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BBYW: The questions we were asked

BBYW: The questions we were asked

BBYW: The questions we were asked

Broadband Your Way – Product feedback

We invited all staff, PUG, and forum contributors to comment on the 2007 residential product refresh and to give ideas and feedback on what our products should look like.

The results have been collated and are best represented in the 4 categories:

  • Product design
  • Product features
  • Marketing/product descriptions
  • General feedback
To help the reader put our responses into perspective we feel it’s important that we present an overview of the reasons why we’re changing our consumer products and confirm the fundamental design principles behind Broadband Your Way.

Why are we changing our consumer products? There are many things which have driven these changes to our consumer product set and the reinvigoration of our service:

  • One of the biggest challenges PlusNet faced with it's previous products was customers subscribing to a product not appropriate to their usage patterns and usage types. This lead to dissatisfaction with performance as customers were increasingly buying on a price point instead of understanding the type of “Internet experience” they required.
  • Some customers have lost faith due to key performance issues over the last 6 months.
  • Changes to our traffic management policies have led to a lack of understanding or mistrust (with good reason) amongst our customers, and perhaps more importantly our referral community.
  • Platform problems such as email, DNS and VOIP stability
  • Customer support backlogs during latter half of 2006.
  • Plus, Premier and PAYG products no longer stood-out in the marketplace.
  • All of these factors have led to dissatisfaction amongst the people that made PlusNet successful i.e. customers who refer others to our products.

We believe Broadband Your Way represents PlusNet’s opportunity to win back trust, confidence and loyalty from our existing customer base.

What is Broadband Your Way?

  • Broadband Your Way is a next generation broadband service designed to give customers the ability to create a broadband experience to suit their needs
  • Broadband Your Way will be delivered in multiple phases as we provide more configuration options over the course of this year
  • The April launch is the first phase of many. We have already identified some phase 2 items that are scheduled to launch shortly after the April launch

The launch of Broadband Your Way is not the answer to all our problems. The product will only be successful if we also get the fundamentals of our service right. We have to deliver a reliable platform, good broadband speeds, stable email service and perhaps most importantly, top quality customer support. We’ve made significant strides over the last few months to address these key issues. We feel the time is right to re-invigorate our products

Broadband Your Way fundamentals

The fundamental design principles of Broadband Your Way are:

  • PlusNet will deliver a reliable service with uptime of core systems such as email etc
  • Stop breaking things, provide good performance keep up the progress we’ve already made
  • Broadband Your Way has been designed to accommodate changes in consumer behaviours which have led to increased demands for usage driven by things like you-tube, video/tv on demand etc
  • Broadband Your Way provides fair treatment for heavy demand applications while setting appropriate expectations.
  • Broadband Your Way is designed to appeal to customers who place value in broadband.
  • We don’t want to compete with every provider, many of whom are operating on high risk loss making models
  • We’re not trying to appeal to every type of customer such as those who expect “free broadband” or heavy users who expect more than its possible to provide for the price
  • Broadband Your Way is easier to understand, has clear product rules (especially on usage) and provides customers with flexibility to change their product as they see fit

Customer Feedback

We received feedback from over 100 contributors. A lot of the feedback focused on the obvious – make what you’ve got work! We’ve excluded some comments that didn’t relate directly to our new product design. That said, no ones feedback has been ignored and we know we absolutely have to carry on fixing the current products, platform etc if we are going to be successful. We’ve done our best to group the suggestions together where comments related to the same issue.

We think we’ve done a good job in matching the requirements of our customers with the new product. Please bear in mind that the product presented so far is the first phase of Broadband Your Way and some of the feedback has been incorporated into future phases.

Product Design The following category covers all aspects of feedback relating to how people think we should design our products. This includes suggestions like, per GB charging, various models for traffic management, comparisons with other providers etc

Category

Product design

Contributors

11

Description

Reduce additional PAYG GB units/change to per MB billing and reduce cost of per GB units

Comments

April launch

Additional usage has been reduced to increments of 1GB and pricing reduced to75p pre pay and £1 post pay – very competitive compared to other providers who charge between £1.00-£1.50.

