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Customer Service Announcement - Discuss Here

Ianwild
Grafter
Posts: 3,835
Registered: 05-04-2007

Customer Service Announcement - Discuss Here

Please discuss the recent announcement about the plans to improve PlusNet customer support in this thread.

With Regards,

Ian
55 REPLIES
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Customer Service Announcement - Discuss Here

Excellent announcement, glad to see the proposed improvements in using different forms of communications to inform users on the progress of their tickets.

Obviously always sad to see staff being made redundant but if this has to be done to change the mindset of the customer support agents to be more customer focused then I have to applaud it.
Saturn
Grafter
Posts: 732
Registered: 30-07-2007

Customer Service Announcement - Discuss Here

Takes me back to when I first joined PN, clear and informative post with some innovative thinking. Nice to see you haven't lost your touch Ian. Thanks V much.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,817
Thanks: 11
Registered: 30-07-2007

Customer Service Announcement - Discuss Here

Have to say I also applaud this announcement too. One thing I cannot say about most other companies I deal with is that they are ready to hold up their hands and say that they missed the mark.

I look foward to the next few months and the changes that Plusnet are aiming to achive.

I came to Plusnet after reading people waxing lyrical about ther CS and service. Since joining their have been some good times and some not so good times. So far CS have done nothing but answer al my questions quickly and nearly always in a helpful way.

All the best with the "re-design"

Look frward to seeing the fruits of your labour.

A
retep
Grafter
Posts: 182
Registered: 14-04-2007

Customer Service Announcement - Discuss Here

Okay I am cynical about IT!

My general concern is that it takes extra resource not less to change systems. Why are you talk of redundancies now? Even a more efficient system needs more resource in the short term to medium term. With your time scales I am concerned support could get much worse before it gets better. Start putting in hurried and buggy systems and I dread to think.

Everything seems to be in flux: MaxDSL, LLU, customer and your internal systems to name a few. Okay may the churn of lost and gained customers is currently okay but that could very quickly change.

I am not an expert although I have looked at Tiscali, BT, Telewest Cable, Wanadoo & Bulldog's Broadband options but you have a more complicated product structure than any of those. In giving options to the customer great, but your internal systems are likely to be difficult to change.

Well thats my pennies worth, good luck, you claim to be a small ISP so don't byte off to much at once.

Peter.
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Customer Service Announcement - Discuss Here

Ian Wild
Customer Communications Manager


Can we sack you if you don't pull off all these [new] changes? Just wondering why PlusNet feel it's necessary to constantly bombard us with announcement after announcement after announcement as you seem to lurch from one press release to the next and evermore confuse your customers..

It feels like a type of mania (which also afflicts the Communications at No10) and nothing seems to change or we forget about the promises and move on to the next big idea.

For me, I just want a rock solid working service, no stupid emails and a competitive and simple product. All the rest should be kept in PlusNet Towers' office and shareholder AGMs and not smeared over this forum again and again. I reckon these announcements have nothing to do with 'information' but show management weekness.


Quote

Actions speak louder than words

I've had more emails off PlusNet about 'customer service' in 14 months than every other ISP put together in 10 years of surfing with other ISPs. So, that would be no.
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Customer Service Announcement - Discuss Here

I'm cynical.
Regarding redundencies, I suppose that the impact of that would depend on what CS agaents are doing. If all are ding the same as those who've attempted to answer my tickets recently, a big load should be taken off CS just by agents reading and replying to the ticket, not using a copy/paste reply that ignores what the customer is saying.
There is nothing more annoying than providing a list of checks a customer has done in an attempt to solve a problem when raising a ticket, only to get a reply suggesting that the problem is likely to be something the customer has ruled out.

If technical problems are routed stright to agents with the requisite knowledge, then the number of tickets could drop sharply, because at present anyone is lucky to get an answer in less than three or four exchanges, and then only if the CS agent has either successfully passed it to somebody who has the knowledge and ability to deal with it. Right now raising a ticket for anything but the most simple questions seems to result in a game of 'pass the parcel' with the customer getting ever more frustrated.

