Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wage rates versus Australia - business opportunity

There has been a lot of debate recently in the media following Bill English’s comments about our lower wage rates giving us a competitive advantage over Australia. The reality is that the current wages and currency settings create a window of opportunity to attract big business across the ditch. The combination of lower labour and exchange rates at present can mean a saving of up to 35 per cent on the final bill which gets attention in the cost competive world we live in.

It is important to note that this does not mean that Telnet bases its business proposition on cost. Quite the contrary, we are a high value provider servicing a blue chip client base. Our average wages for customer service and telesales reps are about 26% above the minimum wage and our offices are based in the heart of Queen Street in a modern corporate styled and fitted office, giving our staff the respect they deserve as valued employees.

We also work hard on training and developing our employees’ skills so if they choose to leave the profession they come out better skilled. As result of this almost all of our managerial staff, apart from those in IT and accounting positions have started with the firm as a telesales or customer service representative.

Importantly, innovative technology is also a key attraction when we pitch against firms in call centre competitive countries - as is our shared culture and comradeship with the Australian culture. We will never compete with the likes of India or the Philippines in an area like wages but we can compete against Australian domiciled centres. Therefore, a combination of innovative technology and competitive wages as well as quality staff with superior customer service all combine to enable us to compete at an international level.

This is something we are proud of and shouldn’t shy away from. Just because we don’t like being the poorer cousins that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do the best to take advantage of a competitive situation to grow our business.

We talk about this more in our recent interview with TVNZ’s business programme. Click here to see this clip: