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Wretched Help Assistant

tanerdy
Dabbler
Posts: 17
Registered: 08-06-2007

Wretched Help Assistant

For those of us who have been PN customers for a couple of years the Help Assistant must be a very effective high blood pressure creator.

I've just logged into the Member Centre as I thought "I'll just email support a question about email. No panic, but I'd like an answer.

Oh boy.... can I find where to do that? Am I irritated? You bet.

I accept I may be missing the obvious (and would appreciate that being pointed out to me - really), but why, oh why is it so obtuse.

I guess the Help Assistant in itself must reduce the number of calls/emails/contacts.

:-(

Robin
10 REPLIES
JonathanW
Grafter
Posts: 2,648
Registered: 02-10-2007

Wretched Help Assistant

I take it that you're getting to the point where the second window pops up with the help page in it? All you need to do there is minimise the new window and then Ask Support in the original window.
LastRoMan
Grafter
Posts: 125
Registered: 15-09-2007

Raising a Ticket etc

I too am having a very frustrtaing time trying to find how to directly ask a question of PN. My FTP has been resetting over and over - every few files in fact - so bad that I cannot attempt a 'selection' of files but need to send them individually so I can keep tabs on where I am.

Also my AOL IM keeps dropping the comnnection and re starting.

I found that I could only post a question by going to Billing and asking it there! Then was frustrated to find I can only upload a single supporting file - and cannot add to my question for 5 minutes.

What has happened to the simple way I used to ask a question/ raise a Ticket?

Also while I am at it. I find the portal page really confusing - all that little writing with links on multiple lines with little contrast - is there a way to access the page as text and no images - that might be easier?

Seriously disgruntled.

C Roe
N/A

Wretched Help Assistant

why not increase the text size in your browser ? would make the text that bit clearer if there isnt much contrast.

Regards,
blowdart
Grafter
Posts: 93
Registered: 04-08-2007

Wretched Help Assistant

Only works on some of the text, other text uses fixed, absolute font sizes. And for the text that does increase you can see that no-one had thought that through, as the layout starts getting destroyed.

(And while we're at it, I thought I'd try running through the process to raise a ticket, pretending I had a connection problem.

So, I thought lets work this out. It looks like broadband setup is closest, even though it's not a setup issue. Nice one.

So now I have two options. Both are awful. Setting up my broadband? I've done that already, I have an imaginary connection problem. Fixing a setup problem seems closest to what I want.

Oh now look, it talks about Broadband hardware problems and Broadband connection settings.

Neither of these would be suitable for someone who has already had working broadband that has suddenly stopped. (You should choose the connection settings options, and you would get eventually routed to the on-line fault checker.)

The paths through the Help Assistant are awful.

And when javascript is turned off, the way I normally run, I don't get the much talked about popup window, so I don't actually get redirected to the "Has this helped, wanna open a ticket" page.

It's hard friendly, and it's really unfriendly to those running accessibility browsers; for which PN could quite happily get taken to court over)

[Moderator's note by Mark (pcsni):Full quote of preceding post removed as per the rules]
N/A

Wretched Help Assistant

The help assistant is dismal.

It seems to be aimed at people who have absolutely no idea what the problem might be. I don't think this is the right approach.

Most of us (I imagine) have a pretty good idea of the specific area we want information or clarification about.

In my case I wanted to know if I'd been 'LLU'd' ,and what to do about it.

Unfortunately everything in my [unhelpful] help pages points to problems with BT connections. I can't find a single reference to LLU anywhere.

http://portal.plus.net/support/support_index.shtml

Some of the really major problems (like LLU) that are affecting Plusnet customers aren't even addressed in the help pages. We have to trawl through the forums to find it out (well actually,we don't have to trawl very far - it's every other posting :roll: ).

Incidentally,I wasn't aware that the help assistant needed java(I have it disabled by default,and didn't receive the usual 'javascript must be enabled' message).
tanerdy
Dabbler
Posts: 17
Registered: 08-06-2007

Wretched Help Assistant

I've just had another try at finding help on email.

My view about the Help process remains less than positive.

It is unhelpful.
It is convoluted.
It is worse than it was 2 years ago.

Now why is this?

Clearly, PN have not sat down to develop the worst help system in the world. I am sure that their intentions were laudable.

The failure of the system is probably because PN failed to consult its customers enough. Developers who only talk to themselves often have a singular view of the world. One of my daughters (whom I love dearly!) lead a support team in the IT department of a very famous organisation. She once explained to me that "users are loosers, Dad."! She didn't really mean it (honest), but it was symptomatic of IT's view of the outside world - "we must control everything."

The last thing is give customers what they want. :-)

Robin
LastRoMan
Grafter
Posts: 125
Registered: 15-09-2007

Wretched Help Assistant

Robin,
Have you seen the MS spoof going around? Maybe you would like to see it implemented for Developers:
http://www.updatexp.com/we-share-your-pain.html

BTW PN did come back to me about my FTP problem above - they gave me an alternative FTP link. Also gave ths: "To administer your account and for all your help and support requirements visit http://portal.plus.net/index_nlp.html"

So you can't fault them once you get their attention.

Conrad
LastRoMan
Grafter
Posts: 125
Registered: 15-09-2007

Wretched Help Assistant

However having tried the link I am presented with the same set of options as before in the Member Centre - I thought PN had found me a direct way to Tickets - but rather a way to the same confusion. I can't think why they gave me the link!

Have you seen their How to Raise a Qustion "Video"? it shows looking for an answer about Billing and allows you to ask a question if you need to but - I cannot access this form entry from other Help Pages - there definitely needs to be an overhaul here. They seem to have smartened it up to look 'nice' and forgotten that there will be times when they do not have a suitable stock answer. I don't like the fact they call Tickets, Questions now either - its confusing when presented with a list of Q&As.

Sitemap is clearer to read with good contrast - but even via Sitemap there is no logical step to ask a Qn/raise a ticket. I reckon there has to be such a window but the link url is a closely guarded PN secret!

Conrad
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 9,728
Thanks: 1,312
Fixes: 19
Registered: 22-08-2007

Wretched Help Assistant

Conrad,

Brilliant - I'll fund one Microsoft chair for PN towers. May be if all the other posters here clubbed together we could afford to get enough chairs for the whole of PN's support operation. Then they'd know what a real PITA the help system is!

Just for fun I tried the email problem pages (I keep getting problems with the web mail pages) - I had to go through 6 irrelevent pages before I was offered the ask a question / raise a ticket option.

When I tried to raise a ticket for my BB problem I just went round in circles - the pages are not relevent to a BB service which was working, but does not any more. I suspect that PN-CS are just trying to make it difficult to riase support calls. But then again I just might be getting cyncial!
Community Veteran
Posts: 2,829
Thanks: 153
Fixes: 2
Registered: 05-04-2007

Wretched Help Assistant

I find its been a common complaint for a while, it seems to me (IMHO of course) that the option to raise a ticket (aka a question as it is now - not that it makes a lot of difference) has been deliberately relocated as such that a user has to go through a number of help pages so possibly one of those pages might already answer a question someone was about to raise, hence a question (or ticket) which might be raised is not, alleviating the work on their already overloaded support system (by their admission).

It seems ridiculous that they are aiming in the direction of a user where a kind-of FAQ would answer their question. I am sure in a lot of cases that is true, however it seems they have overlooked the time when it is not and someone has an issue to raise.