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What successes have the Super Users had?

EnglishMohican
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What successes have the Super Users had?

I drop in occasionally to catch up on whats happening in Plusnet's world mostly to find out what improvements have happened and what disasters are about to overtake me and occasionally when I need advice or assistance.

While reading the boards, I see a lot of talk of Super Users and comments effectively saying that the Super Users have taken the topic concerned in the thread up with Plusnet senior management. I have discovered what a Super User is and understand that they are an elite of users allowed access to the powers that be at Plusnet to raise topics of general importance.

So far, I have not seen any thread where they seem to have succeeded at improving or moving the topic forward. Well, that is not quite true, I remember a thread of Shutters about Plusnet shutting down chat to move staff to the phones where the SU took an interest and things sort of improved - but whether that was due to the SU was unclear.

Is there anywhere that the SU's successes are publicised and if not, should there be?

I believe that if the non-elite rest of us are to have any faith in the SU then we need to know when they do have a success and achieve a worthwhile improvement, so I think a "list of SU achievements" board would be a good idea - unless there is already an equivalent and I have just missed it.

If they do not have real achievements, then they are mere window dressing providing a layer of camouflage for Plusnet management. I would like to believe they are not that.

11 REPLIES
Superuser
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Re: What successes have the Super Users had?

Hi EM,


I have discovered what a Super User is and understand that they are an elite of users allowed access to the powers that be at Plusnet to raise topics of general importance.

By no means elite, rather a group of customers who have offered their time and experience to help other users, engage with senior managers to ensure that the customer perspective on a multitude of issues is more clearly understood.

So far, I have not seen any thread where they seem to have succeeded at improving or moving the topic forward. Well, that is not quite true, I remember a thread of Shutters about Plusnet shutting down chat to move staff to the phones where the SU took an interest and things sort of improved - but whether that was due to the SU was unclear.

There are many individual issues which have been moved forward / alternative outcomes have been obtained through SU intervention.  Each is taken on a case by case basis, some are quite small, others relate to matters missed and there were a number where decisions were changed.  In respect of Shutter's Chat matter, that was discussed extensively: that issue is what it was and the reinstatement of the service was little influenced by input from either Shutter or the SUs.  The difference the SUs did make on that subject was improving the communication over what is happening to services when changes occur.

We made a lot of input to the clarity of Chat service status seen by users ... and whilst largely better, there are still some circumstances where RESEIDENTIAL users are incorrectly seeing "UNAVAILABLE" as a status, rather than "Busy" or "Closed".

Is there anywhere that the SU's successes are publicised and if not, should there be?

The day to day stuff, no I do not think they should be published - we do not want to be seen as / used as a step in the support process.  Generally we pick up individual issues which illustrate wider matters we are discussing.  To date our "success" has largely been to establish credibility as individuals seeking improvements to services on a broad front.  Some of the subject areas will take time to deliver solutions, in the meantime we have sought more proactive responses to the symptoms and that the symptom cases are profiled and included in target soloutions.

I believe that if the non-elite rest of us are to have any faith in the SU then we need to know when they do have a success and achieve a worthwhile improvement, so I think a "list of SU achievements" board would be a good idea - unless there is already an equivalent and I have just missed it.

That's a matter for @LouisaMartin and @PlusnetLiam however as I noted above, I do not feel there is any merit in listing every single achievement we attain.  Our key achievement to date has been to attain credibility with some of the senior decision makers ... however consequential deliveries on the big issues are still awaited.

rongtw
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Re: What successes have the Super Users had?

While the SU group is a fairly new thing i would not expect any results as yet , Hopefully we can see any Good outcomes within the next 6 months Thumbs Up.

but it would be nice to know the major points they are chasing up , IE lack of going forward with the billing system

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Superuser
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Re: What successes have the Super Users had?

Thanks for the support @rongtwSmiley

I, for one, didn't expect that joining the SU group would result in quick major changes but the initial stages we've gone through have steadily established a credibility rating as well as a crucial element of dogmatism on a number subjects.  Evil

I strongly agree with @Townman on not publishing a league table of SU achievements - I've never been keen on self promotion.  There have already been some changes made as a result of SU interactions which is rewarding, but the bigger changes may take some time to appear. 

The early part of the New Year may bring some good newsAngel

EnglishMohican
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Re: What successes have the Super Users had?

Thanks for the reply Townman,

I recognise that much of what you say is reasonable and agree that it would not generally be appropriate to report on occasions where you influenced the outcome of an individual's case

However, my favourite cartoon is Dilbert and as I think you have an engineering background, you will not be surprised at my cynicism about Plusnet Managment and some parts of your answer. You really should not have needed to "establish credibility" with senior management. The SU's that I know of are all major contributors to the forums and seem to me to have done more for Plusnet's customers than most of the pointy-haired senior managers.They should have known that before they met you all and be the ones pleased to have your support, not the other way round.

Most of the problems facing Plusnet are so obvious that it is a condemnation of management that they need to have problems like the ordering system, the billing system, the phone queues, the poor quality/inexperience of some of the CS staff pointed out to them. Maybe you have some lower level problems (tickets??, Openreach??) that you have highlighted, but in honesty, the ones I have listed are so critical that anything else is trivial until the critical ones are sorted.

