Telstra launches new loyalty program as part of T22 strategy

Telstra Plus will encourage more households to move from split telco services, consumer chief says

Telstra has formally launched a new loyalty program as part of its ‘T22’ strategy.

The telco last month foreshadowed the launch of ‘Telstra Plus’, which is the successor to the previous Telstra Thanks loyalty scheme.

When customers sign up to Telstra Plus they will be assigned to one of three tiers — Member, Silver and Gold — depending on their average monthly spend for the previous 12 months.

Silver members will receive one Telstra Platinum tech support call per year and $75 Telstra TV Box Office credit. Gold members will receive access to around-the-clock tech support through Telstra Platinum, which the telco said is valued at $120 per year.

All members of the scheme will have access to the discounted movie and sport tickets that were part of the Telstra Thanks program.

The program also includes a point-based rewards system. Telstra Plus members will earn 10 points for every $1 of eligible spend on their monthly Telstra account and prepaid recharges. Those points will be redeemable at a Telstra Plus rewards store, which will offer devices from a range of vendors.

The rewards store will offer some devices for points alone (for example, the Google Home Mini for 14,000 points) or a combination of points and money (the Telstra TV3 can be redeemed for 40,000 Points + $115 or 10,000 Points + $192).

The telco said it would also offer customers opportunities to earn bonus points.

So far 370,000 people have signed up to Telstra Plus. The telco said that customers who join the program before 30 June will have the opportunity to earn up to 10,000 bonus points. The company will begin rolling out tier benefits from 28 May.

 “A lot of customers have been with us for a long time and they wanted to be recognised for that,” Telstra group executive, consumer and small business, Michael Ackland, told Computerworld. “So first and foremost this is recognition, saying thank you to customers and giving them that recognition. The tiers are really important for us in terms of some of that recognition and the bonus points reflecting tenure.”

Ackland said the telco also wants “to give customers more good reasons to stay” with Telstra. “The fact that you have a points balance that you can spend with us is a really great reason, and positive reason, to want to stay with us, as opposed to a contract that you can’t get out of,” he said.

“We’re very focused on creating more positive reasons for customers to stay with us. And yes, unashamedly, we want Australian families to bring all of their services to Telstra.”

“Across the country there’s a lot of families and households with split services and we want to get customers to bring more of their services to Telstra,” the Telstra executive said. “This will be one of those benefits but in the future you’ll see many more benefits that customers can get from having more of their services with us.”

Telstra’s CEO, Andy Penn, said in December that the launch of the new loyalty scheme would be the next major milestone for the company’s T22 strategy. The telco has already revamped a range of services for small businesses and reworked its consumer mobile phone plan lineup as part of a simplification push.

Telstra in June 2018 first began detailing T22 (for ‘Telstra 2022’).

“The telecommunications industry is going through a very dynamic and challenging time, probably the most significant in decades, if not its history,” Penn told a June 2018 investor presentation. “And while many of the dynamics that are playing out today in the market were predictable, it is their intensity and depth of impact that is accelerating our need for change.”

“The origins of many of these challenges point back to the NBN,” the CEO said. “We are no longer the wholesale fixed line provider in Australia and ultimately we lose our legacy wholesale business. Additionally, NBN is driving a doubling of wholesale prices. And Telstra and the other industry participants are facing a fixed line market where reseller margins are rapidly going to zero.” 

This has also led to increased competition in the mobile market, the CEO said, including the entrance of a fourth mobile network operator in the form of TPG (TPG has since dumped its mobile network rollout).

T22 also includes a major changes to Telstra’s structure and operations, including a shift to an Agile at scale model.

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