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Why Don't You Want My Custom, Neil Armstrong (Products Director, PlusNet)?

green19
Not applicable
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎10-01-2008

Why Don't You Want My Custom, Neil Armstrong (Products Director, PlusNet)?


Just a few short days ago I submitted a query to "My Questions" about switching to PlusNet Home Phone (ID:23808113). I've been a loyal broadband customer of PlusNet for many years, and decided that it's about time to go for the full package.
I was very surprised to get a reply to my query along the lines that PlusNet could not accommodate my needs, purely because I won't use direct debit and pay monthly. I pay for my broadband as a yearly single payment. I pay BT quarterly for my landline service. If you want my custom, then you will need to find a payment method that suits me, not the other way around.
For those of you who wonder why I don't like direct debits, then you need to know that I've had a bad experience with them previously and ended up well out of pocket as a result. Once bitten, twice shy. I no longer trust direct debits and will never use them again.
Anyway, up until tonight I had accepted that PlusNet didn't want me as a HomePhone customer, and was resigned to leaving it at that. And then I received an email from Neil Armstrong telling me how I was such a valued customer, and that it would be in my interests to change to PlusNet HomePhone. The email continued by explaining how wonderful HomePhone is, and urged me to sign up.
You will understand that I was quite miffed to received this email, given the circumstances. I showed it to my wife, who in her words said that this was "taking the piss". My own feelings on the matter echo those of my wife, but using gentler language that is not quite so colourful.
So, now that you understand the background to this post, perhaps I can now request that you pass on the following question to Neil Armstrong . . .
"Neil, if you want to increase your customer base and hence company profitability, have you considered the possibility that potential customers have different needs for how they wish to pay for a service? Remember, one size doesn't fit all."
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55 REPLIES 55
James
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Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: Why Don't You Want My Custom, Neil Armstrong (Products Director, PlusNet)?

Hi Green19,
If you don't mind, I'll make a proper reply to your post tomorrow after checking with a couple of people to see if there's anything that we can do for you.
I do understand your frustration.
dipswitch
Not applicable
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎10-01-2008

Re: Why Don't You Want My Custom, Neil Armstrong (Products Director, PlusNet)?

Hear  hear  green19 . I started to sign up for home phone  some time back but found at the time I would not only have to pay the phone acount by debit card, but also my broadband account, which is currently paid by credit card.  Needless to say I didn't bother.
I agree with your sentiment, if some wants my business, they have to accept payment by the method I wish to pay by, not force me to fall in-line with their requirements.
I will consider placing more business with Plus Net when their payment arrangements suit my needs, not just theirs.
Ianwild
Grafter
Posts: 3,835
Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re: Why Don't You Want My Custom, Neil Armstrong (Products Director, PlusNet)?

So, the first question - BT charge £4.50 a quarter for non DD payments. They do that because DD is much cheaper to administer and as the product has to be so competitively priced we can't do the same price for non DD payment without losing money or making an extra charge.
So, I understand why people don't like it, and we have avoided the discussion by not offering an option so far (And we've discussed the same situation for Broadband too, but that's another thread!), but would people be willing to pay that sort of price more for non Direct Debit payments?
Ian
rivets
Not applicable
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎10-01-2008

Re: Why Don't You Want My Custom, Neil Armstrong (Products Director, PlusNet)?

Let me just add my voice to this - I was looking at the phone package in response to today's email, but had not yet discovered the DD trap. I am not partial to direct debits either and definitely do not want to change the way I pay for my broadband.
(I also dont believe that it really costs 4.50 a quarter to administer non-DD payments - that looks much more like an attempt at a disincentive than anything else.)
Bob_Milton
Grafter
Posts: 688
Registered: ‎31-07-2007

Re: Why Don't You Want My Custom, Neil Armstrong (Products Director, PlusNet)?

