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Calling all PlusNet staff.

Bob_Milton
Grafter
Posts: 688
Registered: 31-07-2007

Calling all PlusNet staff.

Please could you spare a little time?
I am concerned that when I try to get information, I often run into great difficulties because I cannot understand the language that you use.
I know that there are many other people like myself who find that your explanations in forum topics or in the help assistant items etc. do not help as much as they could because of your jargon or slang that you use every day when you are working.
To illustrate that I use a quote from Penny in a topic, (apologies Penny).
I think she puts the situation very succinctly.
Quote
More than that, I believe PN actually need to have at least one non-techie working there alongside the team that write the DIY guide on the portal, to make the instructions "idiot-proof".
I don't mean that in any derogatory way - I can find my way around most aspects of website building, mail and ftp now, along with a limited amount of cgi, php and mysql ... but it's taken ten years to get here.
The 'old hands' in Support will recall having talked me through the simplest of procedures, to begin with (like how to ftp) because I don't "think like a techie".  I *still* don't easily understand most of the content in the DIY guide.  I know how to do various things, now (reasonably well) but at the outset there was 'no way in', no instant understanding.
Maybe 50% of PN's customers are like that, non-techies.  I'd like to see the portal guides (all) written at the basic level that a non-techie can follow, with lead-offs to more complex stuff, certainly, but the latter not the primary resource.
And I believe it would be beneficial to have 'more phone contact' - because that was a large part of what inspired the extraordinary level of loyalty to Force 9 across its customer base.  I wouldn't have been able to achieve what I have, with the site, without the patience of people to 'guide me through the difficult bits' - not everyone needs to build a website, but if they're having a major problem with spam and can't find a way to get it sorted (and most non-techie people will currently be in that situation, even if they never come to a forum and say so) a quick, unprompted phonecall from PN might make all the difference to whether they stay or not.
Regards,
Penny.

Now this is where I ask for your co-operation.
Could you please, all of you, add your views on this subject. I would appreciate everyone to help in this matter, for you are all lovely people. I am trying this method because it may be a better way of bringing this problem to all of you.
Thank you.
30 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 16,849
Thanks: 1,136
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Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Calling all PlusNet staff.

Yes indeed.... I agree...... By the way, is also at fault by using PN and  Mysql  php  and  cgi..... I guess that PN means Plusnet.... but I haven`t got a clue about what the others stand for, or  even represent and "do" ..... Also when people talk about putting this or that line in the "first level" on your ftp.  What on earth is the "first level"?
Is there a possibility that the forum could host a "dictionary" or Thesaurus  for all these abbreviations, with an explanation of what they do ?
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 25,786
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Registered: 14-04-2007

Re: Calling all PlusNet staff.

This may not be appreciated but here goes.
I tend to think of this subject in terms of the owner of a car.
You don't need to know how a car works in order to drive it but a little understanding of the mechanics of the vehicle certainly wouldn't go amiss.
Perhaps this same basic understanding could help in case of a breakdown where a glance under the bonnet results in a fixed problem rather than a glazed expression.
I'm not suggesting we should all become auto engineers but maybe the driving theory test should include some simple questions on vehicle mechanics and electrics.
The moral of this tale is take a little time to learn something about the tools you are using in order to get the best out of them. Smiley
*Dick returns to his bomb-proof shelter*
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pcoventry
Grafter
Posts: 434
Registered: 26-11-2007

Re: Calling all PlusNet staff.

Morning,
Bob, I'll leave the responses to the other staff who have more of an insight into the internal processes etc.
Shutter, Yes PN is used as short for PlusNet, MySql is a database system used to drive most websites. PHP is a server-side HTML embedded scripting language (see www.php.net for info on it) and CGI is Computer Generated Imagery http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer-generated_imagery
First Level refers to the main folder so in my mind that's the htdocs folder, as nothing outside of this folder would be visable to a web browser
Neil_A
Grafter
Posts: 450
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Calling all PlusNet staff.

