WestNet on the move

24/06/2003 - 22:00

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RAPID growth and low staff turnover have meant that local Internet service provider WestNet has outgrown its St Georges Terrace offices and is moving to larger premises in Osborne Park. The new building has been designed by architectural firm Smith and H

RAPID growth and low staff turnover have meant that local Internet service provider WestNet has outgrown its St Georges Terrace offices and is moving to larger premises in Osborne Park.

The new building has been designed by architectural firm Smith and Hoare and incorporates staff-friendly features such as a gymnasium, outdoor areas and 24-hour secure parking.

Having recently employed five help desk staff and three new accounts staff, WestNet managing director Peter Brown said needing more room for expansion was a good problem to have.

“It [the company] has grown beyond anything we’d imagined and our numbers are increasing every month,” he said.

“We’re putting on about 1,500 customers every month and it doesn’t seem to be slowing.”

However, Mr Brown said the company would not be diversifying into other areas in the near future.

“We tend to focus on what we are good at and don’t tend to move outside of being an Internet service provider,” he said.

WestNet started in Geraldton in 1994 and quickly established itself as a regional ISP.

Moving to Perth in March 1999 with 5,000 customers, the company experienced what Mr Brown described as huge growth.

The company now has 38,000 customers, more than 300 agents and more than 80 staff.

Mr Brown said while 85 percent of customers were regional – with 80 per cent being private households and 20 per cent businesses – the company was looking at expanding its corporate base.

It is also looking to capture more of the ADSL market.

Mr Brown said the doctrine for success was simple, whether dealing with a corporate or private client.

“Both want customer service,” he said.

“At the end of the day the customer is right and you can’t get away from that.”

Mr Brown said he considered much of what the company did to be proactive customer service.

This philosophy has led to the development of many in-house systems that allows WestNet to log and monitor customer behaviour and stay in touch with its customers directly.

This includes an SMS notification that is automatically sent out to customers if a system goes down.

“This saves the customer a huge amount of time and hassle,” Mr Brown said.

He said WestNet also tried to avoid using an automated phone system, preferring a receptionist to take a message instead and have someone call the customer back.

“We’ve found most customers would rather leave a message than sit on hold,” Mr Brown said.

WestNet is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitchell and Brown Communications Pty Ltd, a Geraldton-based electrical, computing, networking and cabling business that services regional Western Australia.

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