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Technical support disaster

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Dabbler
Posts: 22
Thanks: 2
Registered: ‎31-07-2013

Technical support disaster

My friends plus net ADSL broadband stopped working today. A "very helpful" technician told her to reset her user supplied router (BT Home Smarthub 6) to factory defaults using a paperclip, which (of course) means that it deleted her entire configuration - Wifi SSID and password, broadband userid and password, wifi channels, firewall configuration, resulting in:

 

1. Laptop not connecting to Wifi

2. Router not connecting to plusnet

3. Printer not connecting to Wifi.

 

Having done that the technician admitted defeat, and said he would see what he would do and rang off. He was incapable of helping her to reconnect her laptop to the default wifi configuration (either using the SSID and password on the back of the router or using WPS), and didn't try to help her setup her Plusnet userid and password.

 

I contacted plusnet on her behalf, and spoke to a new technician who phoned my friend, but this second technician could do neither of these either.

 

 

I should add that when I recommended plusnet to the person who bought my house last year, she tried to sign up with them but they were so incompetent at trying to hand over the line from one plusnet customer to another that in the end they recommended that she went to a competitor.

 

When I first became a plusnet customer myself almost 2 decades ago, their technical support was literally better than anyone elses. Now it seems to have hit rock bottom.

39 REPLIES 39
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Dabbler
Posts: 22
Thanks: 2
Registered: ‎31-07-2013

Re: Technical support disaster

Fortunately, from 2000km away, I was able to talk her through reconnecting her laptop to wifi and reconnecting the router to the internet, so at least she has basic connectivity.

 

But her ability to print anything and all the special firewall configuration will now need to wait until I am back in the UK in June.

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Hero
Posts: 4,155
Thanks: 1,807
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Registered: ‎30-06-2016

Re: Technical support disaster

If the user supplied router is a Smarthub 6 then it's not supported in any way by Plusnet.

When you say that the person who bought your house left Plusnet, is this the same person and this is really a complaint about BT retail?

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Dabbler
Posts: 22
Thanks: 2
Registered: ‎31-07-2013

Re: Technical support disaster

Router supported - Exactly - they should never have requested a non-technical customer to reset a router they don't support to factory defaults.

 

House purchase - No, an entirely different situation.

 

But clearly, Plus Net has changed significantly for the worse, and having recommended them to lots of people over the years, I can no longer do so.

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Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Posts: 594
Fixes: 29
Registered: ‎06-08-2018

Re: Technical support disaster

Hi @protopia

 

Thank you for getting in touch and I am sorry to hear about your friends experience, I agree that advising someone to factory reset their router without providing them with full assistance to get connected again is not the level of support we usually provide.

 

I would really like to investigate this and pass the relevant feedback on to ensure that this does not happen again, if you know the details please feel free to send me a private message with your friends username on their behalf I can do this. Alternatively they can send us a private message on Facebook or a direct message on Twitter themselves and we can look into this for them.

 

Once again I do apologise for any inconvenience this has caused.

 

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Dabbler
Posts: 22
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Registered: ‎31-07-2013

Re: Technical support disaster

"I agree that advising someone to factory reset their router without providing them with full assistance to get connected again is not the level of support we usually provide."

 

1. It is not a good idea to reset a router without having saved the details of the configuration (by an export of a configuration file or by noting details for later manual re-entry). You cannot rely on the user knowing or being able to recall how the router was configured. 

 

2. The most obvious fault was a line problem. Once that was eliminated you should tell the user that it is most likely a router configuration issue and try to tweak the existing configuration if at all possible. If the user doesn't have the admin password or the skills to do this, then you should ask them who set up the router and if they could be contacted to help fix it. (In this case, I could have done that remotely in the same way that I was able to help get her back on Wifi and to set the username and password and get reconnected.) Because of the difficulties that will likely ensue from a router factory reset, it should be the action of absolute last resort. 