Hi guys,
I think this thread covers a really important topic. How do we talk about technical stuff without alienating customers who might not know all the jargon.
And how do we make sure that the way we talk (on our website, on the phone, in tickets and in forum posts) is at the right 'level' for customers.
Phone - relies on training and processes and the individual
Tickets - same as phone, but some tickets also have 'auto-text' in them which agents can select for certain very popular topics which saves them the time of typing identical responses each time
Website - this I guess is about keeping a consistent and simple tone of voice. Pete Jackson heads up our online support team and I'll ask him to expand on this. We're actually working with a company called The Writer http://www.thewriter.co.uk who are helping us review and improve our tone of voice
Forums - this is the hardest to change. Why? Because everyone is individual , has different technical and written skills, different personality and completely different jobs. Some companies don't let individual employees post in forums like this unmoderatred - because they want to protect their tone of voice. They inevitably are larger companies where customers feel they get less personal service as a result.
One thing I'd be interested in is a customer review panel of new webpages we create - particularly support pages - to make sure the pages we're creating are clear, simple, concise and accurate.
Would anyone in this thread be interested in participating if we were to set something like this up?
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,264
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Calling all PlusNet staff.

Quote from: Pete
CGI is Computer Generated Imagery http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer-generated_imagery

In context of the quote from Penny, CGI is more likely to be http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Gateway_Interface which is "a standard protocol for interfacing external application software with an information server, commonly a web server."
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
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Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Calling all PlusNet staff.

Each month we compile the results of a survey sent out to customers who called in the previous month. Once of the questions we ask is "Did the agent you spoke to adapt their approach to match your knowledge level?".
Looking at the results we have from this you can see that the majority answer is yes. We are continuing to look at ways to push the no answers even further down in future months.

If you are interested you can find the full results of the survey here:-
Customer Satisfaction: Results from December 2007
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Chris Parr
 Plusnet Staff
Bob_Milton
Grafter
Posts: 688
Registered: 31-07-2007

Re: Calling all PlusNet staff.

Hi Neil,
Thank you for your response, I think that it is quite helpful.
I most certainly would like to help, perhaps in the way you suggest.
Hi to all the other staff members,
Have you any thoughts which might be helpful?
Or even thoughts which might be unhelpful (?) Maybe you don't feel the need for ignorant folk like me to be 'looking over your work'. I say that because I am not sure if I would have liked it when I was employed.
I have just read Colin's post, it does start to get complicated doesn't it. (What are all these funny things you call servers? Oh and what the heck is a protocol, is it something to do with politics?)
Bob_Milton
Grafter
Posts: 688
Registered: 31-07-2007

Re: Calling all PlusNet staff.

Hi Chris,
I look forward to hearing from you this month. I shall be pleased to help in that way if I can.
regards,
Bob
James
Grafter
Posts: 21,036
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Calling all PlusNet staff.

A server is a computer that does something. For example, an email server could be a computer that stores email.
A protocol is a thing or process. Protocol are commonly used to describe an action that a computer does.  For example POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) is the protocol used to receive email.
LiamM
Grafter
Posts: 5,636
Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Calling all PlusNet staff.

I usually describe Protocol as a bit like a language.
The protocol defines how one or more devices communicate with each other.  For example, your email client talks to the email server in a language (protocol) that the email server will understand.  POP3 for instance.
When you browse websites your web browser and the web server talk to each other using the "HTTP" protocol.
If your web browser tried to download a webpage using the wrong protocol - it wouldn't work.
I wonder if that helps at all?
Moderator
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Re: Calling all PlusNet staff.

As I have said before in these Forums.
When talking to a customer on the phone it's relatively easy for an agent to ascertain the skill level of the customer from their responses. This process is immediate and the agent can tailor their questions and answers appropriately.
With a written word system this kind of feedback is not available therefore leading to possible misunderstanding, a longer resolution process and ultimately a frustrated customer.
There is no simple solution that I can see as this is the nature of person to person communication.
Plusnet agents are probably trained to deal with customers but customers are not trained to deal with Plusnet agents.
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Community Veteran
Posts: 1,264
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Calling all PlusNet staff.

Quote from: Bob
I have just read Colin's post, it does start to get complicated doesn't it. (What are all these funny things you call servers? Oh and what the heck is a protocol, is it something to do with politics?)

There's no denying it get's complicated and it is often hard for people to forget that others may not know the terms they are talking about. If I'd done it 'properly', and copied the text from Wikipedia with the links in full, the other terms you mention would have been hyperlinked to further information on them.
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Re: Calling all PlusNet staff.

The term Protocol translates into the 'real world' as in diplomatic protocol, a term more familiar to many people.
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Neil_A
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Posts: 450
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Calling all PlusNet staff.

Quote from: Colin
If I'd done it 'properly', and copied the text from Wikipedia with the links in full, the other terms you mention would have been hyperlinked to further information on them.

Wikipedia is your friend Smiley
Seriously if I ever see something that I don't understand or haven't heard or I simply type it into wikipedia and you usually get a nice simple explanation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page