An open letter to Optus

An open letter to Optus

“Optus has a clear, single-minded focus on delivering a superior customer experience.”
- Paul O’Sullivan, Chief Executive

I’m really not so sure.  And I think the answer I received will surprise you, especially in the times the company is in.  Here’s my letter to Optus.

Hi there,

We have been long-time customers of Optus cable.  In fact, I believe we’ve been customers for over 10 years.

I was really disappointed with the fact we had not had our plan updated for sometime.  Recently, during a call with a very helpful technician, I asked quite generally “are we on the fastest plan possible?” Because I had recently used a neighbours cable internet, and noticed how much faster it was.

To my surprise (and delight) we were offered a package TWICE as fast, and with twice as much downloads, for $10 cheaper a month.

Needless to say, my family and I quickly calculated how much money we may have saved, or in fact, what a better service (read: experience) we would have relived would have been.

I would like an explanation as to why we were not notified of such a significant update, give that all marketing and communications activity is lead by your service and speed of connection.

I would further like to our account to be considered for credit or upgrade of service as a result of this experience.

Thank you,
Jye Smith

I submitted this via their customer feedback website, and was quickly given a call (big tick).  Then I spoke to “Ian” who told me that:

  • Nothing can be done as the onus is on me to pay attention to advertising (which has been deemed misleading anyway)
  • That people don’t often check their addresses enough to find out about offers
  • That their calls to customers (via tele-sales I assume) are often ignored
  • That’s it is really hard to reach everyone with the amount of channels out there

I’m not even angry: I’m just disappointed. It’s clearly just too hard to value loyal, long-term customers.  Especially when we were paying a premium price, for such a ordinary service.


I’m sure if I missed a payment, their automated system would pick it up. So why couldn’t their automated system check in with me if my plan is 2-3 years old? Let alone more.

The onus is on us to simply pay more attention to their marketing communications.  I’m not adverse to ever hear from a company, trying to make my experience better.  Am I asking too much? I don’t think so, Vodafone offers many people the same compensation on mobile plans for poor service and experience.

Mr. O’Sullivan, hear me out: are you happy with this? Or should I just pay attention to everyone’s advertising and marketing and select another provider.

Yes, I work at an agency; no, none of these views are theirs.   But I’m fairly sure this is what we’re charged to everyday: look after our customers, retain our customers and do what we can to look after them.

Don’t you agree, Paul?


Jye Smith is currently Senior Vice President, Head of Strategy & Operations, Asia Pacific at Weber Shandwick. Ranked in B&Ts 30 Under 30, Jye a regular keynote speaker and workshop facilitator who specialises in digital and social media strategist.

There are 12 comments for this article
  1. Tim Bowen at 5:21 pm

    Couldn’t agree more!!

    You should walk. It’s the only way they will get the message (they still won’t).

    Let us know if they come back with anything

  2. Trent Collins at 7:58 pm

    Great post mate.

    Amazing to see the difference between them and iinet (my ISP). Why they have a new product everyone is just automatically upgraded to it. My plan has been upgraded with additional speed and downloads 4 times.

    I assume such a change would also be more efficient internally for iinet as they have less products/ services that their support teams need to be aware of.

  3. Jye Author at 8:36 am

    Hi both,

    Thanks so much for your comments. I received about 100 views in the first hour of this going up, so I’m very interested to see where it heads to in the next 24 hours.

    The disconnect between the CEO and the customers might be greater than we ever expected. They’ll either shoe horn me as a trouble maker, or actually read it for what it is: a decent customer request!

  4. Hannah Law at 9:11 am

    Wow, that is really poor form from Optus. Surely retaining their existing customers is easier (and cheaper!) than acquiring new ones?

  5. Real world at 9:15 am

    In a perfect world you would be contacted to change your plan. However, considering they have millions of customers it’s no surprise Optus would let people take on the responsibility of managing their own money and value plan. I can see why Optus wouldn’t bother to have a scheme in place to alert customers when they could be paying less. It is after all a business driven on profits. No, I don’t work for Optus, but I really think it’s up to the customer to find the plan that is best value, not the provider. That goes for any service you pay for, not just Optus.

  6. Jye Author at 9:31 am

    @Real World: Appreciate your point, mate. My point is, that if I missed on a bill payment, then I’m sure they’d chase me! They could easily set-up a similar system if I haven’t updated my plan for 2 years yeah?

  7. Lucie at 9:38 am

    I had exactly the same experience with Foxtel when I rang about my parents package. They were being charged through the nose for their subscription when there was a new package introduced which included all the same channels but for less money.

  8. Lexi at 9:41 am

    Not having same problems but you are right about missing a payment.

    I have received 2 texts from Optus regarding unpaid bill. I haven’t received my paper bill yet to pay, according to past bills I will not receive until around 25th of the month. I’m not paying until I have the bill (out of principle)

    However, as crap as Optus may be, their customer service/support is 100x superior to Telstra, as are their pricing/speed/availability.

  9. Lucas Ng at 11:26 am

    Tip: Post this on Whirlpool’s Optus forum if you haven’t already, as the Optus reps will read it and send it up the chain faster than you can say “churning to Telstra”.

  10. real world at 12:37 am

    @Jye Yes it’s funny how it works isn’t it!? Well, good luck, hope it is a good outcome for you. I have won battles against Telstra in the past, maybe you’ll get a credit too.

  11. Damon Klotz at 9:13 pm

    Hopefully some action comes of this.

    I was thinking I’d offer to write a guest post for you as I’ve got a great story about ANZ and how their current tagline of “We live in your world” is a joke!

  12. James at 6:46 pm

    I have been with Optus for 12 years and still haven’t found the Customer Service Department that can help me. I generally spent about 1 and 1/2 hours on Optus Mobile Faults even purchased a booster for the house. There was a problem there also which took 11 days and 4 hours on the phone to fix as the wrong serial number was issued to another machine. I have rung my own mobile it doesn’t ring and goes straight to message bank. Well it’s nearly been a week without the Phone which I use for my business , but get told you will get a call within 24 hours. The best thing I like is the problem isn’t resolved then they asked “Is there anything else I can help you with” Customer Service well I thought that ment something!!!