 

3. If a factory reset was the only issue of appalling quality, it would be one thing. But neither of your technical support staff was able to help her even get her laptop reconnected to the wifi (which had the factory default SSID / password not the originally configured one). Most routers have details of the default SSID / password on the back - and if there is WPS (which this has) it is even easier. But neither of your staff could even do that. Just appalling. Once I had done that, I was able to Google details of the router admin pages and help her set up the PlusNet userid and password again. If I could do it, then so could your technicians, and having stupidly made her reset the router to factory defaults you should at least have attempted this.

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Dabbler
Posts: 22
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Registered: ‎31-07-2013

Re: Technical support disaster

Well I provided Warwick from the PlusNet Help Team with my friends username 6 hours ago, and he has NOT been in touch with her (yet?).

 

So she still has only a basic router configuration and no ability to use her printer which cannot connect to Wifi any more. PlusNet have accepted that they made a major mistake by asking her to do a router factory reset, but they still have not made a single attempt to fix the remaining issues or even apologise for such a terrible mistake.

 

I can see that eventually I am going to have to return to the UK and reconfigure the router to have all the security settings restored and to reconfigure her printer so that it works again because PlusNet are not showing any genuine interest in sorting out the mess they created.

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Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎13-08-2015

Re: Technical support disaster

Some may say providing a non standard router and configuration to a non technical friend may be the real issue here.

Had it been a PN supplied router, then one of the first thing an adviser would suggest would be a factory reset, hopefully after establishing that the line was ok.

But there is not a lot that Warwick will be able to do now to help your friend, he will not know what special configuration you set up for your friend.

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Dabbler
Posts: 22
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Registered: ‎31-07-2013

Re: Technical support disaster

No - performing a factory reset on a PlusNet supplied router would still have lost the customers specific configuration, so it still would have been the wrong thing to do.

Yes - it would have made things easier for the customer, because the PlusNet technician would have been more able to talk the customer through changing the configuration, but that is not the issue here.

If they had tested the line, and said it was now testing as working, they could have asked the customer to contact me to see if I could check the router configuration. They could have asked if she had the password and tried to save the configuration before doing a factory reset. They could have tried to establish whether the router had a non-factory configuration before requesting a factory reset. They could have established that it wasn't a PlusNet supplied router before requesting the non-technical customer do a factory reset. But they did none of these things.

What they did was to get a non-technical customer to do a factory reset and then failed to do a single thing to get the customer back online.

There can be no excuses for such an approach - none. It is completely unacceptable IMO for them to screw up a customers configuration and then wash their hands entirely of the consequences.

For goodness sake, having performed a factory reset they didn't even try to get the customer's laptop connected to wifi again. Or if they did try, they failed at the first hurdle. This has NOTHING to do with which router they have. This is Technical Support 101 - how to connect to Wifi on a router which is set to factory defaults, has the SSID and password printed on the back of the router and has a WPS button. D'oh!

Moderator's note by Dick (Strat): Full quote of preceding post removed as per Forum rules.

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Community Veteran
Posts: 1,993
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Registered: ‎13-08-2015

Re: Technical support disaster

Lots if's there, and I am not saying this to wind you up or anything, just hoping perhaps to spread some yes, been there and what I have learned from it!

I have thought for some time there ought to be some kind of test and licence before you are able to use internet services - a bit like a driving licence! The best ISP's have come up with so far is a standard router and simple scripts for the CS staff. Both are sources from the lowest cost and of course customers shop around for the lowest cost suppliers - (no offence Warwick or the other CS staff, but I saw the salary scale from a recent job advert!) So when well meaning people come along and think they know better, and in their own case probably do, and set up non standard setups, then things can and alas sometimes go wrong. 

So going forward, I hope you can educate your friend, supply them with documentation that will help if something goes wrong in the future - with of course will help them deal with any issues they may come across next time you are not around.

 

HTH

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Dabbler
Posts: 22
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Registered: ‎31-07-2013

Re: Technical support disaster

Whilst it would be nice for every internet user to have sufficient technical skills to configure their own router, many people are utterly non-technical (including my friend who is a retired pensioner) - so it is a pipe dream to have a license that expects users to have these skills - a driving license is not a good analogy, because this is more like requiring every car driver to be able to change a wheel or check their oil levels. I guess that PlusNet could offer a cheaper service for people who had sufficient skills to be self sufficient, but the answer is not to expect all users to be self sufficient.

