Tuesday, 21 November 2017 13:03

Telstra 'PhoneWords' founder buys Telstra's 85% stake, renames to 1300 Australia

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The founder of Telstra PhoneWords, Gavin Scholes, and investors led by Aura Funds Management, have acquired Telstra PhoneWords and promise to help with "1300 GROWTH."

Buying up the 85% of Telstra PhoneWords in an age of online companies seemingly trying to keep their phone numbers a secret, while pushing people to online chats, forums and social media seems a brave move.

That said, actually ringing and getting through to a person — especially without waiting tens of minutes or longer — is something people actually like doing, so clearly, 1300 Australia is sure it won't be left without words by making this acquisition.

Now, word is that once the Telstra PhoneWords transaction is completed, the company "will revert back to its original name of 1300 Australia, and the management team and employees will continue in their current positions".

The 85% stake was purchased for "an undisclosed amount", but with the company having grown quickly since its existing relationship with Telstra took place in 2004 to become "a leader in the rapidly growing PhoneWords market", 1300 Australia believes its product is still "proving integral to the marketing and advertising efforts of Australian businesses".

The company presumably can't do much about call waiting times trying to get through to a person, seeing as call centres and staff levels its customers invest in are out of its hands, but it does suggest an appropriate phone word can help a company "grow with up to 5.5x more calls" than without a phone word.

Chief executive Gavin Scholes said, “This is a significant milestone for the business and we are excited for what lies ahead. There is a significant runway of growth in the Phone Words market as more businesses seek simplicity and cut through in their marketing campaigns.

“The business would not be where it is today without the support it has received from Telstra. Together we have invested over $50 million to create a product that is now seen as an increasingly important marketing and advertising tool for businesses of any size.

“Phone Words help companies get a better return on their marketing and advertising efforts for the simple reason that market research has shown time and time again that customers remember words better than numbers.”

As you might have guessed, 1300 Australia says "it will no longer have an exclusive relationship with Telstra and the company will broaden the scope of its offering including creating wholesale arrangements with other telecommunication companies, and marketing and advertising agencies".

This makes sense, and allows 1300 Australia to spread the word much further.

The company says it is "a global leader in the PhoneWords market, and leases 13, 1300 and 1800 PhoneWords to businesses. The product has proven highly successful with 41 of the Top 50 advertisers in Australia using Phone Words in their marketing and advertising efforts".

"PhoneWords make advertising memorable and are a suitable marketing tool for all sizes of businesses. Like a great domain name, PhoneWords are only available once and are extremely inexpensive relative to other mainstream marketing tools.

"1300 Australia also owns CALLN.com a platform that uses business analytics to help companies understand what their customers are saying when they call. CALLN.com improves every part of a company’s performance from sales, debt collection, customer service and other parts of the business where phone calls may be important."

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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