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CHANGES: It has been a tumultuous few months for iiNet.

TPG to end ‘country club’ culture

The final step in TPG Telecom’s takeover of iiNet is due to happen today, when iiNet shareholders will be paid $9.55 per share, however, staff and customers face an uncertain future.

Sydney-based TPG gained effective control of iiNet on August 24, when four incumbent directors resigned from the telco’s board and three TPG nominees were appointed.

Michael Smith and David Grant were the only previous directors to have remained on the board, and they are expected to resign once payments to iiNet shareholders have been made.

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Comments

Perth
Customer service has been iinet's competitive advantage. I wonder if I'll still be able to recommend them to my clients.

Perth
I would have thought being amicable at work would have been seen as a virtue not something to be seen as a negative?

Boom! It was fun while it lasted.

Perth
As someone who has worked for iiNet in the call centre and on the complaints line, I can honestly tell you that the great service they (generally) have a reputation for comes directly from the teamwork and personal relationships among staff, and the 'country club' atmosphere. TPG cannot cut that to the bone and expect to maintain service via KPIs alone. Stats don't provide service - people do. The 'a happy worker is a productive worker' cliche may be false, but customer service is one of the few industries where it is true - you need people who are happy to help and to provide genuine service, not simply gritting their teeth and pretending to smile. For an executive chairman of a major company, David Teoh would fail a first-year organisational behaviour unit.

Perth
As an IT consultant, I would have said that iiNet's support for the past 10 years has been the best and most responsive. I can honestly say that this support has plummeted in the past 2-4 weeks of dealing with them for several clients. I have always been happy to recommend iiNet as an ISP, but sadly, no longer will this happen.

Ashmore
I have been a happy customer since Jan 2006 - But now August 2016 , over ten years my business will soon be with another provider . Lack of service NO response from 5 different Emails 11 days ago requiring support for an unreliable service which continually drops out ! In excess of 45 minutes 'wait times' for phone support either in the morning or late evening , past midnight Redirected calls to other departments disconnected . The New ownership must be to blame My dissatisfaction will be broadcast Bye iinet

Working at iiNet is a tough job, but part of working for them is the rewards that come with the events, staff drinks that help the comradey that binds the staff together across all areas of the business. To be passionate about the brand and customer service in general you need to believe in iiNet and believe that you are being looked after and in turn look after our customers and the company. MIchael Malone said to me "look after people, and they will look after you". Thats something that has been built into the company since day dot. iiNet has looked after its customers and its staff, If it wants to attract staff members that do the same it really needs to pay attention to the company's previous operations.

Western Australia
I've had several connections with iiNet for over 6 years now... I'll be looking elsewhere as great customer service comes from people who are very happy with their jobs and don't dread going to work. The "country club atmosphere" is exactly why iiNet had a reputation for providing awesome customer service.

Be VERY VERY careful TPG. If you stuff it up you WILL be punished. That "Country club atmosphere" is why I signed up with iiNet. Get rid of it and you will get rid of the customer base. You might find it strange but us non uber rich people who value being friendly don't.

Hobart
I was thinking of buying more TPG shares with my payout from iiNet but after reading Mt Teoh's statements, will look elsewhere. I prefer to support companies keeping Australian jobs and happy workers. Vale iiNet.

Carnarvon
Westnet have always provided great service, particularly to customers in regional areas. The first IT company to offer local calls for dial up in the early days. You always get an Australian -Perth based call centre who understand where you live, as opposed to the Telstra "go to your nearest store" response which is always a problem when that's 500 kilometers away! I have stayed with Westnet for over 15 years because of their policy to maintain Perth based call centers and jobs and exceptional service. TPG - why buy a successful business and then dismantle the business model that made it so valuable?. Loyalty in telecommunications business is hard to earn. Iinet has achieved what Telstra never has with customers who champion their superior service. It's a pleasure to call an It/telecommunications company and receive happy and helpful service. It doesn't matter how thin your costs are if you lose your customers!

PERTH
RIP iiNET. The might $ speaks volumes, shows how shallow it all is really. Why should TPG care as long as it keeps the wheels turning. It's business, do your job get paid, iiNet staff care about customers. Was nice while it lasted, I guess... I respected my execs, they were real, have consciences. As a worker you were important, and could effect change if it was wrong. So sad.

We have been with iinet since it's inception but will now look very carefully at how TPG perform over the next couple of weeks to see if we jump ship

Perth
I have been a customer of IINet since year 2002 and have always experienced great customer service from the team and it didn't matter who answered the phone call from Perth, Eastern state or Overseas, I have always received outstanding customer service from them when I call. IINet has built it's brand locally and dominated the internet industry as a leading service provider and it is not about numbers, it is about people and service it delivers. If customers do not received the service, best wishes to you as a business. Dismantling the country club culture will be the biggest mistake TPG will make. Yes, you will save a few dollars in overhead cost, but think about the long term goal profit!!! TPG bought IInet as a complete package as a successful business. I urge you TPG to maintain the service the way it is. Happy staff, happy customers = PROFIT in business. If your service level drops, I am happy to move on to another ISP.

Perth
Seconding the comment above. As someone currently on the phone at iiNet, I am outraged at the 'country club' comment. CSR's work so hard to deliver outstanding service often working over our hours and going to extra lengths to help customers. The pay at iiNet is not much higher than the minimum wage yet we have to be 100% happy and courteous on the phone while we work through peoples problems day in and day out. What works for staff is our friendly and supportive environment. If that is taken away you can be assured that the quality of people who answer the phone will drop significantly. So Iinet customers should be concerned about upcoming changes about Mr Teoh's views. Personally I think Mr Teoh is risking his own investment if he continues with his abrupt attitude and decision-making.

As a current employee at the CSM level, I have seen so many changes in the last 5 years. The so-called country club culture is a necessity. CSR's start out at $37.5k and can earn up to $800 a month in bonuses (taxed of course) but not many do. Things like staff events, work drinks, cake day, etc actually do boost staff morale and camaraderie. I can honestly say that I am still with the company because of the staff because these sort of events bring us together. Even after 5 years, I still earn less than your average person with a base salary of a little over $43k. My bonuses are stats based (NPS, ADH, ACW). Just in the last month, some of these changes have been happening across all sites. Things that haven't been passed onto SCSR's and the CSR's is that we'll be getting rid of free fruit, lollies, tea, coffee, pool table, ps4/xbox. We have been advised they will retain staff events at only twice a year but no more end of month drinks. There will be further "reshuffling" of CSM's and I am one of the few to go. My team will be consolidated into another team and spearhead by another tenured CSM.

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Total Shareholder Return as at 30/09/16

1 year TSR5 year TSR
548thTPG Telecom-20%46%
726 WA (and selected non WA) listed companies ranked by 1 year TSR relative to other companies with similar revenue
Source: Morningstar

Revenue

th-TPG Telecom$2,480.5m
77 listed non wa companies ranked by revenue.
Source: Morningstar

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