If I had documented the configuration, it would not have helped. The customer doesn't have the skills to reconfigure the router even if they had the documentation, and PlusNet have reasonably said that they don't support a router they don't supply. The answer, as previously stated, is for PlusNet not to request the customer to reset ANY router to factory defaults without being sure that: the router configuration can be recreated, and that either they are prepared to talk the customer through it or the customer has agreed that they have someone else who can do it or talk them through it.

But having the equivalent for a driving license for technical support might make sense - and I expect that there are standard qualifications for technical support that could be a requirement for a PlusNet technical support role which might stop these sorts of technical support disasters from happening.

The bottom line is that this is NOT the fault of the customer not having any technical skills - it is the fault of the PlusNet technician not having any technical skills. Can we please try not to transfer the blame for this from the supplier to the customer - resetting the router to factory defaults was NOT the customers fault. They just did as they were asked by PlusNet technical support who then abandoned them.

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Champion
Posts: 2,187
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Registered: ‎06-01-2017

Re: Technical support disaster

I'm not defending anyone here, but Warwick 'clocked off' the forums over 4 hours a go. So this could be why you've not had a response thus far. Staff, for all I know, could be inundated with PM's on a daily basis and yours could still be well down the list.

 

However, just a few observations/comments

No - performing a factory reset on a PlusNet supplied router would still have lost the customers specific configuration, so it still would have been the wrong thing to do.

I have to agree, in part. Most of the users I've helped since 2008 have their routers set how they came out the box, default. I actually find it rare to find a novice/non technical user with user made changes. But, and a lot depends on how knowledgeable the user is, I know that from the BTHH2 to BTSH6 and the Plusnet Hub One, they can have their configurations saved to multiple devices, whether that's default settings or user made changes. If I ever make changes in person, I always backup a copy of the configuration and keep it in at least 2 places, 1 being a USB (that I keep) and one on the users chosen device.

If you'd done the same, and made a backup, then you could have avoided all this and just told your friend to restore from a backup. But, that doesn't excuse the call handler getting out of their depth.

they could have asked the customer to contact me to see if I could check the router configuration.

How would Plusnet know this? If your friend did state it was a BT Hub6 and was not set in the 'standard' format, then again Plusnet were in the wrong. Regardless, Plusnet should not have tried anything on a non Plusnet router.

If you're an authorised user on the account then maybe they could have got you involved, but if you're not, then imho they wouldn't do this.

They could have asked if she had the password and tried to save the configuration before doing a factory reset.

The broadband login details and password for the connection would have been on their screen. I've never known a call handler to ask if the owner had a backup.

I did happen to suggest this once to Plusnet, where they get the owner to create a backup, but it went no further.

They could have tried to establish whether the router had a non-factory configuration before requesting a factory reset.

Certainly not defending them, but again, their computer screen would show the last router they sent to the customer. Again if your friend told the call handler it was not a Plusnet router and was not as per default, then again they were wrong. I'm sure Plusnet will listen back to the call (hence why they asked for details) and clearly if it's found the call handler 'got it wrong', then I'm sure they'll be told to never do that again. I still think you may end up fixing the issues as you set it up the first time.

They could have established that it wasn't a PlusNet supplied router before requesting the non-technical customer do a factory reset. But they did none of these things.

Again, the call recording can't lie. Plusnet should do something to make amends as imho they should not have asked your friend to perform a factory reset of a non plusnet router.

What they did was to get a non-technical customer to do a factory reset and then failed to do a single thing to get the customer back online.

Again, you weren't to know, but a backup on yours or your friends device could avoid headaches like this. Just a thought

There can be no excuses for such an approach

Totally agree. If your friend made them aware it was a BT hub6, with non standard settings, then that call handler needs taking of the front line and retrained - this is what I'd do anyway.

It is completely unacceptable IMO for them to screw up a customers configuration and then wash their hands entirely of the consequences.

Maybe BT's notorious call centre 'training' is rubbing off on to Plusnet staff, who knows!;)

For goodness sake, having performed a factory reset they didn't even try to get the customer's laptop connected to wifi again. Or if they did try, they failed at the first hurdle.