I moved to PlusNet because it was rated the top ISP at the time, particularly for customer support, after suffering from an ISP with a high-volume call centre in Asia manned by people with scripts and no knowledge. Until recently I didn't use these forums and had only called CS a couple of times, both times with techical queries that only somebody with the knowledge and the remit to make changes could deal with. Both times Iphoned, was answered within a couple of minutes, and my problem was resolved within a few minutes of the call being picked up. But that was almost 2 years ago....

I'd like to see things improve, because even I, who tends to stay with the same companies through inertia, have started to look around, and wonder if it would be a good idea to move to, yes, Tiscalli, as I'm likely to be moved to their wholesale branch anyway. My exchane will, according to a Tiscalli customer, be LLUd in August after they've done some major work both in the exchange and on the local loop. Apparently they are fine, I'm told, provided you never need Customer Support.. which makes them slightly better than PlusNet at the moment.

The 'it will get worse before it gets better' is very worrying. For some customers the only way it could get worse is moving from dial-up speeds and no action from CS over a period of several weeks to no connection and no action from CS at all. The Max regrade has caused so many problems, and most are made worse by lack of individual communication and CS agents not seeming to have any idea what they are being asked.

We seem to be bombarded with service announcements at the moment. I received four identical ones, sent one minute apart, today. If PlusNet can't even manage to send one announcement to each account, then things dont bode well for the future.

Doesn't PlusNet split enquiries up by group (sales, accounts, technical, webspace and domains) and have 1st, 2nd and 3rd line support for technical categories? If they don't, then using this normal IT support method efficiently would solve a lot of customer problems, lead to speedy resolution, and regain the goodwill of customers.

I'm looking forward to changing my sig. I've moved from a happy customer to a frustrated one who is now very concerned about being moved to LLU without being told, in spite of raising a ticket laying out my wishes regarding this, and having no option to move back if it turns out to be a failed experiment, without a cease and reprovide and a bill for putting me back onto a service I wasn't given the option to decide if I wanted or not.

I'm getting tired of having to spell out problems in an ABC form before anyone understands what the problem is, causing many extra mails to and from CS.
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Customer Service Announcement - Discuss Here

Quote
Obviously always sad to see staff being made redundant


*shrugs* Clearly the fact that a lot of them arent up to the job has come home to roost..... tough luck really! No sympathy here!
xblade
Grafter
Posts: 129
Registered: 22-08-2007

Customer Service Announcement - Discuss Here

Quote
Ian Wild
Customer Communications Manager


Can we sack you if you don't pull off all these [new] changes? Just wondering why PlusNet feel it's necessary to constantly bombard us with announcement after announcement after announcement as you seem to lurch from one press release to the next and evermore confuse your customers..

It feels like a type of mania (which also afflicts the Communications at No10) and nothing seems to change or we forget about the promises and move on to the next big idea.

For me, I just want a rock solid working service, no stupid emails and a competitive and simple product. All the rest should be kept in PlusNet Towers' office and shareholder AGMs and not smeared over this forum again and again. I reckon these announcements have nothing to do with 'information' but show management weekness.


Quote

Actions speak louder than words

I've had more emails off PlusNet about 'customer service' in 14 months than every other ISP put together in 10 years of surfing with other ISPs. So, that would be no.


I think the last paragraph of the above quote sums up the feeling amongst most people, even some mods!!

It is disappointing, myself along with many others (some of whom have now left plusnet), had hoped things would have changed a while ago, but service etc has got a lot worse

Dave has always tried to help; and he does a good job, but I think even he must be feeling the pressure of defending plusnet at times

Thanks
Simon
passer
Grafter
Posts: 381
Registered: 06-04-2007

Customer Service Announcement - Discuss Here

Interesting reaction from some to criticise the announcement. They're damned if they do and they're damned if they don't Cry

What it says to me is that they really are concerned about the negative feedback they have received and really are trying to do something about it. As their customer base has increased the volume of calls they receive has also increased, and the type of customer has also changed.

