Telstra functionality such as SMS texts, MMS photos and videos, images, sound files and video. Second Life is the frequently visited branded site in the Big Pond in the whole world. In I-pond, the users are able to build a personal web home page where all their details as well as their favorite information is summarized, assembled and continuously refreshed. Pop lists in the Big Pond movies and music, allows members to share information and their opinions on various movies and music they have listened and/ or watched. Other members can as well browse through the comments and reviews of the users.
Social media platform remains to be the best method of communication in businesses. Many people spend most of their time on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Myspace as well as many other sites. This therefore, makes these platforms key in passing any information about a company’s products and services (Saravanakumar and SuganthaLakshmi, p. 4448). Telstra uses social networking effectively in its operations. In Facebook for instance, they advertise their products and services and inform their customers of any new arrivals. The importance of social media is that there is a two-way communication between the organization and the customers. Customers can express their grievances and the management responds to them. It is an effective communication tool since it gives the organization an opportunity to learn from their customers directly of their tastes and preference (Andzulis et al., p. 309). Through the website of Telstra, the customers can also access all the details that they would want to know about the company as well as the various type of products that are offered.
Telstra’s alternative website
In the year 2005, in month of December, Telstra launched its alternative website known as www.nowwearetalking.com.au. It is the advocacy and corporate education website of the Telstra that uses various platforms. This include; blogs, polls, multi-media, user-generated content stories and discussion forums that encourages dialogue as well as facilitating feedback (Whitehouse, p. 33). The site offers an interactive, personalized and conversation-based communication. It usually calls for intimate dialogue amongst the buyers, customers and visitors. It also provides a platform through which we can listen to our customers as well as the stakeholder’s insights. It changes the dynamic of communication while making the organization their own publisher of news. The site also offers a place where the customers can discuss, disagree and recommend our services to one another. It therefore, brings the organization closer to customers, consumers, shareholders and the staff. The www.nowwearetalking.com.au website currently attracts about 25, 000 visits every week with 45, 000 visits during the peaks (Burgess, p. 200). With other communication efforts such as advertising of Telstra in a full page to the shareholders, it contributes significantly to visits.
Whispir conversation platform and CrowdSupport
Whispir is a cloud-based enterprise service usually allowing various organizations to communicate with the customers, the stakeholders, community and the employees effectively and quickly via SMS, web, voice, email, social media networks and mobile data. They have expanded the service to accommodate many enterprises, government customers as well as various international customers. The service has grown tremendously over the recent years reaching to over 2, 000 points of presence (Chen–Telstra and Wyman, p. 55). The service allows the clients and customers to respond fast to any changing business priority as well as anticipate various challenges that may occur. Whisper is a multi-complex service that can be used in various environment. Through the site, one can communicate with the staff about various issues affecting the company, can share information and ideas and also coordinate the flow of information to enhance organization operations. It is important for any organization to ensure that all critical communications are passed to the employees, customers and the community at the right time. It should also be consistent, timely and effectively delivered. With Whispir Conversation Platform however, the customers can send as well as receive information and content over any channel at a scale (Martin, p. 36).
CrowdSupport is Telstra’s online community which is powered by Lithium. This is an online platform that connects all the customers allowing them to talk and converse about the products and services we offer. Customers are able to talk freely and share with each other. Through this platform, there is authenticity and richness of the feedback as well as interactions that the customers offer (Sanders et al., p. 6). Through the customer’s feedback, the company is able to improve on their quality of their products and services. Customers express their views on type of products they would want and from there, the company is able to provide products with features the customers prefer. This kind of connectivity is very efficient as it improves the company’s sales since an organization is able to provide the exact taste and preference of the customers. The eventual result is growth and expansion of the company to international levels.
SWOT analysis of Telstra’s communication practices
SWOT analysis looks at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a company. Telstra uses both the e-communication and non-electronic communication channels in its operations. This is very important since they are able to reach a huge number of target customers. Use of invoices for instance, allows the company to run its operations without making any losses. Through use of social media in communication, it offers the company the advantage of communicating with the customers directly and have instant feedback (Mangold and Faulds, p. 361). Online reviews usually rate the performance of various organization and the quality of their products. At Telstra, they are keen in following the reviews, responding to the complaints as well as improving where necessary.
Telstra is very passionate in creating an entire digital world in its operations that transcends the incumbent boundaries of segment, employees, device and customers. They use the digital channels to provide customer service to their clients. The services are of great standards and customers can as well visit their stores for any help provided by their support teams. They are very passionate, real and authentic in responding to any complaints reaching them over any social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Their goal is to build loyalty and advocacy (Sashi, p. 265) with their customers as they interact in these social media platforms.
Despite the strengths and merits that the various communication channels come with, there are also some weaknesses with which some communication strategies employed by Telstra comes with. The company does not differentiate between customer service page and marketing and promotions page. Most of the social platforms are used for marketing and advertisement (Kotler et al., p. 263). Both pages even that of customer service is filled with various advertisement of the services and products they offer. This brings the confusion since, instead of responding to customer’s questions, complaints and recommendations on customer service page, they are busy updating new products which are on offer. Proper use of communication channels gives a company an added advantage while inappropriate use leaves the company under possible threats.
Communication practices of Telstra competitors
The two main competitors of Telstra are; Vodafone Group Public Limited Company and Optus System Pty Limited. Vodafone is the second largest mobile operator in the whole world. It has utilized the use of social media in its communication process. It has Social Communications Team, Go social, Vodafone social and advocacy program (Padovan and Young, p. 5). These platforms give Vodafone company an upper hand over Telstra since it gives the employees an opportunity to share Vodafone-related content freely. It has also developed a communication strategy of its brand across various social media such as; customer service remit, engagement and advocacy and influencer identification. Its extensive use of Twitter in customer service product and use of social media as their only integrated communication tool gives them also an added advantage.
Optus remains to be the 2nd largest telecommunication company in Australia. It uses various non-electronic and e-communication channels to market their products and also communicate with their customers and the employees. With strategies such as embracement of social media platforms like We Are Social, has improved the operations of the company. It also embraces face to face communication just like Telstra.
For Telstra company to achieve immense success and expand more and more it has to put more effort on its communication strategies. Effective communication is necessary for business success. It’s through social media and other communication channels that the company is able to advertise its products and services to the world. To be able to increase its market and sales Telstra Limited should;
- Engage in more effective and efficient communications channels.
- Use diligent and well considered strategies
- Engage in customer tailored campaigns either through the social media or any other robust strategy
- Engage more in face to face communication so as to be able to obtain up-to-date industry knowledge (Bolotaeva and Cata, p. 4).
For an effective e-communication and non-electronic communication, a company should put into consideration various factors;
- An organization should understand the purpose as well as the value of the channels such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and how and when to use them.
- An organization should keep marketing and advertising separately from the customer service.
- An organization should have a clear image of the target audience
- Should be aware of customer’s location-where the majority of your customers are (if Facebook then you should concentrate on communicating via Facebook).
Proper use of communication channels by a company, will give it an added advantage over its competitors since there will be an effective communication with the customers, employees and stakeholders.
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