All BT routers, that I know of, have the correct credentials to connect most devices to their router, assuming it is as per the defaults, or the user made changes are either saved somewhere safe or remembered by the person who configured it.

They only real thing that is needed for a BT router to work on a Plusnet connection is the user id (same as member centre) and the password. Nothing else really matters, though tweaking it a little is always something I always do.

This has NOTHING to do with which router they have. This is Technical Support 101 - how to connect to Wifi on a router which is set to factory defaults, has the SSID and password printed on the back of the router and has a WPS button. D'oh!

That's where our opinions differ. Plusnet should only advise on their own gear. They would only be trained on Plusnet routers too, but they may have their own knowledge of other brands of router, but they should not 'tinker' on a non Plusnet supplied router.

 

Anyway, hope it gets sorted and the call handler is suitably dealt with, should the call prove they completely messed it up.

 

 

(I'd still do a backup, save one to your device and one to your friends;))

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Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Posts: 594
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Registered: ‎06-08-2018

Re: Technical support disaster

Hi @protopia

 

Thank you for sending over your friends account information and I am sorry if the wrong impression was provided on the outcome.

I am investigating the situation that has occurred, this includes listening to calls that have happened with our Technical Support Team to determine who to pass the relevant feedback on to.

 

I do apologise that the factory reset did remove any specific none standard set-up that had previously been created but unfortunately our Technical Support Team are not able to guarantee support with 3rd party settings. As I am not a Technical Support Advisor I would not be able to provide assistance in trying to resolve these setting for your friend.

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Dabbler
Posts: 22
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Registered: ‎31-07-2013

Re: Technical support disaster

I have to agree, in part. Most of the users I've helped since 2008 have their routers set how they came out the box, default. I actually find it rare to find a novice/non technical user with user made changes. 

Support person could have asked, and customer would have told her that a friend set it up. But he didn't ask whether it was a router model he could support, he didn't ask whether it had been set up by the customer (i.e. default settings) or whether it had been configured by someone else - or if he had asked what the wifi name was he would immediately have known it was not a default SSID - so he requested a factory reset without having made any attempt whatsoever to understand the consequences and whether he could fix it. This is not my fault or the customers - it is wholly the fault of the support technician.

If I ever make changes in person, I always backup a copy of the configuration and keep it in at least 2 places, 1 being a USB (that I keep) and one on the users chosen device. If you'd done the same, and made a backup, then you could have avoided all this and just told your friend to restore from a backup.

I had a backup on my computer on a drive used only for backups (and so it wasn't backed up elsewhere) - but I lost the hard drive a couple of weeks ago and so lost the backup. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned there - but it is not simply to take a backup, because I had done that.

| they could have asked the customer to contact me to see if I could check the router configuration.

How would Plusnet know this? If your friend did state it was a BT Hub6 and was not set in the 'standard' format, then again Plusnet were in the wrong. Regardless, Plusnet should not have tried anything on a non Plusnet router.

If you're an authorised user on the account then maybe they could have got you involved, but if you're not, then imho they wouldn't do this.

Plusnet would have known this if they had asked the customer - but they didn't. They just went ahead blindly and stepped off the cliff. With hindsight, perhaps I should have been an authorised person on the account - but I have been that on previous contracts with plusnet and they never called me because being an authorised person is not the same as being the customers technical person - all it means is that I can call them.

| They could have asked if she had the password and tried to save the configuration before doing a factory reset.

The broadband login details and password for the connection would have been on their screen. I've never known a call handler to ask if the owner had a backup.

No - not that password. They could have asked if the customer had the router admin password so they could save the configuration. She doesn't, but if they had asked, she would have said that she would phone me and see if I could help. A helpful technician might even have offered to add my name to the authorised person list. But instead they made no attempt to understand the customers specific situation, and just reset the router.

| There can be no excuses for such an approach

Totally agree. If your friend made them aware it was a BT hub6, with non standard settings, then that call handler needs taking of the front line and retrained - this is what I'd do anyway.

