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Has the forum been deserted?

MJN
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Has the forum been deserted?

I don't have much cause to visit the forums these days (see that as a good thing - no problems whatsoever with my service!) but I do pop back in to browse from time to time. I've noticed however, perhaps not coincidental with Covid-19, that the forums don't appear to have much staff input these days. Am I imagining this?

I did actually have reason to post a query myself (about reverse DNS for static IP addresses) and it didn't receive a response for the several days it was up. I resolved it via a support ticket without issue but I'm sure this sort of thing would've been picked up and sorted on here before I'd barely finished typing.

If the staffing levels are related to Covid-19, and perhaps lockdown(s) in particular, I am scratching my head why this would be the case. Of the various positives that have come out of this pandemic, some businesses - such as ISPs - must surely be doing alright and I can't see why a support forum would be negatively impacted. Indeed I would expect its staffing to be bolstered in order to reduce the demand on telephone support which might be challenging to keep going with the remote working.

Has anyone else noticed this? Even better, any Plusnet staff able to comment?

(Incidentally, I hope this doesn't sound like a complaint/moan - I actually intend it to be quite the opposite and an acknowledgement as to how good the forum platform has been for support and customer-staff interaction. It is a key component of my recommendation to others considering joining Plusnet).

22 REPLIES 22
MJN
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Re: Has the forum been deserted?

Six weeks and no response at all. I guess that says it all. QED. 😞

jab1
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Re: Has the forum been deserted?

Sorry, @MJN I must have missed this when you originally posted. The following comments are my observations only, with a little input from other sources.

For some reason best known only to BT/PN management, the CV19 situation has been seen as an excellent opportunity to turn a once fast and effective support function into a zombie. There is no valid reason why there cannot be at least a skeleton Help Team presence actually at PN Towers, and any attempt to ask why this situation has arisen is met with a deathly silence.

As you say, other organisations with a web-based help function have managed to initiate a system based on home-working, although this has in some cases meant that certain queries take a bit longer to get a response - for instance where for security reasons the full system is not available to those working at home. However, there IS sufficient space at PN Towers to have a safe working environment, but a decision has obviously been taken not to implement this - bizarre!!

As to telephone support - forget it, I have seen so many posts on here complaining that people have been waiting 45+ minutes for a response, or being cut off after half an hour that again, it is clear that the company is just not prepared to help those that pay its finance - again, either a very short-sighted attitude, or more likely a deliberate ploy by BT to kill the Plusnet brand.

 

John
Shep41
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Re: Has the forum been deserted?

Or as plusnet would say.
That'll do
jab1
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Re: Has the forum been deserted?

@Shep41 Or as everybody else would say 'No it won't'

John
MisterW
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Re: Has the forum been deserted?

However, there IS sufficient space at PN Towers to have a safe working environment, but a decision has obviously been taken not to implement this - bizarre!!

I think the problem is 'hot desking' , all contact centres do this, people don't have their own space. The problem of sanitising between shifts and the risks therein are huge I suspect. So therefore, if say you normally have two shifts, allowing for people off shift, you have probably 3 times the number of people as you have desks. If you were to allocate everyone their 'own' space you are down to about 1/3 of the normal staff being able to work on site. Then you have the problem of safe distancing which will reduce the numbers even further...

Yes, people can and should be able to work from home. I'm sure there are some security issues with account access from off-site, but other organisations seem to be able to solve it to greater or lesser extents.

 

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.

jab1
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Re: Has the forum been deserted?

I understand the issues, but if other organisations can overcome these issues, why are Plusnet seemingly incapable?

John
MJN
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Re: Has the forum been deserted?

It really is perplexing. Thanks to Plusnet, and its other ISP cousins, myself and 10's of thousands of my colleagues have been able to work remotely from home for the last 9 months. They've found themselves effectively becoming critical national infrastructure in all but name and should themselves be the masters of secure and effective remote working.
MisterW
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Re: Has the forum been deserted?

It really is perplexing

It is.

They've found themselves effectively becoming critical national infrastructure in all but name

That's the nub of the problem. Broadband support by ISP's and BT Openreach has historically been provided on a 'best efforts' basis. People are currently expecting support akin to that expected for other infrastructure services and the 'systems' just arent set up for it.

