Xtra’s new chief eyes business

New Xtra boss Bob Smith plans to focus the Telecom ISP much more on the business market.Two key elements will be electronic commerce and providing more business content.

New Xtra boss Bob Smith plans to focus the Telecom ISP much more on the business market.

“The focus to date has been on the consumer market and we will continue with that, but obviously we will get much more active in the business market,” he says. “We’re looking at how we can offer services packages tailored to that market.”

Two key elements will be electronic commerce and providing more business content. Smith says not to expect one big announcement; rather, it will be an evolving plan, based initially on discussions with major customers who are being sounded out about their requirements.

But the focus won’t be just on the large customers. “We’ll look at the whole spectrum.”

Smith says his switch into the job was a “mutual conclusion” between himself and top management.

“From a personal point of view, the whole principles behind the Internet are very much the future part of Telecom’s business. This was a great opportunity for me to be at the forefront. The Internet and access devices will have a major impact on the way we live in the next century.

“My origins are in running sales and services, and I’ve also got the experience in most facets of Telecom’s business.

“I think I can bring a lot to Xtra in terms of my experience in running a service operation.”

In its one-year life, Xtra has attracted plenty of bad press about its service.

“We’re now moving to the next phase, of being a service operation,” Smith says. “Customer service will be a key priority.”

He doesn’t plan any major changes in the short term. “I’ve only been in the job a week. It would be presumptuous of me to propose major changes in such a fast-moving market.”

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