No - the onus is on the technical support technician to know what he is doing - he is supposedly the expert - it is not the responsibility of the customer to volunteer the router model. How would a non-technical customer know that was needed? As I said before, let's not transfer the blame from the supplier where it belongs to the customer who is the innocent party.

| For goodness sake, having performed a factory reset they didn't even try to get the customer's laptop connected to wifi again. Or if they did try, they failed at the first hurdle.

All BT routers, that I know of, have the correct credentials to connect most devices to their router, assuming it is as per the defaults, or the user made changes are either saved somewhere safe or remembered by the person who configured it.

They only real thing that is needed for a BT router to work on a Plusnet connection is the user id (same as member centre) and the password. Nothing else really matters, though tweaking it a little is always something I always do.

 

|  This has NOTHING to do with which router they have. This is Technical Support 101 - how to connect to Wifi on a router which is set to factory defaults, has the SSID and password printed on the back of the router and has a WPS button. D'oh!

That's where our opinions differ. Plusnet should only advise on their own gear. They would only be trained on Plusnet routers too, but they may have their own knowledge of other brands of router, but they should not 'tinker' on a non Plusnet supplied router.

No - you missed the point. This is not "tinkering" on a non-Plusnet router. Connecting to Wifi requires no tinkering whatsoever with the router. Equally this is nothing to do with what router model you have. This is about how to help a non-technical customer get their laptop connected to wifi. If it was a PlusNet supplied router, making the wifi connection for the customer would have been exactly the same instructions. If it is a non-default SSID AND they don't know the password AND there is no WPS button, then PlusNet could not have helped. But when it is a default SSID and the password is generally printed on the back of the router AND there is a WPS button, there really is no excuse for not being able to help them connect if that is all they were contacting PlusNet about, but when you have just reset their router to factory defaults and they can never connect again until someone goes into the router with their PlusNet username and password, then you really need to make the effort and not just walk away. Can we please stop trying to make excuses for the inexcusable.

But AFAIK the technician didn't know what make of router it was - he got the customer to reset to factory defaults and then walked away. Here is the entire text from the Ticket which was closed immediately this had been logged:

[Technician Name] - CSC Analyst
7:48pm, Thursday 4 Apr 2019
Dear [Customer Name],

called as BB connection issues.KBD OK, reset router, made other changes to help. using BT router. advised to switch off, will call back in 30 mins.

Kind regards,

[Technician Name]

Note, he has clearly stated that he got the customer to reset the router, then expected it to come back to life by itself. But he didn't set the ticket to wait for an hour and then phone back and check. He literally closed the ticket and walked away.

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Dabbler
Posts: 22
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Registered: ‎31-07-2013

Re: Technical support disaster

@Warwick, please read this thread in detail.

I do apologise that the factory reset did remove any specific none standard set-up that had previously been created but unfortunately our Technical Support Team are not able to guarantee support with 3rd party settings. As I am not a Technical Support Advisor I would not be able to provide assistance in trying to resolve these setting for your friend.

This is not about technical support not being able to fix the customised settings after getting the customer to do a factory reset. This is about:

1. Doing a factory reset when you don't know the consequences and have made absolutely no effort to find out.

2. Having told the customer to do a factory reset, failing to help them do even the most basic setup to get them back on line, but instead simply walking away and closing the ticket leaving them with a configuration which will NEVER come back to life without support.

I have got the customer back online by phone from 2,000 miles away - they have the minimum that they need and they don't need any more PlusNet support.

What the customer deserves, however, is an apology for the incompetent and inconsiderate PlusNet support that would have left them permanently offline without a call-back if they hadn't been able to get me to sort out the mess PlusNet created.

And what ALL PlusNet customers deserve is technical support with sufficient skills and training to ensure that this sort of incompetency doesn't happen in the future to anyone else.

--------------------------------------------------

Added by an edit:

P.S. I accept that you are not a technical support person, but you could have arranged for someone else to have called to see if she needed any further technical support. But you didn't. Not a single call to the customer with an offer to help or to apologise. As an escalation, this is not working for her.

Moderator's note by Mike (Mav): Post released from Spam Filter.