We have decided to stay with per GB billing due to mixed feedback as to whether customers understand per MB billing and because this allows us to keep costs down. We may look at per MB pricing in later phases if customers want it.

 

Category

Product design

Contributors

8

Description

Keep overnight usage and daytime usage free/Don’t charge for weekend usage/Keep current period

Comments

April launch

Usage will be counted between 8AM to midnight with overnight usage remaining free (midnight to 8AM). This matches the periods when our network is busy, and allows us to be compared easily with other providers.

With regard to weekends, we’re busy at the weekend and the network is driven as hard at the weekend as it is during the week, so we have to count usage. In fact for a % of users, the weekend is the main time they use the account.

 

Category

Product design

Contributors

8

Description

Is overnight usage actually unlimited?

Comments

April launch

Nothing is ever unlimited!

The network still has prioritisation applied off peak to ensure everyone that P2P and file downloads don't swamp other protocols. Because interactive usage is so low overnight we can allow all customers access to our network without the need to monitor usage levels. We have many customers who are able to download 100’s of GBs a month overnight, however we make no guarantees about the amounts someone can download, which is why we don’t specify a maximum theoretical limit like other ISPs.

For more information on how we manage our network at all times please refer to these pages.

 

 

Category

Product design

Contributors

8

Description

Don’t charge for long periods of time with no data transfer due a fault or customer not using the service/Ability to “park” broadband account

Comments

Not planned – considered for future development

The idea of service credits is something we’re considering for future phases, however our suppliers will continue to charge us regardless of actual usage or faults. As such this requires further careful planning and will only be applicable in certain circumstances.

Examples where this may apply include:

- Long term faults where we are able to claim compensation from the Wholesale provider

- Ability for a customer to effectively put their Broadband service on hold for a period of time e.g. pay a base £8.99 (Ie the fixed costs we have to pay our supplier) but suspend usage charges whilst they’re on holiday.

Category

Product design

Contributors

20

Description

Rollover PAYG usage/carry over credit balances similar to mobiles/Refunding unused bandwidth

Comments

Not planned

With the reduction in minimum GB commitments and pricing reductions to 75p per GB we decided not to introduce the concept of carry over GBs given that the customer’s exposure on unused GB’s has been much reduced. We do understand that this was the most hotly requested change and we think we’ve addressed it through reducing the price and minimum GB commitment, we’re not ruling it out for future consideration

Category

Product design

Contributors

4

Description

Discount for buying bigger chunks of GB

Comments

Not planned

Again, the reduction in per GB pricing means the customer will be better off buying GB’s in 1GB chunks. 75p is based on expected future wholesale pricing so we can’t give a further reduction at this time however we’re happy to reconsider should the wholesale cost per GB continue to fall

Category

Product design

Contributors

16

Description

PAYG GBs should be provided at line speed/not managed and given high priority at all times/I don’t mind paying more for line speed or a “premium” service/Pay to go faster

Comments

April launch

On any shared network it’s impossible to guarantee line speed, particularly at peak, on any product without the risk of affecting service for all customers.

Options 1 and 2 are designed to provide a limited experience for people who don’t usually use high demand applications like P2P and Binary Usenet. Options 3 and 4 are designed to cater for the more regular and demanding usage. This differentiation in service will be delivered through prioritisation of traffic on each product and associated implementation of rate limits.

More details about what this means can be found in the expected speed page. It is important to note that all ISPs operate to the same limitations and although they sell you an “unlimited” product we’re the ones being honest about how that actually works.

That said we recognise some customers want data intensive applications to run at line speed (or near to it) when they want it. Whilst this is not feasible for launch however one of the future developments for BBYW is the ability to purchase prioritised sessions using our titanium queue. More information will follow over the next couple of weeks as we finalise the financial models and investigate development impacts

Category

Product design

Contributors

11

Description

Fixed monthly subscription products with ability to buy more usage and/or capped pricing

Comments

April launch

All BBYW products will be designed to offer flexibility to either:

- Set costs at the base price e.g. £9.99, £14.99, £19.99 etc)

- Configure the product to fix costs at these prices or choose to PAYG for any additional usage with the ability to set a maximum spending limit (similar to data transfer watch)

- Purchase additional usage upfront for a lower price (75p) and either fix costs at that level or choose to continue to use the service on a PAYG basis (£1 per GB)

Category

Product design

Contributors

3

Description

Re-introduce the £19.99 15GB included PAYG product with ability to buy more

Comments

April launch

The £19.99 option 3 product is in some ways much the same as the old £19.99 15GB product but even better – 20GB included as opposed to 15GB. Customers can choose to purchase additional GB’s in 1GB increments at 75p as opposed to chunks of 2 for £1.50.

