Telstra has come under fire for advising a Sydney mother to show her child “the outside world” in response to a tweet inquiring about a service outage.
Michelle Stephenson tweeted Telstra on Wednesday alerting the company her Foxtel and broadband service was down, meaning her child could not watch TV.
Social media manager Renee, also a mother, responded to the tweet from the Telstra account, but not with the customer support Ms Stephenson was after.
Instead, Renee offered “a lesson in child rearing”, as Ms Stephenson described it.
@MishStephenson Heya Michelle, I can appreciate that, I usually show my kid the outside world when there’s no internet, it’s tricky.. -Renee
— Telstra (@Telstra) March 9, 2016
Telecommunication companies like Telstra attribute their customer service responses on Twitter to the author, making their interaction with customers more personal than scripted.
Ms Stephenson, who is also a national newsroom manager working for radio station Nova in Sydney, responded by saying she “just wanted some downtime”.
“Not funny, I’m a working mum who’s spent part of the day showing him the world, I just want downtime,” she tweeted.
Twitter users and colleagues began to intervene, outraged by Telstra’s “rude” comments.
Renee responded to another of Ms Stephenson’s tweets, mentioning she was a mum herself.
“I wasn’t trying to be funny Michelle, I feel your pain, I’m a working mum with a kid too, it’s not easy – Renee,” Telstra tweeted.
“You were being completely condescending not even in the realm of funny, how about you give me info on fix times,” Ms Stephenson responded.
Renee then offered an apology.
“My apologies, that wasn’t my intention at all. If you can please provide your postcode, I’ll look into it for you – Renee,” Telstra tweeted.
Then fellow Telstra employee Jesse intervened.
“Currently working to resolve. Current estimate is to restore on 11/03 however sooner if possible – Jesse 2/2,” Telstra tweeted.