Some customers do not represent themselves well when they come on the forums but many cases are well presented and would need to be total lies for Plusnet to have any defence to the accusations/complaints involved. It should not take SU to support those cases or draw management's attention to them if Plusnet management were half interested.

So I regard your answer as a holding answer that  kicks the topic into the future rather than evidence that Plusnet are going to do any better in the future, with or without the SU. It is too reminiscent of the long standing "just give us a little bit longer and all will be well" answer that CS have been dealing out for many a year without any evidence of anything ever really happening.

I disagree with you on some topics but do not doubt your sincerity but I have every doubt about Plusnet Managements sincerity. I think their only interest is short term and relates to this years bonus - nothing more.

I am concerned that the SU is nothing more than a smokescreen designed to put another hurdle between the customer and the people responsible for Plusnet's performance. Not your intention I am certain - but maybe Management's. I will believe otherwise only when I see evidence of SU's achievements or a major improvement in Plusnet's performance. Sorry - genuinely.

Community Gaffer
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Re: What successes have the Super Users had?

Hi @EnglishMohican - more than happy to have a conversation to answer any questions you may have on the back of your post. Let me know.

 

Superuser
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Re: What successes have the Super Users had?

EM,

Further to my response which you suggest is a holding statement, please be aware that a good portion of what we discus is done so under NDA. That being the case it is not possible to disclose much of what has been discussed. To that end some of our ‘influences’ are ‘in the pipe line’.

As for establishing credibility, yes we might already have had credibility with the community team, but that does not mean we had visibility and credibility with the senior management. We have now and our input, frequently very challenging, is valued and respected.

We are influencing some priorities, but development prigrammes are planned months ahead, so it will take time for our inputs to see the light of day. You are correct, I have a software engineering back ground and hence have a well grounded understanding of the challenges of getting reliable major developments out of the door quickly.. I’ve seen all too often the consequences of management pressure to release and deploy before the completion of comprehensive testing. There is only one chance to make a good impression ....!
EnglishMohican
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Re: What successes have the Super Users had?

@PlusnetLiam Thank you for the offer - but the last time you made me a similar offer, I asked a question and you declined to answer it on the grounds that it was not your area of responsibility. Reasonable - but it tends to reduce the value of the offer.

@Townman  I think I am going to let this thread rest and await physical developments. I would rather you put your efforts into improving things rather than trying to convince me with words but without visible evidence. Politicians have long devalued mere words

As always, your responses sound reasonable until one remembers that coins have two faces. NDA's are used both to maintain commercial confidentiality (reasonable enough) but also to hide a company's dirty washing and underhand activities. Good development programmes may take time to organise  but Plusnet's programmes seem glacial. How long have we waited for the billing software to be sorted and I remember jelv's thread of 2010 (really that long ago?) when we were promised that the telephone response time would be a thing of the past by March. I was accused of being a disbeliever then as wellSmiley

 

Superuser
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Re: What successes have the Super Users had?

EM,

Be assured that no dirty washing is being hidden; there are things in the pipeline which we have to some greater or lesser extent been able to influence the detail of which is under NDA. I think it would be fair to say the whilst remaining polite some of our interchanges have been brutal, firmly challenging the unacceptable.

@PlusnetLiam might wish to comment on the hard time given to the contacts? Wink

In the meantime I’ll ask what might be shared ... possibly a simple list of subject areas covered.

I think it is very fair to say that as a collective we (the SUs) would have liked to see some big clear deliveries by now: there have been lots of small wins. For me the important thing is engagement with the senior management to gain focus on the concerns of the user base. As you rightly suggest, success can (will) be measured only by the delivery of visible improvements.
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Re: What successes have the Super Users had?

Some very interesting questions and answers in the above posts.

It's good that some with sufficient knowledge have volunterred their time to join a users group which will be of benefit to users and in turn to Plusnet.

Like any voluntary group members only remain members if they can see they work they do has some reward in the sense that sufficient notice is being taken and acted on by those in senior management. Clearly there is a balance of what can be done in terms of resources available but it might be useful if in 12 months time a summary was available of what has been achieved as this would help other forum members with the knowledge that major issues put forward had or had not been acted on.

Superuser
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Re: What successes have the Super Users had?

@gleneagles,

Thanks for the positive comments.

Without going into details (need to avoid NDA risks), as an illustration, since Christmas I've been involved in an in depth discussion about the resolution of a difficult user issue.  Out of a long exchange of questions and counter questions of what happened and why, there is now a clearer understanding of some of the operational constraints within the industry which can make issue resolution more difficult than common sense might expect it to be.  Potentially there is a catch 22 situation, which only gets resolved if someone decides to act outside of process.  Such is sometimes why issues only get resolved when brought to the forums.

There are processes and procedures established for all kinds of situations which require a firm course of action to be followed before other specific activity can be undertaken.  I am hoping that out of this discussion it might be possible to influence a change oi practice, but such changes might needed to be agreed outwith Plusnet.

Some of this stuff is like wading through treacle - some bits of the industry are very much stuck in they ways.

198kHz
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Re: What successes have the Super Users had?

I'm sure the SUs do not consider themselves to be any kind of 'elite', but I can understand that they may be perceived that way due to the term used.

Perhaps we should have retained the term 'Bright Spark'.  Undecided

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