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Details of PlusNet Restructure and Customer Support Update

Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 12,169
Thanks: 18
Fixes: 1
Registered: 04-04-2007

Details of PlusNet Restructure and Customer Support Update

Ian has just posted the following post to service status. Starting a thread to discuss.
Posts: 381
Registered: 06-04-2007

Details of PlusNet Restructure and Customer Support Update

Very encouraging documents. I'm impressed by the candour, and I think it's quite brave to put that sort of detail into the public domain, as it opens PlusNet up to intense analysis, not just from the customers but from the public and press.

I deduce that PlusNet must therefore be confident of delivering what they're describing, and that sounds good from a customer perspective. Well done.
Posts: 470
Registered: 07-08-2007

Details of PlusNet Restructure and Customer Support Update

I genuinely hope that this is not some marketing hype! Excuse my curtness (if such a word exists?) but I have struggled all day with webmail (accessed from work) and when I got home my wife tells me that she has failed to get an internet connection all day. It has just come back up (just after midnight) and this is happening pretty regularly now. I have spent about an hour having to fight with what is possibly the worst telephone system on the planet! It cut me off twice. Put me into some weird and horrific menu on another occasion that I couldn't get out of - I ended that call! Eventually, I was told to leave a message but only after I was told that if I wasn't using PlusNet as a telephone provider then I really should consider using them! Fat chance of that happening! I was told that my fault would be responded to within 8 hours. We shall see? No connection problems reported on the Status Page though!

Anyway I'm back on-line again now. Annoyed but not too displeased as we (the family) all sat down and watched Herbie Fully Loaded. Quite enjoyable in a "I'm ashamed to admit it" sort of way Shockedops: .

But I digress! What do I think of this announcement. I welcome it! But we have heard this so many times over the last few months! I do not want to be negative but I have suffered as a customer, and I am very much aware that my suffering is miniscule compared to a lot of others. A lot of posts I've seen wouldn't be out of place on the Oprah Winfrey show!

If the "CSC backlogs have been tackled effectively with good progress being made" then why couldn't I get through on the phone tonight? Why are the queue times still so long? Why are questions still not being answered for days? Why? Why? Why?

I do so want to believe that this is the turning point and I do hope that this announcement will be the start of the resurrection of PlusNet and not the heartfelt "I'll never drink again" vow of the alcoholic before he sights his next pub.
Posts: 79
Registered: 26-08-2007

PN company updates

I found these interesting, they appeared to be genuinly transparent and voiced with feeling. They sounded like the old PN that I knew when I first signed up, the PN that I could ring and talk to if I had a problem. One that I happily told others about - I do hope that their plans come through ok. I noted that neither documents was laced with tech jargon set out to bluff the reader - which was great. slight concern over the statement about bringing in temporary staff - I hope that these will be supported well enough to enable them to do their job effictively -

But having said this - I will pause for a while in my alternative ISP search, to see how these changes pan out. I will try not to get cross when fail to log in the mornings ( code 0721 again this morning at 6.30)

good luck

Details of PlusNet Restructure and Customer Support Update

OK - so it's some small credit to Plusnet management that they've felt the need to bare their souls in this way.

Maybe it means that they realise there's a problem or two - with their company.

But - and it's a big 'but' - am I alone in cynically viewing this latest 'sackcloth & ashes' document as just the latest in a long line of 'jam tomorrow' press releases ?

Take my current situation.
My Plusnet email has been unreliable for the last 2 or three days. Two 'test' emails sent by me to me at 5pm and 11pm yesterday have yet to arrive back. I am 13 days away from an overseas move, and email confirmations of tickets, discussions with solicitors and purchasers are all 'somewhere' out there in the fantasy land that is Plusnet's email service.

Two other emails sent to me at mid-day yesterday finally struggled through plusnet's email system for delivery 13 hours later .....

....and Plusnet want me to get excited that they've produced some new organisation charts ! Tell you what - I used to make a living helping companies to improve, re-organise and provide a customer-focussed service.

I'll draw the org-charts - AND YOU FIX THE EMAIL ??
Deal or no deal ??

Suffolk UK
Posts: 2,886
Registered: 30-07-2007

Details of PlusNet Restructure and Customer Support Update

I'm sure that they really mean all these good things every time they say them. That's the problem. Fine words butter no parsnips, as somebody once said.

I'd be more impressed if we saw things improving, then somebody at Plusnet told us why. We don't really need to see a plethora of organization charts, and when one has seen as much of this sort of thing as I have, one just thinks "yeah, whatever" and moves on to something else.

I don't give advice anymore, as I know that people never take advice, but if I did, I'd advise Plusnet to forget all the promises and statements of intent and get on with the improvements. If there's a serious will, service will improve whatever the organization. If there isn't, then it won't whatever the organization.

Easy really.

Re: PN company updates

But having said this - I will pause for a while in my alternative ISP search, to see how these changes pan out.

I'd consider waiting very carefully, it all sounds a bit smoke and mirrors to me. I am sure that most of us simply want action not words.

It is good that plusnet have acknowledged they have a problem, and that they have lost sight of what how important customers are. But none of this is any good without a deadline or at least a rough target by which to achieve significant improvement. How many weeks, months, years is it going to be before we the customers see change?
Posts: 182
Registered: 14-04-2007

Details of PlusNet Restructure and Customer Support Update

Certainly room for improvement isn't there, anyone remember this beauty -

2006-07-03 16:07:26 DSLMax Upgrade Programme Update
We would like to provide an update and some useful information regarding our DSLMax upgrade programme. Recently we made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend all upgrades to Max. Significant numbers of our customers have seen connection problems after being regraded to Max; of the approximate 60,000 customers so far regraded around 10% have reported connection faults to us. These numbers are consequently causing large backlogs and increased waiting times and delays in resolving these issues.

