Sticking with your mates

The Central Coast is not the first choice for most nationally focused businesses to put down their roots, but up and coming telecommunications group, MATE, is no ordinary business; they’re into friendliness … and football.
MATE is an Australian-owned Telecommunications provider that uses the NBN infrastructure.
It also provides mobile phone services over the Telstra network.
MATE was established by David and Mark Fazio and Jonathan Dundovic, themselves all good mates.
In an interview this week, General Manager Mark Fazio said that while the big telcos have looked at cost cutting measures which include outsourcing their customer service teams overseas, MATE has ensured that Australians are serviced by Australians and have kept their service here in Australia, even though they could save big money with outsourcing this overseas.
“Customers want to speak with people who have experienced what they are going through,” Fazio says.
“As consumers’ technology experience grows more complex, their desire for authenticity and community connection has also grown.
“It’s the human factor that matters now more than ever.
“We want our customers to feel like they’re dealing with their mates when they need help or support.”
It seems to be working.
Not only has MATE established a strong brand based on trust and community, but in 2018, it was recognised as one of the fastest-growing businesses in Australia, making Delloitte’s Fast50.
It also ranked #2 behind Afterpay in the Technology Fast50 list of winners, and CEO, David Fazio, was announced as the winner of Dynamic Business’s Top10 Dynamic Entrepreneurs award.
Key areas of growth for the group have been the growth in data requirements for gaming and home entertainment, home offices, and the broader trend in the internet-of-things (IOT).
MATE’s headquarters are in Wetherill Park in Western Sydney, but the group made a big decision in 2019 to make a major commitment to the Central Coast.
“The Central Coast is less a city and more a collection of large, fiercely local communities, all connected by their love of the Coast, it felt like home to us.”
As part of their investment in the Coast, MATE signed a significant partnership with the Central Coast Mariners.
When we asked Mark Fazio about the motivation for this, it quickly became clear, they are a family of football tragics.
After undertaking a similar partnership with the Western Sydney Wanderers, David, Mark and Jonathan decided to get behind the Mariners.
“To be honest, it did cause some grief when they played each other in Round 1,” Mark says.
“But both clubs know where we’re coming from.”
As part of their connections with the Mariners and the Wanderers, MATE have also partnered with Coast football legend and Socceroos’ goalkeeper, Mat Ryan, and Matildas’ superstar, Samantha Kerr.
Fazio says the connection with Mat Ryan was more than Maty being a local boy.
“In football, it’s bad news if the ball gets into the back of your own net and that’s why the keeper is so important.
“Similarly, our goal is to ensure that residents on the Central Coast don’t suffer poor service or contract blues.”
Did the recent form of the Mariners bother Fazio?
Not in the least, he’s in it for the long haul.
The relationship with Kerr echoes the group’s commitment to women’s football and its future growth.
Despite all their initial success, the executives eschew boardroom largesse in favour of rolling their shirt sleeves up.
When we spoke to Fazio this week, he’d just finished a stint on the phones, doing customer support.
“When we started the business,” he says, “we had two tables and I used a filing cabinet to stand my computer on.”
Preserving their family roots and values as they’ve grown has been a big focus for the Fazio brothers.
“To us, MATEship comes natural.
“It comes from family and extends to our community.”
The business has kept more than just its family values.
The brothers’ Aunty cooks every day for staff and even makes a cake for everyone’s birthday.
Now there’s something that every small business should have.

Interview with Mark Fazio, Jan 16
Reporter: Ross Barry

NB: Coast Community News is an advertising partner of Mate

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