The main difference between this product and PAYG is that P2P and Usenet traffic is not in gold, and will not perform at line speed on Broadband Your Way. The reason for that is PAYG in that format cannot be scaled economically. Customers on PAYG are however welcome to remain on their current product, and we will introduce options for people to buy this experience at a later date.

 

 

Category

Product design

Contributors

6

Description

Stop selling products that “slow down as you approach your advertised usage allowance”/No slowdowns for low usage customers

Comments

April launch

The traffic management policy on BBYW is simple – no specific management on your account until you reach your pricing/usage cap. Once you reach this level access will be restricted to 128k on standard protocols with P2P and Binary Usenet blocked.

It is important to note that although BBYW does not include any specific traffic management policies on individual customers, network wide prioritisation remains in place. Customers will therefore experience slowdowns of some protocols at busy times, in line with expectations set in our product pages.

Category

Product design

Contributors

2

Description

Ignore background traffic from traffic management

Comments

April launch

We have no way of separating background traffic from normal usage. The launch of Broadband firewall provides users with an easy to configure tool to minimise/manage their connection and reduce the amount of background traffic they receive. Unfortunately the nature of internet protocols means it is very difficult to filter all background traffic. This however is something we’re working towards as per the broadband roadmap.

Category

Product design

Contributors

1

Description

Varying GB costs based on time of day

Comments

Not planned

Interesting idea but a step too far at the moment. A charging model similar to telephony (different charges for Daytime, Evening and Weekend calls) has come up a number of times and it’s clear that customers understand this concept however no other ISP bases price on time of day at this time and it would make it very difficult for consumers to compare our products with other ISPs. Whilst the concept behind BBYW is to launch an evolutionary product we need to ensure it’s simple to understand and in line with other providers – if it’s too complicated, no-one will buy it!

Category

Product design

Contributors

2

Description

Senior citizens rate for packages based on daytime usage (not usage at your peak)

Comments

Not planned

We feel the new products are competitively priced and cater for most types of requirements. We’re not looking to become a niche ISP in any particular sector (e.g. silver surfers, gamers, downloaders) however we do want to appeal to customers who place value in their broadband service. We see no reason to differentiate based on income, age, sex or any other demographic group type at this time.

Category

Product design

Contributors

8

Description

Reduce restrictions on P2P

Comments

Not planned

Numerous contributors have made comments like “why throttle P2P or Usenet, I’m paying for it so why shouldn’t I be allowed to use it for what I want”.

The fact is P2P and Usenet are high demand applications which will saturate any network if left unmanaged. It’s also worth noting that only a small percentage of customers use these protocols (on average only 600 customers use Binary usenet on a daily basis – 0.3% of our customer base). We have to give priority to interactive protocols to protect the experience of the majority.

The low cost per GB we are offering does not cover the true cost of transferring these high demand applications at full speed, especially during busy times. The option will be available in the future to purchase “titanium” bandwidth which will deliver close to line speeds for an appropriate price.

It is also important to remember that prioritisation only applies when the network is fully loaded therefore speed of P2P/Binary Usenet will be reflective of how busy the network is and what sort of traffic is using it.

