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Why can't PlusNet answer a question?

craigbrass
Grafter
Posts: 1,009
Registered: 30-07-2007

Why can't PlusNet answer a question?

Hello,

Take a look at the dialog from a recent ticket. I am in red, the staff are in blue. :

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Hello,

Please can you tell me the geographical number for customer service (ie an 01 or 02 number).

Best Regards,
Craig Brass

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Dear Mr Brass,
We are not able to provide a geographical number for the support line unfortunately.

Regards,
<Name Removed>

------------------------------------------------------------------
Can I ask the reason(s) for this please?
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Dear Mr Brass,
The support numbers available are the only form of contact and we do not have geographical numbers available.
Regards,
<Name Removed>

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I never asked for you to repeat what the last guy said, I asked WHY you won't give out a geographical number. Please raise this to somebody more senior for an answer.
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Dear Mr Brass,
Our primary support number is the 0845 number. We do not give out geographical numbers. This is all the information that we can provide on this matter.

Regards,
<Name Removed>

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Hello,

You have still not answered my question which was "why?". This means you have not served your customer therefore you have not provided "customer service". Please therefore raise this matter to somebody more senior.

The question I have asked about a geographical number insted of the 0845 number has been asked many times by others on the forums since you cut off the 011422000000 number therefore I would like an answer as to why you will not provide one.

Best Regards,
Craig Brass

------------------------------------------------------------------
This is the last reply you will recieve about this issus, the business does not give geographical numbers out to customers there is an 0845 number for you to contact us and this is all we will provide.
Regards,
<Name Removed>

------------------------------------------------------------------

And that still does not answer my question plus that last comment really annoyed me. PlusNet used to listen to their customers but this incident makes me wonder why I am still with them.

Best Regards,
Craig Brass
38 REPLIES
kosh2
Grafter
Posts: 211
Registered: 04-08-2007

Why can't PlusNet answer a question?

Why do you want a geographical number? Are you concered that CS are now in India?
craigbrass
Grafter
Posts: 1,009
Registered: 30-07-2007

Why can't PlusNet answer a question?

Well its a principle thing really. It basically proves PN won't give one so they make more money off their customers by keeping them on the lines as long as possible and cutting them off after 30 mins or so Tongue

Other than that it is so it doesn't cost 10p a min daytime on our business phone line.
Grimbo
Grafter
Posts: 397
Registered: 23-05-2007

Why can't PlusNet answer a question?

I've had to call that 0845 number about 15 times today trying to get to someone (eventually worked out how to leave a message).

If I had to hear those droning repeated messages one more time I'd probably have topped myself!

I dread to think what the cost will be!
N/A

Why can't PlusNet answer a question?

Quote

I dread to think what the cost will be!

Quite a lot I have no doubt...
joncooper
Grafter
Posts: 314
Registered: 07-09-2007

Why can't PlusNet answer a question?

Quote
Why do you want a geographical number?


dunno about him, but my reason would be that I get all direct dialled calls free on my calling plan but I have to pay for 0845 calls
N/A

Why can't PlusNet answer a question?

Without speaking out of term here,

I think the reason only 0845 and 0901 numbers are supplied are because if you had a geographical one you could hang on for a day and a life time. And if you get the call for nothing your more so inclined to hang on, thus contributing towards the already excessive waiting times ( although im not sure there is a queue anymore having listened to the new IVR system lol ).

By Using 0845 or 0901 you are more likely to quit thus helping them bring down the number of calls, not to mention people are less likely inclined to call for any old reason ( such as the microswave has stopped working ).

But please dont quote me, thats just my thoughts on the matter lol.

Regards,
N/A

Why can't PlusNet answer a question?

Seeing as plusnet love to expand etc and are now offering phone services (why would anyone want it from them, i have no idea) and also offer stunning 8mb broadband!! why dont they host their help lines with VoIP as well so that we can call them for free from skype? Its not like they NEED the money from our support calls, i mean its a poor biz stratagy to rely on customers NEEDING help on the phone to pay for the service we get (lets ignore MS/linux etc that get money mainly from support :p)
Community Veteran
Posts: 2,824
Thanks: 153
Fixes: 2
Registered: 05-04-2007

Why can't PlusNet answer a question?

I always find 0870 and 0845 numbers a pain - mainly because mobile operators (such as Vodafone) decided to remove them from inclusive minutes about 2 years ago, hence it costs quite a bit to call (well your usual out-of-minutes rate). GIven the CS call time I experienced in 2003, and the ones I hear about now from the forums - that adds up to quite a lot.

Yes of course you could use a landline, but not so easy if you're at work. 0871 is the biggest scam ever - companies can use this without falling under the jurisdiction of the premium rate laws/guidelines (though I use that term loosely given ICTSIS enforcement of them - again their enforcement is loose word). 0871 = 10p per minute to the end user. I don't know how much of this goes to the company, but I'd imagine it equates to quite a lot. I am not saying PlusNet operate such a number - but plenty of companies do.

