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Difficulty signing up a new account on-line

MauriceC
Hero
Posts: 4,085
Thanks: 929
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Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Difficulty signing up a new account on-line

I've been attempting to sign up a new User account for the last couple of days.
Yesterday got all the way past giving credit card details - then site responded "error unable to save details due to a problem at our end" (paraphrased from memory)  and re-directed me to Residential Broadband.  Confirmed with support that account had not been created and CC details saved.
Tried again tonight.  Now getting stuck on the 'Signup - your details' page.  Just will not accept anything in the 'Default email' box?  Tried the suggested name@newaccount.plus.com, tried my plusnet account, tried an external mail address, tried nowt.  Always the same message:
"Email Address - Your email address should be 2 to 16 characters in length, start with two letters and contain no spaces or special characters."
Pleasant support but after the suggestions above failed, proposed signing up via the phone?  It should be an easy process, so why the difficulty in making on-line signup work.
Maurice

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

11 REPLIES 11
spraxyt
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 10,063
Thanks: 1,369
Fixes: 75
Registered: ‎06-04-2007

Re: Difficulty signing up a new account on-line

Quote from: MauriceC
"Email Address - Your email address should be 2 to 16 characters in length, start with two letters and contain no spaces or special characters."

That range of characters seems odd, it's rather difficult getting a full email address into 2 characters and my email address is longer than 16 characters. Is this box intended for just the local part before the @ symbol on a standard Plusnet account address?
For residential accounts the MMM new-mailbox limits and character restrictions are different (see attachment) - are ranges for business accounts different?.
David
David
prichardson
Grafter
Posts: 1,503
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Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re: Difficulty signing up a new account on-line

We have not been seeing any other reports of problems similar to those described and we use the same signup system internally whilst processing over the phone.
You may wish to call the sales team who can process this over the phone for you and raise a problem with the relevant information if this continues. 0800 073 3053

I can only assume it is one of a limited number of things from the browser or security software you are using (have you tried a different browser), or a value you are entering (possibly triggering a bug through not fault of your own).
MauriceC
Hero
Posts: 4,085
Thanks: 929
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Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Re: Difficulty signing up a new account on-line

Ta.  But I work during the day with little time to spare this week -  Big office migration in process.  The sales team finish prompt at 17:00
I also have a reluctance to sign up via the phone for an ISP service.  It must be plausible to do all of this on-line?  At one point it was also rejecting my perfectly valid Plusnet User name as a referrer - but that has now "gone away"".
Should I try an alternative supplier? Lips_are_sealed
Maurice

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

Mark
Grafter
Posts: 1,852
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: Difficulty signing up a new account on-line

Hi Maurice
Phil isnt suggesting you try an alternative supplier, neither implied or otherwise.
Having tried to replicate your issue internally, on a number of systems and via a number of users, we cannot replicate the issue.
We've had no reports of a similar experience by phone or online.
The sign up journey for consumer and business is basically the same. I'd expect that if this was a wider issue we'd have heard about it by now.
I fully appreciate your feedback and knowledge but I have to ask, have you tried it from an alternative system?
I'm at a total loss to replicate and explain this one.
Mark
MauriceC
Hero
Posts: 4,085
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Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Re: Difficulty signing up a new account on-line

What a frustrating journey Roll_eyes
I did succeed in completing the journey today, but only after a different little twist.  On previous occasions it accepted the Post Code and offered the correct Full Address as the option:  Today it gave an incorrect address which had to be manually edited.  Different PAF files on different servers?
An observation:  There is no simple mechanism to print the full details of the transaction including the terms and conditions agreed to.  The T+C's are in a small scrolling window.  Ideally it should be possible to print a complete record for future reference if a dispute were to arise?
Now looking forward to an early activation. Smiley
Maurice

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

mssystems
Rising Star
Posts: 282
Thanks: 39
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Registered: ‎10-08-2007

Re: Difficulty signing up a new account on-line

Quote from: Mark
We've had no reports of a similar experience by phone or online.
You have had reports of other frustrations with the online sign up from business users though.
Given that some business customer have to go through the signup process a lot more often than a typical customer user.
Also, that they may be routinely referring customers to you.
How difficult is it to produce a form that can be downloaded, completed and e-mailed back?
I share Maurice's frustration. 
Business you see. Time is money, which Plus.net need to understand if they want to keep business customers coming back.
Mark
Grafter
Posts: 1,852
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: Difficulty signing up a new account on-line

Hi
Quote
How difficult is it to produce a form that can be downloaded, completed and e-mailed back?