Category

Product design

Contributors

1

Description

ADSL 2+

Comments

Not planned

We are awaiting rollout of 21CN, when this will become a reality. For some, that will be in 2007, and we intend to be at the forefront of the next big jump in Broadband speeds. Our new products have been built with this in mind, and will accomadate faster speeds when they are available. See here for more details on ADSL 2+ (Upto 24Mb/s): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITU_G.992.5 and here for details of BTs 21st Century Network plans: http://www.bt.com/21CN

Category

Product design

Contributors

1

Description

Drop £9.99 PAYG Basic

Comments

April launch

Done! We have no further intention of offering cut down products due to the complexities of different charging models (per MB instead of per GB), lack of email services etc… Customers on this product will be automatically upgraded to the same priced Broadband Your Way Option 1, and will no longer be charged for the optional Email service. We have also withdrawn our 'premium rate' support line for £9.99 customers and they will be able to access our new 01 support line along with everyone else

Category

Product design

Contributors

1

Description

£17 product with performance in between Plus & Premier with cut down feature set

Comments

April launch

The closest to this is provided by the £19.99 product we intend to launch (And the features aren’t cut down!) – We can’t please all of the people all of the time !

Category

Product design

Contributors

1

Description

Varying Traffic Management models - See points below

Comments

Not planned

Interesting ideas however we feel this is a step too far for phase 1. The question we have to keep asking ourselves is will the average customer understand it? The answer for the moment we think is no. Our aim is to keep it as simple as possible, whilst appealing to the sort of customers who place value in their Broadband service.

Category

Product design

Contributors

1

Description

Traffic management models:

- Usage caps with variable throttling in line with % allowance used

- Different per gig price for different quality of bandwidth – Gold / Silver / Bronze

 

 

Comments

Not planned

Not the direction we’ve moved in (We are going away from throttling within account usage limits), and product would need to be advertised with low usage allowance. Would also be difficult to compare with other ISPs products, but it is food for thought

Category

Product design

Contributors

1

Description

ONE product with Flexible options selectable in My Connection

Comments

April launch

This is effectively what we’re intending to do! Customers will be able to change their connection options at any point using our portal.

Category

Product design

Contributors

1

Description

£14-99 and must include data usage of ~ 4G with Minimal slowdowns on http, ftp and interactive

Comments

April launch

This is effectively what we’re intending to do, but we think, better

Category

Product design

Contributors

1

Description

BT Total Broadband Option 3 at £5 a month cheaper

Comments

April launch

BBYW option 4 delivers pretty much the same product design and experience, but at a lower price. The only differences being we don’t say “unlimited but fair usage policy applies”; Been there, done that, doesn’t work!

Also wireless included minutes are being planned for phase 2 or 3, but will not be available initially.

Category

Product design

Contributors

1

Description

Offer un-throttled speeds regardless of protocol - At peak times, sure - speeds can be reduced, but to no lower than 2MB. Entanet currently do a similar package with a 30/300GB cap for £19.99:1

Comments

April launch

We can’t commit to offer this, as we don’t believe it is sustainable. Customers on £19.99 product can use 20GB between 8AM and midnight, but speeds will slow down as per the published prioritisation systems used on our network. The option to pay an appropriate price to receive a prioritised service will also be available later.

We’re not trying to create a product to suite everyone, but our main priority is to sell a product we can deliver, consistently and reliably.

Category

Product design

Contributors

1

Description

More than 2GB on PAYG @ £14.99

Comments

April launch

Done, with the £9.99 product you effectively get 4GB if you spend £13.99 – alternatively you could take the £14.99 product and get 8GB!

Category

Product design

Contributors

1

Description

Allow people to pay something like 1/2 the PAYG price per GB (we've already paid for off-peak usage) from 20GB to 30GB when they reach a managed level.

Comments

Not planned

This seems to be a little complicated, and a Gig is a Gig once the account usage limits are reached – We provide more for your money based on how much you are willing to commit to spend each month, hence differentiated allowances

Category

Product design

Contributors

4

Description

Can we promote direct debit by giving customers an incentive?

Comments

Not planned

We had plans to implement an administration charge for credit and debit cards as an incentive to encourage customers to pay by direct debit. These were however put on hold because it was felt we’d penalise customers who chose us for our range of payment mechanisms. The next year is all about growth and we are not planning to change this policy at this time, although we may introduce further incentives for customers to pay by Direct Debit later.

Category

Product design

Contributors

7

Description

Will BBYW be available on MetroNet

Comments

Planned later

Not as part of phase 1, however we will be addressing the Metronet product set in a later phase. Our intention is to enable a simple migration from Metronet products to PlusNet BBYW products. More details will be available soon for Metronet customers.

