Co-creating growth with Exetel
In 2015, we invited a small number of customers to participate in trials for different aspects of our digitisation program. It would be one of the first times we put our new customer-centric approach to product and service development into practice.
Nevertheless, we had clear ideas about the improvements we intended to make, and we were excited about showing these to our customers.
One such area was our Quote2Activate® (Q2A®) tool, an initiative that would make it easier for our customers to obtain quotations and place orders for our Data Advantage products. We invited the Exetel team led by James Linton, Corporate Sales Manager, to join the trial of Q2A.
As one of Australia’s largest independent providers of internet and communication services with over 120,000 business, government and residential customers, Exetel was an ideal choice for the trial.
It turned out that the input from James and his team would challenge our assumptions of how Q2A would best benefit users, and result in us refining the quote and ordering process to deliver a much more valuable solution for all our customers.
“Going into the trial, we thought the Holy Grail for Quote2Activate was placing orders. However, when we did a deep dive into the experience with Exetel, we learned some surprising things,” said Volkan Orkut, Exetel’s account manager at Telstra Wholesale.
Before Quote2Activate we did about 20 orders a month with Telstra Wholesale. Now we’re doing well over 150 a month.
By working closely with Exetel, the team discovered that they needed to focus on a different part of the process. “Our biggest headache is getting fast, accurate quotes to potential customers. The more we quote, the more orders we place,” James explained.
According to Joseph Thein, Agile Product Owner at Telstra Wholesale, and responsible for Q2A, “It was only by collaborating so tightly that, together, we realised simplifying the quoting experience would deliver the most value for customers. Exetel helped us understand a pathway to make it easier and faster to produce a highly accurate quote.”
Exetel also provided invaluable feedback on the volume of traffic the platform should support. Usage was higher than the Telstra Wholesale team had expected and this led to capacity and speed issues during the trial. Thanks to the early identification of these issues, the team was able to provision greater capacity during the final builds.
“Together we created a tool that enables Telstra Wholesale customers to qualify a customer site quickly and reliably,” Joseph said. “What previously took a day or more now takes a few minutes - it has transformed our customers' experience and that’s what we always hoped to do,” he added.
James says Exetel’s experience of the trial and the results from the initiative have helped them to grow their business. “It has been a game changer for our business, and how we collaborate. Before Quote2Activate we did about 20 orders a month with Telstra Wholesale. Now we’re doing well over 150 a month.”
“If three years ago you’d told me we’d have the majority of our business with Telstra Wholesale, I would’ve laughed. This year, it’s over 90%!” he added.
For the Telstra Wholesale team, seeing those better business outcomes demonstrates the value of partnering with customers so that we can develop better products. “We want to harness the knowledge and experience of our customers so that we can create simpler, high value digital experiences. With Exetel’s help, we have achieved that with Quote2Activate”, Volkan concludes.
For James, effective partnering starts with honesty. “The Q2A experience shows me that we have the type of relationship with Telstra Wholesale where they really listen to our ideas. If something isn’t quite right then we can look for another approach together. Then when everything starts working harmoniously, you’re reaping the rewards.”