The 'difficult decision' turns the screw nicely.

Fine words from Plusnet are very nice but all I want is a long period of stable service in the core area which form me is internet connectivity. If they LLU me I will be off to cable like a rocket.

Details of PlusNet Restructure and Customer Support Update

Actions speak louder than words.

Lets see PN actually give its customers the service they pay for first. Getting the Tiscali LLU sorted should be your top priority.

Details of PlusNet Restructure and Customer Support Update

The biggest issue I have with PN at the minute is poor communication.
This seems to be a problem throughout the company, wherever it interacts with customers.

I welcome Ian's announcment, and the honesty it contains, however whilst providing some comfort to some of us, it probably doesn't really help a lot of people.

I suspect most people would be a lot happier if meaningful responses were available for the questons they have.

The last revision of the help portal was great in terms of functionality, but a little lacking in some parts for content. As an attempt to address this, we have a much more content rich help portal, which for quite a few issues is a useful tool in assisting us to self-serve. Coupled with these forums, there should be great communication channels established and operational.

Sadly though, the portal is fairly difficult to navigate, and requires further work to make it more intuitive and user-friendly. Those who can find the answers in it, seem to be those least likely to need the answers. Perhaps its because we know the answer, which makes identifying the correct question much more straight-forward in some cases?

Following frustrated attempts at self service, we then try to ask a question via the portal, which again can be a bit of a black art at times!

Supposing we can manage to ask a question, we are met with long periods of silence from PN. Once our ticket gets picked up and actioned, the we are met with a stream of blank responses as tickets are passed through automated systems, and from department to department. Again, if you know that these blank responses are as a result of some action being taken, with hidden internal info added for the benefit of agents dealing with your issue, its not so bad, but to the uninitiated it can seem ignorant and unhelpful sometimes.

So we have failed to find the answer in the help pages, struggled through and by chance managed to raise a ticket, waited for what seems an interminable time for a response, which upon arrival is completely unhelpful and unenlightening for us.

What next? Add more comments ourself asking for explanation of progress? Risk adding to the backlog of tickets? Wonder if adding something automatically puts my ticket to the back of the 'first come first served' queue?
Or do we pick up the 'phone?

OK, which number do you call? There used to be one number, many of us might not know there is more than one. If we do know there is more than one, do we know which is better? Will we get a faster response by calling the premium rate number?

So we decide on a number and call it, then wait for anything between 5mins and 2hours, only to be cut off or lost in the IVR system.

Call back, wait again, get through;
Hmmm, yes, sorry sir, there is nothing I can do with your problem, its been passed to one of our suppliers who has a turnround time of 7days minimum.

Hang up, very upset. The wait wouldn't seem like so much of an issue, had it been included in the original cryptic response.

Now it is an issue, we've spent half a day of our life chasing for an answer which should have been given to freely in the first instance.
You have added to the backlog possibly a few times, depending on our actions, we have certainly delayed the resolution of somebody elses problem by at least the time we were speaking to the agent, plus a bit more whilst they update your account with the fact that you called.

We are out of pocket more than we ought to have been (call charges), we have wasted our time for no reason, and we have added to the workload of the CS team.

Resolution: Answer tickets with something meaningful!

Okay, I made the situation up, the path of actions is probably flawed, but I maintain the logic is correct.

Tell people something meaningful.

Make sure every communication to the customer is valuable.

PN champion the Cluetrain manifesto as being a great insight in to how they think as a web based business.
Its message is at the heart of what we do and how we do it.

In context here

The manifesto paraphrased (or my interpretation of it) tells us that business and marketplaces are all about conversation. Conversation between humans, which is meaningful to both parties.

At the moment it seems that as customers we are happy to uphold our end of the conversation, however we are trying to speak to somebody who appears to have no interest in listening and participating usefully.
They seem to have their minds elsewhere, on something which is more important to them than we are.

To coin a rather well known advertising phrase: Its good to talk!

So talk with us - please
Posts: 2,886
Registered: 30-07-2007

Details of PlusNet Restructure and Customer Support Update

Well James, that's a very long way to say "I'll believe it when I see it."
Nice cats though. :lol:

Details of PlusNet Restructure and Customer Support Update

Damn you - you can see right through me! Wink

Details of PlusNet Restructure and Customer Support Update

Here's a gem:

"To address this, we have provided pro-rata rebates to any customer who experienced a loss of connection for 7 or more days after a transfer to LLU."

Yeah, right. I'm a month without ANY BB service today, and have been told I have to stay a customer and wait until the fault is fixed in order to see any refund, in the meantime I'm still paying and have also been asked to pay up front for the next month in order to cancel!

I'll be convinced when I see action on my problems and not before.

Details of PlusNet Restructure and Customer Support Update

Although its OT, I think the rebate only applies once your service is restored, probably so they only have to process it once for the duration of your problem.

Customer Service

Good to see Plusnet recognise a problem here, but is the reorganisation going to help.

About a year ago I was recommending Plusnet as having good service and good prices. Now I have to think about quitting.

In addition to all the technical issues over the last month, it seems customer services expenditure and staffing has been reduced. It now seems impossible to talk to a human at Plusnet, and the Help Wizard seems designed to make it difficult to raise a ticket. These are I assume conscious decisions to reduce service levels to reduce costs. But its the wrong strategy, since if I want low service levels at low cost I can go to the Carphone Warehouse.

Its all very well focusing on technology, but using this to replace human interaction is not going to improve service levels.