Category

Product design

Contributors

17

Description

Clearly define what protocols are in which queue on each product/what performance can be expected/Gaming & VPN on £9.99?

Comments

Agreed

VPN will be blocked on the £9.99 product and the entire experience will be defined properly during the sign-up journey. Gaming will work on £9.99 accounts but will be prioritised only on £14.99 and above accounts.

Full product features and details of expected performance are available in the accompanying presentation.

Section

Product design

Contributors

3

Description

50GB overall (i.e. peak & off-peak) cap - PAYG on top of that - for £29.99 with no, or at least minimal management.

Comments

April launch

We believe we’ve launched a better product. For £29.99 we don’t need to specify an off-peak limit as off-peak usage is limited only by other customers using the platform. The management is in place to prevent high demand applications from swamping our network to the detriment of interactive protocol use by all customers. In the future it will be possible to pay an appropriate additional fee to buy ‘titanium’ network capacity.

Section

Product design

Contributors

3

Description

I just want what Premier offers now but with proper bandwidth, not poor speeds at peak times when you try to use anything in the bronze queue. I would be happy with 100kb on Bitorrent at peak times for example, 1/8 of line speed is not too much to ask for someone who stays well within his peak time limits and doesn’t go overboard downloading ridiculous amounts which they are subsidised for.

 

Comments

April launch

We’ve been clear about the bandwidth experience that can be expected on our new products, and premier has not performed as well as we would expect at times recently.

This is why we lit the 19th segment, and our aim is to provide a good bandwidth experience which, while slowing down for high demand applications at peak times, will always deliver to the expectations we set. Most BB Premier customers are now reporting much improved speeds at peak times. We are also planning to make options available for customers who at any time need prioritised traffic, for an appropriate price.

Section

Product design

Contributors

3

Description

Clear differentiation between products

Comments

April launch

Agreed. There will be a clear and obvious differentiation between the options based on the amount of usage allowance and the experience received. Options 1 and 2 are not designed for use with high demand applications, whereas options 3 and 4 will support these in line with the expectations we set. Similarly there is a difference between the design of option 1 and 2 in relation to gaming and VPN traffic. The other features, such as web space and email are the same. There is also a difference in the hardware options we give to new customers when they join us.

Section

Product design

Contributors

2

Description

Customers will be alerted by email if the price of their product or a similar product is reduced

Comments

April launch

Yes, we will email *all* customers about this product launch And any customer regardless of what they are currently paying will be allowed to move to BBYW for free.

Section

Product design

Contributors

2

Description

PlusNet commitment to inform customers if there is a change in the product design or way it is managed, and in the event of 12 months contracts, allow that to be waived

Comments

April launch

The new products are sold with monthly contracts only. We cannot guarantee that the products will not change in any way, shape or form - A year is a long time in this industry! We will however ensure all customers have an opportunity to be made aware of this before their connection would be impacted in any way (For single speed expectation changes, this will be through the community site). The current feeling is that as wholesale costs are expected to come down, the only changes will be ones that are beneficial for customers, but we cannot make this guarantee. Any deferred costs will always be payable in the first twelve months even if customers did chose to leave as the result of any change.

The simple traffic management policy on BBYW (management only applies when you reach your included allowance) also removes much of the scope for “un-communicated” changes

Section

Product design

Contributors

1

Description

Fix the delay between the View My Usage and Data Transfer Watch so that both are synchronising so customers will not slip unknowingly into an extra 2GB charge.

Comments

April launch

The system will be designed to address this by not billing for usage when customers reach the amount they specified as a maximum price (Along thelines of data transfer watch)

Section

Product marketing

Contributors

1

Description

Clearer terms on deferred payments

Comments

April launch

Agreed. The new 12 month deferred payment scheme launched in January is much clearer. BBYW deferred contracts will be sold under this scheme, not under the old 5 year scheme. This will be made clear very during registration, and we have introduced a new section of the sign-up process to specifically tell peoplehowmuch they will pay based on the options they have chosen

Section

Product design

Contributors

4

Description

Keep option of static OR dynamic IP

Comments

April launch

BBYW will be dynamic by default however customers will have the option to change to static IP(s) via the portal after registration for free. Current customers will keep their existing IPs.