So the reason PlusNet choose not to supply a landline number is because it is not in their business interests to do so, as they don't make revenue on them unlike 08x which they do. I must state that PlusNet are not alone here, many companies do this. This is why www.saynoto0870.com exists.

It must add up to quite a bit, when you think now that companies providing a dial-up number can sustain a business model based on that revenue, and I remember that happening a while back, might even be pre-broadband. Oh the days when I remember Freeserve being the first free dial-up ISP - you used to have to pay a monthly charge + dial up costs.

Oh - I'm getting on Smiley
craigbrass
Grafter
Posts: 1,009
Registered: 30-07-2007

Why can't PlusNet answer a question?

Well I will tell you something, I am not going to drop this until I get an answer as to why DIRECTLY from a PN staff member or the number I want.
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 2,511
Thanks: 916
Fixes: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Why can't PlusNet answer a question?

Well ! Apart from the inconvenience, there are a number of valid technical reasons why organisations choose to use 0845 / 0871 numbers. I'm not defending the cost issue - this is a whole different debate!

A couple off the top of my head:

The opportunity to intercept the 'call' using an intelligent switch and then to point the call at a valid 'geographical' number.
Really good for resilience - no need to publish a list of numbers under failure conditions.
Using home workers without publishing their home number.
The ability to flexibly 'change' the target geograpical numbers to accomodate for changing circumstances. Ussually via a web interface and under client control.

Yes. I know that the system is often misused, as is Integrated Voice Response and Intelligent operator functions (PlusNet being a class example) but the principles are sound?

The call cost issue is more to do with how the Telco' s and mobile operators choose to tarriff their calls, nothing to to do with the technology.

OTOH A 'geographical' number is presented at a single location. And yes, you can implement some of the functionality above via this route.

NOTE: A somewhat constrained description without going too deep (I hope)


Maurice
N/A

Why can't PlusNet answer a question?

There's always an 0800 option for customer service. Companies in the USA have for a long time used 1800 numbers for this - why not the UK?

It would attract more customers paying for services, and if the company offered good customer and technical service (obviously not Plusnet right now...) then call times would largely be kept down to a minimum.
Community Veteran
Posts: 2,824
Thanks: 153
Fixes: 2
Registered: 05-04-2007

Why can't PlusNet answer a question?

I agree with the 0800, usually companies seem to use it for their sales line and support - err well that's usually a different (non-free number).

Can intelligent switching, etc. not be achieved on a landline number? (I am asking that as a genuine question, as I don't know the finer details of how it works).

I think what is needed, is for OfCom to introduce a non-geographical number which costs the same as a landline number to call (including mobiles) which doesn't generate revenue for the company in question. Unfortuantely, all they seem adept at doing is changing area codes.

The irony is, when things are working well PlusNet win (everyone is happy paying their subscription). When things don't, such as the recent e-mail problems - they end up making more money. How many more calls do you think they had? (I'm assuming many people don't use the forums, or would think of reading the service status page, phoning would be the first thing to come to mind).

More people on hold = more money.
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 2,511
Thanks: 916
Fixes: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Why can't PlusNet answer a question?

Quote
I agree with the 0800, usually companies seem to use it for their sales line and support - err well that's usually a different (non-free number).


OK. But Sales is generally seen as revenue generating cf advertising, whilst support is a PITA and costs? Not a justification you understand? Smiley

Quote

Can intelligent switching, etc. not be achieved on a landline number? (I am asking that as a genuine question, as I don't know the finer details of how it works).


Well, yes it can. But gives different set of challenges (costs?) to the Installation / service provided

Quote

I think what is needed, is for OfCom to introduce a non-geographical number which costs the same as a landline number to call (including mobiles) which doesn't generate revenue for the company in question.


When they were introduced the 0844 and 0845 National Rate numbers were planned to give this sort of functionality. Since then various discount scams have been developed which reduce the cost of many basic landline calls. 0845 and 0844 numbers have not had the same attention to cost cutting? I don't believe any OFCOM intervention is required should the Telco's / mobile operators choose to modify their rates downward. They just choose not too!
Remember it was not too long ago that some mobile operators did not honour the 0800 code - and imposed charges for calls to them.

0870 is now a deprecated code and OFCOM have plans for it to be phased out.

Maurice
N/A

Why can't PlusNet answer a question?

Quote
Quote
I agree with the 0800, usually companies seem to use it for their sales line and support - err well that's usually a different (non-free number).


OK. But Sales is generally seen as revenue generating cf advertising, whilst support is a PITA and costs? Not a justification you understand? Smiley

The cost of support is costed into the price of the service package - or should be by any decent company.

Having a broadband package without the "added extras" like ISP email address (alternative = gmail/hotmail/yahoo/mail.com etc) and webspace is something I would like to see, so bandwith allowances can be higher, and the amount of support required decreased.

Good Customer Service can also be revenue generating via recommendations.