Who Are We?
12-10-2007 2:08 AM
Today we are asking - Who are PlusNet? It isn't a rhetorical question either, and we would like everyone to help us answer it. Your contribution will help steer our business at what is a key point in the history of PlusNet.
The PlusNet MissionLooking back over the last six months, anyone working at PlusNet would tell you that it is easier to identify the things that have changed rather than the things that are still the same. We've had a tough time during the last couple of years, and our recent period of success and stability feels distant from where we found ourselves as an independent public company in a difficult market. Although we have all been frustrated by the continued issues with email and some of our additional services, I think most people appreciate the change that has occurred to put us back on the right path. The Broadband ISP market is completely different now to when PlusNet first gained recognition for bundling great value, high quality service in a low cost way. We can't hark back to those previous successes or strategies though, as they have been replicated in better ways by many others now. We are now doing everything we can to bring back the PlusNet that our customers knew and loved, and that is what we are asking you to help us with in response to this post. We believe there is strong demand for something different and much better than the mass market retail Broadband sellers and we firmly believe there is a place for a quality supplier like PlusNet to exist. During the past few weeks we have spent a lot of time inside the company debating just what that place is and how we should describe it. Being PlusNet, that hasn't been a discussion amongst managers, rather we've had company wide discussion and our internal forums have been filled with all manner of contributions from staff. That's good, we know what our staff think, but (being PlusNet) we felt we wanted to involve our customers in the conversation too. As a customer of our service and a member of our community, we believe you have as much right to participate in this process as the rest of us. What we’ve decided we want to start off with is a clear statement to describe who we are, what we stand for and what makes us different (We know - the mention of things like vision and mission statements worries plenty of us too!). We don’t want that to be the usual wishy washy stuff that dull corporations come out with, although our first credible attempt was this:
“To be the best value for money provider of broadband internet access in the UK, renowned for our excellent customer service and community approach”Yep! Not much reflection later we asked ourselves the same thing you probably just did – What does that mean – What is ‘value’? What's so different there? So, we rejected that and opened the flood gates to any and all suggestions. I’m not going to share every reply (This is long enough already), but below are some choice cuts of the feedback before we decided to open up the conversation to customers.
What do we stand for (Or what do we aim for)...
To be the industry leading referral based ISP, via excellence in delivery of customer support and community focus through people values and intelligent systems. ---- Pretty much sums it up... ---- "I disagree, slightly. What we stand for does not equal Mission Statement. Mission Statement is what we aim for (to to remain there if we get there). What we stand for explains how we get there, and that means Cornerstones (People Values)." -- People values can also apply to how we approach our customers, thus giving a higher level of customer service. ---- Looking at this from how it's written on the side of police cars...... PlusNet Honesty, Truth, Delivery ---- "Remembered a popular saying" Summing up all the above: What do we stand for? Of the customers,by the customers, for the Customers OF The Customers: We as a staff think like customers.So we are one amongst them, which impacts our delivery. By the Customers: Community site is a lot about understanding the customers and what they expect from us. So in a way, we are directly driven by the the customers For the Customers: Our staff and the systems are designed for providing quality service for the customers." ---- "A supplier of an affordable, customer focused service, to as wide an customer base as possible." ---- > > What we stand for does not equal Mission Statement. Mission Statement is what we aim for Just to be clear a mission statement should reflect what we stand for. The vision statement of a company should reflect what we aim for. I have been advised in the past that either of these should be no longer than 15 words - anything longer is unlikely to be succinct enough to be memorable. ---- To me, PlusNet has always been and continues to be: "Open and Honest + Quality of Experience + Automated Self Service + Value for Money + Innovative Competitive Products = PlusNet " ---- "My personal opinion is that this is something I wouldn't hide from customers either, and