Section

Product design

Contributors

1

Description

If your referrals have referrals then you earn as well/ Add ability to add referrer post signup

Comments

Not planned/already available

This is effectively pyramid selling – not something we want to offer.

The referral scheme will not change for the first phase of BBYW. Each option will have a referral value however we’re also looking into offering sliding scale payments based on additional usage. Should this prove to be viable it will follow in a future phase.

The referral values are planned to be:

£9.99 – 25p

£14.99 – 25p

£19.99 – 50p

£29.99 – 75p

The ability to add referrals after signup is and always has been available, and is handled on a case by case basis. Both customers need to contact the CSC following payment of the first invoice on the referred account

Section

Product design

Contributors

1

Description

Current infrastructure is strengthened

Comments

Done

Two new segments were lit in February to address recent BB Plus speed issues. A further segment was lit in March to improve BB Premier non-interactive traffic speeds. These increases in capacity were based on expected wholesale cost reductions, and two new pipes are on order to support future growth. The product design will also drive network capacity to ensure we always have sufficient capacity to deliver the level of quality broadband experience both we and our customers expect

Additionally we are investing significant amounts in upgrading other services such as the email platform

Marketing Design

Much of the feedback we received related not to the products themselves, but to the way we sell and market them. We’ve covered the points raised in this section, and generally our aim is to be the most open, honest and transparent ISP in the UK.

Category

Marketing design

Contributors

8

Description

Who are we trying to appeal to? Mass market, tech savvy budget ISPs, Do we know who our target audience is?

Comments

April launch

We started at the beginning looking to attract what might be described as 'discerning users' or 'early adopters'. In those days, early adopters were people who bought things on-line and used sites like Amazon and eBay. Now everyone is comfortable doing those sort of things, so the original audience is much wider. The change so far has really been in line with that. When today's young generation grows up, they will be much more demanding than the customers of today too, and so this will keep changing.

We've then been through a bit of a journey, and we now have a wide range of customers using our service. Our success is built from people that refer our products to their friends, colleagues and family. Referrers know a lot about the industry and will recommend ISPs on the basis of lots of things. For that to work, there needs to be two different sorts of product - One which 'experts' that refer will be attracted to themselves, the other being a flexible product they have confidence in, for them to refer other people onto.

Any business in our position will be clear that what they want are profitable customers - That is to say, customers who do not cost more to service than they are prepared to pay. We are not out to compete directly with the Tier 1 ISPs like Carphone, Sky, Orange, BT, Virgin etc. They are on a land-grab mission and are prepared to accept large losses now for the sake of customer numbers. There is some merit in that as a model - Broadband will be at the hub of people's lives for a long time to come, and markets like voice, TV and others will all converge over broadband eventually. Ultimately though, there is a big risk that many customers will get drawn into long contracts on those cheap products, and find that they are not getting a product that meets their needs.

So, who are our target customers? Maybe another answer might be that where we want to get to is attracting customers who place value in their broadband connections and will value what we can offer.

To get to where we want to be is more than just about the product we sell. Just as important, if not more, is that people have confidence in the reliability of our service and the ability for us to deliver it. We recognise that this remains a challenge however we think we're on the right road.

Section

Marketing design

Contributors

5

Description

Existing customers – Can customers stay on their existing product and can they change to BBYW for free?

Comments

April launch

- Yes. We have no plans to phase out the products customers are currently using, but we will not continue to offer them for sale. Some people will find the existing products are more suitable for their usage, while others will find the new products better. We will email all customers about the new products and we intend to target the emails to make it clear where customers could get a better deal.

- There will be no downgrade fees for customers moving from their current products to the new ones, even if that means customers are paying us less every month. Deferred payments will be carried over onto the new products.

Section

Marketing design

Contributors

5

Description

Need to clearly define rules on changes within BBYW product range, in relation to deferred hardware.

