Look I don’t want to sound like a broken record here, but it’s time for a leadership change at Optus. We’re more than 24 hours now since the entire Optus business ground to a halt due to a yet to be explained network outage.

Think about that, the entire Optus business was down. There was nothing you can pay Optus to provide that was working.

Yesterday the CEO Kelly Bayer-Rosmarin fronted select radio media in the morning, though it was a full 7 hours after the outage began, and reluctantly also appeared on the major news bulletins with some standard lines written by the spin doctors at Optus.

There was no feeling of genuine compassion toward customers, on 9News Ms Bayer-Rosmarin even shrugged off, almost laughed off the story of a Barber Shop that had to shut down due to the outage, saying “I’m disappointed that a Barber couldn’t do haircuts today, that seems like one of the few things you can do without connectivity”

These are real people who’s lives were directly impacted by this outage.

24 hours on, there are two clear failings of the Optus Leadership, and that falls at the feet of CEO Kelly Bayer-Rosmarin.

Firstly, Ms Rosmarin told The Daily Telegraph “refunding people for one day is probably less than $2.” That is the dumbest, and most analytical response to a crisis you could imagine.

Yes, the customer account value of the time the network was down would be around $2 because for an average $60 per month account, the daily cost is $2 and the outage was less than a day.

But providing a pro-rata refund is not what anyone has even suggested. What customers want to hear is how they will be compensated for the outage, not rewarded for sticking with the company.

Start the biddng at a $5 per day credit to every single Optus account. I reckon that would work for a lot of customers.

For business customers affected financially, Optus won’t ever just blanket cover you costs, but keep those receipts and logs, you have a claim with them and might have to take it through the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

The company has to Accept the concern from their customers, and project something positive on them – today.

Secondly, The company has handled this poorly, possibly even worse than the Cyber Attack last year.

It was six and a half hours before the CEO commented and then that was just to select radio outlets. They reluctantly appeared on National TV news last night, but sounded like an annoying politician beating around the bush and reading prepared lines.

As CEO of Australia’s Second largest Telco, and one who endured one of the worst Cyber Attacks we’ve seen, you’d think that after getting woken up at probably 5am and told your entire business had ground to a halt, the first thing you would have done was get a breifing, and then front up on Today Show, Sunrise, News Breakfast and as many radio stations as possible.

Every single time adding no context, but letting customers know you were working on it. Working hard.

Gradually throughout the day you would offer slightly more information, by Midday you would have said we have located an issue in our network relating to the routing of traffic and we are implementing a fix we hope resolves the issue right now, and at 3pm you say it has been resolved, and while it is a routing issue, it may take us some days to really understand how it occurred.

You don’t have to share state secrets, you just have to share.

Your customers are entitled to it.

CEOs are judged on how they react to a crisis, and to criticism.

I was critical of Foxtel’s Hubbl announement last week, their CEO Patrick Delaney reached out to me to catch up – and I assume he will help me understand the company’s vision.

When I called for Kelly Bayer-Rosmarin to resign last year, a senior member of the Optus PR team insinuated that i was being sexist.

Come on, when someone is doing a shit job, they need to be called on it. And that’s what’s happening at the top levels at Optus right now.

Singtel – the owners of Optus – has it’s board members in town here this week, get them together, and bring down the axe. It’s time for a fresh face, new attitude, customer focused leader.

I’ll reiterate my previous suggestions, with one new addition:

  • Bill Morrow (Ex Vodafone and NBN CEO)
  • Pip Marlow (Ex Microsoft now Salesforce)
  • Mel Silva (Google Australia MD)
  • Ben McIntosh (Ex Vodafone now Bunnings COO)
  • Michael Ackland (Telstra)
  • Brad Whitcomb (Telstra)
  • Clive Dickens (Current Optus Vice President, Television, Content and Product Development)
  • Gladys Berejiklian (Current Optus Managing Director, Enterprise and Business) 
  • Garry McGregor (Former Vice President of Samsung Mobile Australia)

No need to pay recruiters, use that money for your customers, make some calls today, at last four of them would be able to take the job today.