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Plusnet loves forums, but why?

Plusnet loves forums, but why?

Plusnet loves forums, but why?

Mug o\' Tea by Jack Brodus, flickrAs many of you know we have been involved in forum and Usenet newsgroup discussions for many years, since well before I started here at Plusnet. Having this form of communication with our customers and other interested people from around the ADSL world can have both benefits and drawbacks (we like to think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks). I'm going to go through a number of different areas in this blog ranging from why we monitor forums, to the roles of the moderators and how I keep on top of issues raised. So let's start with the why. What are the reasons we participate in forum conversations? I'm not going to go into a huge amount of detail here. I suppose for me one of the main reasons we are in the forums is that they act as a barometer for how we are performing. Generally people who participate in forums are going to be the same people who tell you when things are going well, or not so well. We use this feedback to poke, prod and push from within the business to make sure things get fixed and make sure you are happy. We've been referred to as 'customer-centric' or that we are 'advocating the customer experience', but to be honest, that's not the type of phrases we use. In our opinion it's simple good customer service, if you're happy then we're happy. If you're not happy then we try to sort it out to satisfy both you and us. By keeping an eye around the forums we can often pick up generic issues before the CSC can spot a pattern and therefore ensure that the correct amount of focus and priority is given to any problems we raise on the back of this. We can also use the forums to generate discussion on trials and ideas that are being looked at. The Plusnet Usergroup (PUG) run something called PUGIT over on their site where you can suggest improvements, point out problems and bring up ideas. There are many other things we can pick up on from the forums including escalated ticket responses and identifying where the CSC need educating on certain areas.    So, which forums do we monitor? As well as our Community Site forums which are the main area we focus in, there are various external forums including (in no particular order): Thinkbroadband.com Plusnet Usergroup Moneysupermarket.com MoneySavingExpert.com Kitz.co.uk There are many, many others which we also pop into from time to time. How do you keep an eye on all those forums? Everyone has their own method, so I can't really give a definitive way. I tend to use a tabbed browser and open the main forums when I come into the office in the morning. Most forums have an ‘unread posts' link which can be very useful when you don't want to have to go through multiple topics or forums that may not have been responded to. The quieter forums I tend to check once or twice a day and have these all bookmarked so I can just quickly look over and see if there are any major issues that need addressing. I also have a whiteboard stood up behind me which has a list of the main topics currently ongoing that need our attention; this gives everyone that walks past my desk an easy way to see what the customers are talking about.   Role of the moderators. Our forums are completely moderated by a group of volunteer customers, not staff. We leave the moderation to the customers as this ensures an impartial viewpoint on issues and means that no subjects are taboo. Well, except for those that break the forum rules that is Wink In fact, this blog has come at a good time as there are currently moderator elections taking place which you can get involved in here.  I hope this blog has given you an insight into our use of forums and why we find them an extremely valuable source of information. Until next time, Chris

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