Comments

April launch

Agreed. The customer journey will make it very clear that deferred hardware is linked to the original option chosen (We give away more expensive hardware to customers who commit to paying more). Customers will be allowed to change from option 3 and 4 to options 1 and 2 at any time, but within the first twelve months will be required to pay off remaining deferred fees for any deferred hardware

Section

Marketing design

Contributors

2

Description

Don’t keep changing the terms and conditions

Comments

April launch

Changes to terms and conditions specifically have been very rare in the last 3 years+ and we are we are legally bound to give notice if we do.

Changes to AUPs and usage allowances do form part of our contract with customers and if usage allowances ever change to the customer’s detriment we will always notify customers. However changes to traffic management processes or systems do not form part of this contract – so changing which queue an application is in or changing a rate limit does not constitute a change to T&Cs. We aim to be the most transparent ISP in the market and will do our utmost to inform customers of how and why we manage the network.

In the future all contracts will be monthly, customers will have the option to leave if they so desire with only payment of any deferred fees being required. Our new products have been designed first and foremost in a way that is expected to remain sustainable, and will in fact allow us to increase the value we can offer to customers as wholesale costs are expected to come down next during the next few years.

Section

Marketing design

Contributors

9

Description

Be really accurate about what is sold and stay accurate to it (traffic management, included usage, mail and web policies)

Comments

April launch

In our marketing material we intend to be very clear about what customers can expect from our products both in terms of usage allowances and the expected experience. We want to accurately set customers expectations, so that we don’t disappoint and we have nothing to hide about how our products are provided. Our products are not suitable for everyone, but we hope the new BBYW range will cater for many different type of users.

We also have another project running which is aimed at improving our general transparency, as described in our plans for 2007 – the first one is clarification and details of our cancellation policies and this is due launch very shortly

Section

Marketing design

Contributors

2

Description

products must be much easier to understand by non-nerds/Simple product descriptions

Comments

April launch

Absolutely – There will always be a balance. Some ISPs just say “Unlimited*” and while simple we don’t believe this is honest. We are trying as hard as possible to strike a balance between easy to understand products, the value for money we provide to an ‘average’ user, and the options which can be made available to more discerning users with specialist requirements.

Our aim will be to continue to simplify aspects of our product set during the next year. Buying Broadband is not the same as buying Electricity or Gas however, and given the marketplace our challenge is to deliver a better value for money service than any of our competitors, while being totally honest in our marketing material.

Section

Marketing design

Contributors

5

Description

Commit the service will stay the same at the same price for the next 12 months

Comments

April launch

Something we’re very keen to consider and implement generally, as we don’t want customers to ever think we might surprise them negatively. We would actually hope to improve the products even more in the next twelve months. The problem is that usage profiles are very difficult to predict, and any ISP would find this very hard to do. It is unlikely that we would want to raise prices in the next 12 months and if we did customers would have the option to leave.

We can give you our absolute commitment not to make the same mistakes as we have with regard to things like making usage allowances completely clear and transparent to the customer during registration. We believe that pricing will not increase, however we cannot see into the future so we can’t guarantee anything – A good example is the introduction of cessation charge being forced on all service providers by OFCOM’s drive for equivalence - many ISPs will need to pass these charges on to customers in one way or another

Section

Marketing design

Contributors

3

Description

If a product doesn’t work, only change it for new sign-ups

Comments

April launch

With this product launch we’re allowing existing customers to stay on their existing products, which should continue to perform as well as, if not better, than they do now. What we cannot say is that if something big changes in the underlying industry, we will be able to let customers stay on their old products forever.

We are very conscious of the need to build complete confidence among our customers that they will get value for money from us at all times, and we really believe now that our products are more sustainable than those being provided by practically any other provider. That should mean we don’t enter in a situation where this would be an issue.

Product Features

This section covers your feedback relating Broadband Your Way product features e.g. email services, WIFI, domain registration and other non Broadband related services.

Category

Product features

Contributors

2

Description

Geographical support numbers (0114 as opposed to 0845)

Comments

Planned for May.

While we have always encouraged self service and use of On-line communication tools as a fundamental part of our business model, we completely understand that some people would rather call us then use our website to solve their problem. We intend to offer this from May.