This may appear off topic, but I think it is the best way to ask again the question I asked on 14.10.07.
The question concerned Freephone calls to PlusNet to report faults on home phone.
On the 28.11.07 I posted;
*On 16/10/2007, you said,
"I'll try and get some answers before the week is out."
Is there any news please?*

To date There has been no response to my last post (pause for bugle call)
Again I ask is there any response please???
The reason why I asked this question in the first place is because it is important to me for reasons which may appear clear if that topic is read. If you want me to explain further you can ring me on [removed].
I asked that question at that time because I was considering changing to PlusNet home phone. It is I beleive a major stumbling block with the home phone set up.
Of course it has also been a disappointment that the response I looked for never came. This I must say is, I beleive, a serious flaw in using these forums to get an answer from PlusNet.
PS;
Perhaps I need to say why this is important. On the other topic there are views which do not make sense because those posting are not aware of the possible results of a local cable fault. Such a fault can of course result in a total loss of service on both broadband and ordinary telephony not only for one person, but a whole locality. The only way to report such a situation really is to use a public telephone. The problems of using a mobile are set out in the other topic.
[Moderators Note by Daniel (Assos), removed telephone number from posting - these are public forums  and I'm sure you don't want your phone number to be public knowledge :)]
Bob_Milton
Grafter
Posts: 688
Registered: ‎31-07-2007

Re: Why Don't You Want My Custom, Neil Armstrong (Products Director, PlusNet)?

That makes me ask why does Neil Armstrong suggest using them in his email trying to drum up users for home phone?
James
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Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: Why Don't You Want My Custom, Neil Armstrong (Products Director, PlusNet)?

Hi Bob,
Whilst the forums are not an official support resource, which is partly down to a lower level of accountability from a staff perspective as our forum posts are not logged in our back end systems, that's not to say that potential customers cannot gain feedback regarding the products and services that we offer.
Regarding your previous request to have an 0800 number available for fault reporting on Home Phone, it isn't something that we have forgotten.  Just because you have not heard anything does not mean that nothing will happen.  It'll be something that we can consider for the next Home Phone refresh.
My personal opinion is that it won't be a massive selling point.    If you lose your phone line and have to call from a mobile, you won't be able to take advantage of 0800 numbers, but I do understand when this could be useful.
Mark
Grafter
Posts: 1,852
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: Why Don't You Want My Custom, Neil Armstrong (Products Director, PlusNet)?

Hi green19
Thanks for your comments and feedback. I'm about to have a discussion internally regarding the points you have raised and I'll come back to you once that has taken place.

Quote
Regarding your previous request to have an 0800 number available for fault reporting on Home Phone, it isn't something that we have forgotten.

Hi Bob.
Not forgotten but I dropped the ball on that one. I did have the conversation internally a few weeks back and the long and the short of it is that we dont see a lot of value in offering an 0800 number for Home phone support. Our model is to offer the best possible service at the lowest price point possible. Obviously there is a cost factor involved in the 0800 number and this would then have to be passed on via higher rental / call charges.
Happy to hear you views on that point.

Not applicable

Re: Why Don't You Want My Custom, Neil Armstrong (Products Director, PlusNet)?

I have some sympathy with green19. I too do not like DD although I do have Homephone and am very pleased with the whole package that I have.  However, if I had a choice I would pay yearly in advance, hopefully with a small discount (there is a thread and related vote on this on PUG).
My mistrust of DD is softened a little by having Internet banking - there is the ability to keep a close eye on things and cancel them myself if necessary.
Bob_Milton
Grafter
Posts: 688
Registered: ‎31-07-2007

Re: Why Don't You Want My Custom, Neil Armstrong (Products Director, PlusNet)?

Quote from: Gloria
Hi Bob,
Whilst the forums are not an official support resource, which is partly down to a lower level of accountability from a staff perspective as our forum posts are not logged in our back end systems, that's not to say that potential customers cannot gain feedback regarding the products and services that we offer.
Regarding your previous request to have an 0800 number available for fault reporting on Home Phone, it isn't something that we have forgotten.  Just because you have not heard anything does not mean that nothing will happen.  It'll be something that we can consider for the next Home Phone refresh.
My personal opinion is that it won't be a massive selling point.    If you lose your phone line and have to call from a mobile, you won't be able to take advantage of 0800 numbers, but I do understand when this could be useful.

