Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

One in 20 Australian businesses have found a formula that defies economic trends to deliver sustained growth, says Simon Sharwood. So what’s their secret? Customer first + collaboration + investments in technology.

Every business in Australia needs a growth plan, and Telstra’s recent Towards a Clever Australia report pinpoints those factors that keep an organisation growing. Based on a study of more than 1000 organisations, the report identified an elite group which has hit on a “clever growth formula” that defies macro-economic trends. These organisations, dubbed “Growth Champions”, shared three main features in their approach to business:

Two males in front of a box and a bench

Customers: Customer first pays off

Customers respond well to organisations that deliver excellent service and provide timely information during every step of a transaction. Technology is a great way to create that kind of slick, responsive customer experience.

Fast facts

59 per cent of Growth Champions have a strategy to improve the customer experience and customer satisfaction. 74 per cent say they gained more customers last year.

Smart communications systems make it easier to connect customers with the people and information they need, regardless of location. Organisations might need to switch the call, but the customer should feel like they have a direct connection.

- Raf Baldy, general manager of Offer Management Unified Communications at Telstra.

Case studies

Galilee Solicitors has teams around Australia and even in the Philippines, but Telstra IP Telephony means they can easily keep in touch to share their knowledge and advice for clients, no matter what office they are based in. Despite running a one-man business, photographer Ian van der Wolde of Altered Images is always easy for clients to contact thanks to Telstra’s Digital Business®.

Collaboration: Employee collaboration is key

Giving employees the tools to easily collaborate with other sections of their organisation makes both workers and clients happier. Happy workers are more engaged and productive. They also tend to be more loyal, and that means less churn and less recruitment expense.

Fast facts

74 per cent of Growth Champions invest in training compared to 44 per cent of other businesses.

Centralisation of applications, coupled with a very capable network, changes the way people run their businesses.

- Michael Riad, director of Telstra Cloud Services

Case studies

Moreton Hire event organisers have changed the way they work thanks to Telstra’s IP Telephony and Unified Communications. Key staff from different offices now video-conference every day and documentation is easily shared on large screens.

Central Desert Training staff work in remote communities, but they can access resources back at Alice Springs head office by using Telstra Wi-Fi to connect to Australia’s largest mobile network. It means they can consult and deal with issues quickly and easily.

Technology: Investment in network speed and performance

For organisations that want reliable IT systems, cloud services give you access to the latest technology over a network. As they’re delivered online with 24/7 support, these services can be rapidly deployed, readily scaled and managed via an online portal.

Cloud for business applications means you can typically access it anywhere you have an internet connection, including on a mobile device. This can be critical for businesses working in remote locations, but equally powerful for businesses that need to keep their workforce connected when on the road, or working from home.

- Simeon Joyce, general manager of Telstra’s Cloud Offer Marketing

Case studies

Ensitech is based in western Sydney, but its team looks after customers across Australasia, Europe and Japan. A fast, effective and economical communication network was essential. Telstra’s Digital Business package and cloud software are proving the right fit.
  
Capital S.M.A.R.T Repairs makes the most of cloud infrastructure and IP communications to streamline its processes and get vehicles back to their owners faster.

Growth champions make these investments

It’s not something that happens by accident. “Regardless of size or industry, our research indicates that Growth Champions aren’t born, they’re made, investing in a culture which helps them innovate and grow,” the report states.

So what are Growth Champions doing differently? One stand-out difference is they invest in systems that make life easier or more satisfying for their customers. Around 45 per cent offer rewards for loyalty and streamline their systems so they are easy for staff to operate. Those efforts translate into better service delivery.

Growth Champions also stand out for investing in their teams. They’re more likely to put a big effort into attracting and creating an engaged workforce. They invest in staff training, encourage flexible working and, as a result, their teams are more loyal, which reduces staff attrition and therefore training costs.

Championship technology

Around 83 per cent of Growth Champions have a Bring Your Own Device policy, allowing their staff to use their own phones or laptops for work purposes. They also invest in technology, with 81 per cent “implementing at least five ICT [information and communication technology] solutions over the past 12 months,” notes the report. 

Growth Champions also “invest more heavily in faster network speeds, analytics and performance to help them deliver growth,” with 80 per cent of Growth Champions investing in a speed boost in the year preceding the survey.

But perhaps the most remarkable thing the research reveals is that Growth Champions are confident. Champions are more likely to be very optimistic about their prospects. That optimism fuels a belief that continued investment in technology, people and process will yield future growth, creating a virtuous circle where new investment in customer-centrism, collaboration and technology makes them more likely to succeed.

Investing in technology also means that rather than being buffeted by change, they harness it. To put it another way, they surf the wave rather than being dumped. And which ride would you prefer for your business?

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