It's not difficult I'd imagine, but our sign up is fully automated and designed to be zero touch, thus ensuring that the vast majority of orders are delivered without error or issue in an efficient and timely manner. When an order is submitted, our back end systems are immediately talking to BT's systems to get the order underway.
If you had to download a form, fill it in and email it back, someone would then have to be employed to run a data entry process to get the order on the systems.
That's both inefficient and by adding the human element the possibility for error is introduced.
We've been doing automated sign up for more years than I can remember and I dont know of any instance where we've had a complaint asking for a manual sign up system until yours. Automation drives efficiencies, increases delivery within lead time and reduces costs, that is cost to provide our services which benefit both our customers and our business. Adding manual layers removes that eficiency and drives up costs.
I'm happy to review the sign up journey but it's used by many customers, referrers and new customers every day of every week and as per my previous post, I'm not aware of any problems or complaints other than your's and Maurices.
As I said, I'll review and see if there's something we're missing. It's also worth noting that our business sales team are happy to progress a sign up over the phone if customers are unhappy with the online journey.
Mark

mssystems
Rising Star
Posts: 282
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Registered: ‎10-08-2007

Re: Difficulty signing up a new account on-line

Thank you for the attention Mark. My Apologies for being a little too busy to return the courtesy.
You are only seeing the process from your own side.  Feel free to check my account, see how long I have been with you and how many business customers I have referred to you in that time.  The signup process has always been a little annoying but the last couple I have done have been far from zero touch.
Automation that does not produce a result which is right first time is typically more costly than the equivalent manual process.  Automation + intervention = inefficient.  In the case of the order signup, it's the interruption to workflow and having to start the process from scratch each time a trivial issue arises that makes it inefficient.  PN do not feel the pain, customers do.  Where a business is concerned, repeating the process causes the few pence that automation may save on the service cost, to be dwarfed by the cost of lost man hours. 
The main advantage I see in a hard copy flat form is being able to compile all the information needed to complete the sign up prior to commencing it, significantly increasing the chances of completing efficiently,  right first time.
Quote
I'm happy to review the sign up journey but it's used by many customers, referrers and new customers every day of every week and as per my previous post, I'm not aware of any problems or complaints other than your's and Maurices.

So it's our fault then Wink 
Basically I want the job of quoting to be easier than it is and to be able to progress through the order journey to completion without having to go backwards.  I don't think that is too difficult to understand or too much to ask for.  You might want to expend a little energy thinking how you might help, in preference to trying to persuade me that my problems do not exist.
The majority of your customers go through the order process once and are unlikely to waste further time complaining about it.
The figure you need to look at is 'leakage' rather than completion.  What proportion of orders are abandoned part way through sign up. 
The work around you suggest is to pick up the phone and talk to the sales team.  How is that different from a flat form?  As soon as I have to pick up the phone and talk to your staff, any saving from automation disappears and we are both paying the cost of it.
Quote
As I said, I'll review and see if there's something we're missing. It's also worth noting that our business sales team are happy to progress a sign up over the phone if customers are unhappy with the online journey.

You are, in a way, demonstrating what you are missing.  This is another example of PN not understanding the small business need for efficiency.  Office hours, phone lines and employing the staff to to use them are extremely precious commodities for a small business.  There is no spare capacity.
Work flow interruption is the worse sort of inefficiency.  You don't just lose the time it takes to sort out the issue but also the time it takes for a self-managed, multitasking employee, to switch roles. E.g. Waiting on hold, small talk, making a cup of coffee, having a little moan to a colleague about how rubbish ISP customer service is these days.
I am not asking PN to do the job for me.  I am asking PN to help me to do the job more efficiently.
You might, for instance, make available for download, by the referrers that want it;
1. A pricing summary - By product and market area with VAT, set up charges and service limits and traffic limits stated clearly in one place.
2. A form that asks every question that PN are going to ask during the signup - The form could be no more complicated than PDFing the web pages each time you change the portal.
At least;
3. Allow referrers to complete the order data collection journey, when the post code or some other check would otherwise cause it to fail.  Perhaps even, raise a ticket on the new account automatically when a check fails.  Perhaps even making, order new account, an option in the business portal to differentiate referring business customers from new business customers.



rrowen
Not applicable
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎31-07-2011

Re: Difficulty signing up a new account on-line

Called Plusnet Friday AM. Sales person was in no hurry to race me through the sign up. felt at ease. Friday evening advised that MAC had been secured. Order was in progress.
Saturday AM router delivered..
PlusNet is used by both my son & Brother inlaw. Both very satisfied.
Was with BT had a couple of account issues. made more frustrating by the long waits and the poor line quality to an overseas call centre. Had to resolve my issues by calling theire 'new customer' sales number and demanding to speak with a UK advisor.
Gisyourfriend
Dabbler
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎30-08-2008

Re: Difficulty signing up a new account on-line

@ rrowen
Glad to hear the Business Sales team put you at ease, and that your order is progressing well. Always happy to hear about a good experience!
@ mssystems
First of all, thank you for such detailed and well thought out feedback - perfectly highlights the pitfalls of this type of signup journey for a referrer like yourself.
I'll be looking to contact you directly in the coming days about your post, but we're hopeful of being able to offer a form of data collection & referral that may be more suitable for you and potentially other Business referrers. There are a few things that no amount of data collection will tell you for certain, for instance line check results will ascertain market area &, where appropriate, the status of lines at the property, but I'm hopeful that we can work out a solution that benefits you in terms of efficiency and improves the referred customers overall experience - nothing like shooting for the moon eh?  Wink
Gordon
mssystems
Rising Star
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Registered: ‎10-08-2007

Re: Difficulty signing up a new account on-line

Hi Gordon
Just wanted to say thank you for your attention and I will be replying to your e-mail in due course.