The Internet is no longer inhabited by geeky types who have a pretty good idea of what their problems are. Now they have to deal with the geeky types' elderly parents, and the largely PC-illiterate people who are getting broadband because everyone else is, and because the kids want it. No offence intended to anyone by that sentence - just a bald statement of the reality of the situation.

That's why the hated questionnaire was born, and it probably serves a purpose most of the time. As a corollary of this, I suspect that CSC staff became less skilled, as a larger proportion of their duties became more routine. It's the more savvy among us who get impatient with all of this, and complain loudly.

The part of the announcement which interested me most was the mention of the departure of the CS director and the possibility of redundancies. This sounds like a definite change of direction; I hope that the redundancies are of the less skilled staff, with a comittment to introducing better skilled people, who would cost more, and hence be fewer in number. That really would be a large step in the right direction.
xblade
Grafter
Posts: 129
Registered: 22-08-2007

Customer Service Announcement - Discuss Here

Quote
The part of the announcement which interested me most was the mention of the departure of the CS director and the possibility of redundancies. This sounds like a definite change of direction; I hope that the redundancies are of the less skilled staff, with a comittment to introducing better skilled people, who would cost more, and hence be fewer in number. That really would be a large step in the right direction.


But the use of the term 'redundancies' also says less staff, not better quality.

We will probably have to deal with more machine based answers, than human. Although sometimes we might get a clearer answer than some of the replies that we often get from cs
Simon
glloyd
Rising Star
Posts: 1,652
Thanks: 20
Fixes: 1
Registered: 06-04-2007

Customer Service Announcement - Discuss Here

Surely a lot of the past problems has been down to the lack of training for CSC staff. Rather than get rid of staff why not train them to a higher standard?

What is worrying with the reduction in staff is (a) Some C/S staff must already be diverted to the premium number (b) Next month the combined telephone service starts so more diverted C/S staff.

By thesound of it we will end up talking to machines, not my idea of good C/S.
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Customer Service Announcement - Discuss Here

Quote
... what it says to me is that they really are concerned about the negative feedback they have received and really are trying to do something about it. As their customer base has increased the volume of calls they receive has also increased, and the type of customer has also changed.

The Internet is no longer inhabited by geeky types who have a pretty good idea of what their problems are. Now they have to deal with the geeky types' elderly parents, and the largely PC-illiterate people who are getting broadband because everyone else is, and because the kids want it. No offence intended to anyone by that sentence - just a bald statement of the reality of the situation.

That's why the hated questionnaire was born, and it probably serves a purpose most of the time. As a corollary of this, I suspect that CSC staff became less skilled, as a larger proportion of their duties became more routine. It's the more savvy among us who get impatient with all of this, and complain loudly.

The part of the announcement which interested me most was the mention of the departure of the CS director and the possibility of redundancies. This sounds like a definite change of direction; I hope that the redundancies are of the less skilled staff, with a comittment to introducing better skilled people, who would cost more, and hence be fewer in number. That really would be a large step in the right direction.


I agree completely with the above quote...
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,229
Thanks: 1
Registered: 12-04-2007

Customer Service Announcement - Discuss Here

Whilst I can see the cynical side of things, I much prefer to be optimistic and positive! [It just makes life more fun eh!]

So for me this announcement looks like a serious and powerful step towards giving us customers some real quality back.

I for one feel part of something that is evolving in the right direction for the right reasons!

@ Ian Wild
You have my confidence. what thats worth I dont know. lol
ferryman
Grafter
Posts: 46
Registered: 31-07-2007

Customer Service Announcement - Discuss Here

Quote


The Internet is no longer inhabited by geeky types who have a pretty good idea of what their problems are. Now they have to deal with the geeky types' elderly parents.....


Why do you assume that older people are computer illiterates? :roll: I was probably using computers when you were still in short trousers!