Hi Gloria,
Thanks for your response,
looking at your first paragraph it sounds as if you have been trained in the Civil Service.
But --- why did Neil Armstrong suggest using the forums as he did? I followed the link in his email and arrived at the situation where there appeared to be lots and lots of people who got there first, you must find it difficult to respond to them all.
Last paragraph ----
I spent forty one years in the telecoms business, I wonder if you really understand the problems when all means of calling are not available apart from a public telephone.

Hallo old Mark,
Good to hear from you. I think some difficulty PlusNet has in this matter is perhaps shown by 'Gloria' in his response.
I know that what I suggest costs money, (you didn't want to frighten the customers did you? Especially those who spend a fortune on mobile calls.), you are aware that whilst that discussion was proceeding another ISP joined those who provide a free fault reporting service.
You know I don't hasten to praise BT, but at least they do provide a free service, and have always done so).
I guess that they are keen to save as much as they can, perhaps they are an example of an organisation which has costed the facility and decided it is worth providing the service. Has PlusNet costed it.
I wonder if I looked around PlusNet I might find ways of saving money.
Gloria has expressed the personal view that it wouldn't be a massive selling point.
I'm sure that PlusNet also wants to provide a service to their customers. After all Mark you are trying to encourage more customers.
We have got through the Christmas period, I wish that PlusNet would make sure that they are not guided by that well known fictional Scrooge.
James
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Re: Why Don't You Want My Custom, Neil Armstrong (Products Director, PlusNet)?

Hi Bob,
Firstly off, I certainly wasn't trained in the Civil Service industry.  Barring a couple of temporary administration roles, I have always worked in the IT and namely ISP industry.
I don't personally have any issue responding to a large number of forum posts.  there can never be too many as far as I am concrrned and I read every single one and help out wherever I can.  I'm certain that this will have been why Neil has suggested to use our forums as you will be able to get help and advice from the forum community aswell as various members of staff.  I do appreciate though, that you do not neccessarily agree with our use of forums as a means of communication.
Regarding what was voiced as an opinion, I do appreciate that there are those such as yourself who would like to see an 0800 service being offered.  I do appreciate and understand that there will be times when you would need to contact us regarding a homer phone fault from a public telephone.  However, as has been mentioned, we're offering an incredibly well priced product with extremely low profit margins and to offer an 0800 service would cost additionally, possibly to the point of our home phone service no longer allowing us to generate a profit, meaning that we would need to increase our base costs, which we really don't want to do.
I do appreciate that you have worked in the Telecommunication Industry, we have shared a couple of lengthy calls, you and I, regarding your intereference issues that you were experiencing as a result of your telephone line being wired by a pylon, I believe.
Bob_Milton
Grafter
Posts: 688
Registered: ‎31-07-2007

Re: Why Don't You Want My Custom, Neil Armstrong (Products Director, PlusNet)?

Hi  Gloria,
Sorry, I was taking the p***
But your language was a bit gobbledy gook.
I appreciate all about what things may cost but I don't think anyone can (or should) express an opinion until costs have been established.
The cost of providing a freephone service does not of course have to be borne only by the home phone budget, it could be that it could be absorbed in the charge for other services, as welfare costs for the staff are. To be precise (and a bit silly, where you hang your hat has to be paid for) and by someone somehow.
I am not suggesting that anyone's salary would have to be reduced. Nil desperandum etc.
regards,
Bob Milton
glloyd
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Registered: ‎06-04-2007

Re: Why Don't You Want My Custom, Neil Armstrong (Products Director, PlusNet)?

I must admit DD has put me off taking PN HomePhone as well. I don't like the idea of anyone having access to my bank account after my wife had several grand taken from her account which she only used at one cash point inside her bank and one DD.
James
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Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: Why Don't You Want My Custom, Neil Armstrong (Products Director, PlusNet)?

Bob,
I'm sorry that you don't appreciate my writing style.
I'm not suggesting that salaries would have to be cut to allow 0800 access, but that we would need to increase our home phone charges.  The majoirty of our services are designed very carefully to ensure that our customers are getting a good deal - there's isn't an area we can just take from as you are suggesting.