Category

Product features

Contributors

1

Description

Provide monthly level of web hosting bandwidth

Comments

Not planned

Not planned to be addressed as part of BBYW however we are evaluating the way we position and sell some of our value added services such as email, web hosting, web hosting transfer limits

Category

Product features

Contributors

2

Description

Home Phone and PlusTalk packages available on all products/ Modular chargeable components including vision / Fusion / Usenet

Comments

Already are

All Broadband Phone and Home Phone services are available to PlusNet customers regardless of which Broadband product they’re on.

Additional services such as BT Fusion and BT Vision are planned to be available as bolt-on’s with all BBYW products.

We have no plans to launch a Binary Usenet service at this time however we may consider it as part of a future phase and we are currently in the process of outsourcing text Usenet to supernews.

Category

Product features

Contributors

8

Description

Email / IPs / Domains / Advanced services as separate chargeable option

Comments

Not planned

We are planning some advanced optional, chargeable services in later BBYW product releases. Initially all features included with our current premier product will available on all BBYW options. We do understand that some customers do not want to pay for something they don’t use, however in reality we have to operate the systems to a certain scale anyway, and there would be no significant cost saving for us by not offering these options to all customers. The price of the products would not really be any lower without these features (All the features, Static IP, Email, webspace etc perhaps accounts for 10 – 25p of cost per month under the current product economics).

Other Advanced services may include:

- Max premier with higher upload speed

- Total Care (enhanced care from BT for broadband faults) and premium support

- Desktop support

- Filestore/Online back up tools

- Advanced web hosting

Category

Product features

Contributors

7

Description

Excellent Customer Services / Technical Support

Comments

In progress

We spent the last part of 2006 focussing on working out the customer service issues that caused us pain last year. All well as solving technical issues, such as Max and LLU roll-out, the quality of training and of the recruitment processes in use and support have been vastly improved. Our ambition is to provide exceptional customer service and technical support. More information can be found in our plans for 2007: http://www.plus.net/features/news/plans2007.shtml

Category

Product features

Contributors

4

Description

Dial Back up services/ Accelerated dial

Comments

Future phase

BBYW will include free 0808 backup for use during faults – automatically enables whenever a fault is reported.

We have no current plans for accelerated dial-up but will investigate the viability of launching the Metronet accelerated dial service onto PlusNet – scalability, costs and infrastructure allowing – in phase 3 of BBYW

Category

Product features

Contributors

3

Description

Metronet proxy and content filter for BBYW

Comments

Future phase

This seems like a very good idea but needs to investigated further in relation to the StreamShield project. Either way we are aware that the need for parental control and content filtering will become an important feature of Broadband in the future, and we intend to provide that

Category

Product features

Contributors

4

Description

Include WiFi minutes in products

Comments

Future phase

We intend to launch this, but are still agreeing commercial details with the suppliers. This should become available in phase 2 or 3

Category

Product features

Contributors

1

Description

Inclusive Broadband Phone minutes on all products

Comments

April launch

All BBYW options will include Broadband Phone minutes:

£9.99 Gets PAYG

£14.99: 120 evening and weekends mins

£19.99 & £29.99: 240 Anytime min

Category

Product features

Contributors

4

Description

Provide Home and Broadband Phone to non Broadband customers

Comments

Not planned

We don’t have plans to move away from being a broadband provider that sells additional services like Home Phone. There is no shortage of suppliers that specialise in these services.

Category

Product features

Contributors

3

Description

Discounts on BT Shop/DABS (You’re all owned by BT so get rid of shop and sell the BT or Dabs)

Comments

Not planned

We are assessing our PlusNet shop strategy following withdrawel of the original PlusNet shop. Nothing is planned as part of the initial BBYW product launch.

Other suggestions that arose during this process but are not specifically related to new products were:

  • One off payments via DD
  • Ability to change invoice dates via portal
  • Review of failed billing process to make it more customer friendly to provide grace period after failed billing

 

These suggestions have been raised for evaluation under other wider scope projects.

Regards,

Ian

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1 Comment
Superuser
A detailed and informative blog. I recognise references to items I raised including one (quite properly) in the wider scope items at the end. Well done Regards David