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.

idonno
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Re: Has the forum been deserted?


@MisterW wrote: People are currently expecting support akin to that expected for other infrastructure services and the 'systems' just arent set up for it.

I wouldn't entirely agree, especially with the 'systems'. Having recently taken on a business line (not with PN I might add), the support is far above what i get for my home line. But then I pay more for it. Problem is a lot of people are business working from home but expecting the level of support that business lines tend to get on a home connection. It just doesn't happen.

 

Pay that extra money and you'll find you can, even now, get same day/48hr repairs of faults along with other means of maintaining that connection. And that is one thing that determined how big my bill would be. I decided that I didn't really need same day repairs but 48hrs would do fine all the while I still had a connection by other means.

 

As for the new business line connection expereince. The hub (btw - hubs have become enormous!) and the new digital phone arrived on the days as stated. Even the engineer arrived on the day to do the biz with no need to bother anyone else. But then that IS the level of service I am paying for.

Ever helpful. Grin Sure, I’d love to help you out. Now which way did you come in?
jab1
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Re: Has the forum been deserted?


@MisterW wrote:

It really is perplexing

It is.

They've found themselves effectively becoming critical national infrastructure in all but name

That's the nub of the problem. Broadband support by ISP's and BT Openreach has historically been provided on a 'best efforts' basis. People are currently expecting support akin to that expected for other infrastructure services and the 'systems' just arent set up for it.


Sorry to have to disagree here, @MisterW  - at least with regards to PN - support of any kind is totally non-existent.

John
MisterW
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Re: Has the forum been deserted?

I wouldn't entirely agree, especially with the 'systems'. Having recently taken on a business line (not with PN I might add), the support is far above what i get for my home line.

@idonno but that is down to the systems. In a lot of ISP's the business support is handled by the same people as residential, its just that the system gives priority to business on the basis that they are paying for it. As you say, for a business service you decide whether enhanced support is justifiable but it IS an option. When I was responsible for the office comms , I decided that having 2 FTTC connections was a better option than enhanced support on a single connection.

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.

MJN
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Re: Has the forum been deserted?


@MisterW wrote:

They've found themselves effectively becoming critical national infrastructure in all but name

That's the nub of the problem. Broadband support by ISP's and BT Openreach has historically been provided on a 'best efforts' basis. People are currently expecting support akin to that expected for other infrastructure services and the 'systems' just arent set up for it.


That wasn't really my point. My reference to CNI was an exaggerated reflection that if there was ever a need for good levels of support (as we're used to) this is it. I'm not expecting elevated levels of support (as others have rightly pointed out, we are on best efforts residential contacts). My issue is that there doesn't appear to any support at all on the forums, or it is sporadic at best, and I'm not quite sure why that's the case. Working in not too dissimilar fields I am sure Plusnet can work out how to enable their staff to work remotely just like my employer did. There is obviously a reason - perhaps they're all rushed off their feet - but in the absence of any explanation I'm left to wondering where they've all gone. 

MisterW
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Re: Has the forum been deserted?

My issue is that there doesn't appear to any support at all on the forums, or it is sporadic at best, and I'm not quite sure why that's the case

@MJN I have to agree with that

Working in not too dissimilar fields I am sure Plusnet can work out how to enable their staff to work remotely just like my employer did. There is obviously a reason - perhaps they're all rushed off their feet - but in the absence of any explanation I'm left to wondering where they've all gone. 

Like you, I work from home, have done since before the pandemic, and can access the office systems. I don't know enough about PlusNets systems but I would imagine that CSC call handling may well be difficult from home. As to the forum help team, what I do know is that they have, very sensibly, a system to pull Twitter, Facebook and Forum activity into a common response system. If that system is not accessible remotely then it would make life difficult for the Help team working from home.  

 

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.

archerry
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Re: Has the forum been deserted?

At least one of the call handlers I have spoken to recently is working from home, as I heard happy sounds in the background and we exchanged comments about them.
The Service Level Agreement for the customer support organization may have changed recently, which has led to the current situation.

Regards,
Alistair