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Optus Boot No. 1 Dealer TeleChoice

As consumers complain ever louder about Optus, the yellow telco is giving its biggest dealership TeleChoice the boot, and opening up a slew of Optus ‘Yes’ stores instead.

Killing the agreements between TeleChoice and Optus-owned Virgin Mobile and pre-paid services are also part of the telco’s new retail rationalisation strategy, announced today.

TeleChoice is the biggest independent Optus dealers in OZ, set up in 1995 with 155 stores, both franchise and company owned.

The new Optus retail grand plan will see tighter integration between the yellow telco’s retail online and in store, so customers who e-buy can collect instore.

The move to ditch TeleChoice is the telco’s bid towards customer retention, it said today, in the wake of a telco ombudsman report out¬†yesterday, which showed complaints about the telco soared 50% in 2011-12, while complaints about rival Telstra fell significantly.

“As the Australian mobile market matures and we move from a period of growth to one of customer retention, we need a distribution model that reflects this,” Rohan Ganeson, Optus Managing Director, Sales said today.

Ganeson reckons there is too much capacity in the mobile market and wants Optus to become a gung-ho retail tech powerhouse.

The retail agreement with TeleChoice will end on 31 March 2013 and it is not known what the Optus (and Virgin mobile) exclusive dealers next move will be.

TeleChoice was not responding to media queries when contacted by SmartHouse today.

Optus says it plans to transform its sales channels to become a ‘full service customer channel’ to meet the changing consumers needs, it said in a statement today.

“As the products and services we sell become more diversified and sophisticated, so too do the needs of our customers. There is too much capacity in the mobile distribution market and we have made a decision to rationalise our third party distribution channels, while strengthening our branded Optus channels,” Ganeson said.

“Retail is no longer just a sales channel – it’s a channel where customers come to better understand technology and how to get the most from it.”

The telco also announced the opening of an additional 33 ‘Yes’ Optus stores and over 200 new jobs.

Optus is also adding other customer initiatives including: dedicated product experts, improved IT systems and infrastructure to better support retail staff, to provide “more consistent service and product knowledge. “

The Singapore owned telco already gave the pre pay operator Boost brand the boot last week, which will be taken over by Telstra in early 2013.

Optus says it will retain the pre-paid customers acquired during the partnership with Boost, providing them with continued access to their current plans under its own pre-paid service.