that I would have the debate in the community site. I'm not sure if everyone else is feeling that brave about being so open, but I think healthy debate for insightful feedback is absolutely essential. After all, irony of ironies, how can we claim to be customer focussed if we don't let them have input into our mission statement? " ---- "My shortest efforts. The 15 word rule rule seems a little arbitrary. Mission statement as a haiku anyone? Vision (19/31 words) A medium-sized, agile, web-centric business can out-compete all others for the combination of service level, product innovation and price point. We are the logical conclusion of this vision in the UK ISP space. Mission (17 words) Harness disruptive web technologies, culture and staff empowerment to bring boutique levels of service to a wider market. " ---- Oh, go on then (I think this is a haiku, it's been a while) Great-value broadband Top class customer service Open and honest ---- SMART Business, SMART People, SMART Customers ---- i love the word 'agile' -think thats spot on. Not so sure about smart because its a word with so many different conotations to it. i.e. you can debate how smart someone is. If your agile you move fast, flexible. full stop. ---- I like where it's going with the SMART statement (it was baz that posted it wasn't it?). There's something really catchy about it and it gets my vote as a strapline at least. ---- PlusNet - making the most of our people's dexterity in developing customer relations whilst harnessing high performance teams to adapt to market changes. ---- "Engaging our community to deliver webcentric services tailored to our customers." Ew... I said 'webcentric'... I'm going to go wash now... I definitely think that 'community' is what sets us aside from other ISPs, especially the big players. ---- > Back on topic, I like where we were going with the SMART statement. There's something really catchy about it and it gets my vote as a strapline at least. Well it inspired me S imple & uncomplicated where needed M anageable internet & phone accounts A ffordable cost to meet the customer needs R eactive to new technologies T ransient and ever changing to best meet customer expectation. Prob a bit sad looking and seem like i have too much time on my hands but hey, have to get my creative tendencies out somewhere. ---- > > Back on topic, I like where baz is going with the SMART statement (it was baz that posted it wasn't it?). There's something really catchy about it and it gets my vote as a strapline at least. > For me, it reminds me of my previous workplace where everything needed to be: S pecific M easurable A chievable R ealistic T argets So you could get most things done if you couldn't attribute the above to the task/project etc. ---- I've thought too long on this now.. time to post something two stabs: - Through understanding and transparency we deliver excellence in customer service. - Through community and knowledge management we listen and inform. - Through teamwork we deliver quality services. (was tempted to swapout empathy with understanding in the above..) stab two: To be the UK's leading ISP holding customer experience and transparent communication as central to its community ethos. ----- Key words for me when drafting this were (first 5 face out, second 5 face in): Empathy Knowledge/Share Transparency Quality Delivery Strategy Communication Teamwork Ownership Accountability old timers will be only too familiar with the last 5 (i.e. 'how' we deliver, using Workplace) ---- Reply This is all great stuff -it's so enthusing to see this many people with creative expressions of their view on what we stand for / mission statements and strategic visions... ...Especially when you realise that they are all quite varied and yet on the whole compliment each other, rather than being contradictory! Customer contribution will be providing icing atop the proverbial cake, Brilliant! ---- PlusNet - Do or Die ---- How about this for a challenging vision: "To become the ISP of choice on The Register" Let's not tie our bonuses to that one though ... ---- > How about this for a challenging vision: > > "To become the ISP of choice on The Register" > Challenging? I think I'd have more success of flying by leaping off a building and flapping my arms. ---- Mission statement - what we stand for "Open and honest relationships that enable us to deliver our vision." Vision statement - what we aim for "To deliver stable and profitable networked services that are driven transparently by our community." ---- Just found this http://www.dilbert.com/comics/dilbert/games/career/bin/ms.cgi - Gives us a list of what to avoid --------- I quite liked the Haiku idea of boiling it all down. But I decided to take it further, IMO the question of what makes Plusnet Plusnet could be boiled down to one word. Responsive ---- Example mission statement: Plusnet will be recognised as the most progressive ISP. We will offer our customers fast reliable cost effective broadband services. ---- We should think, and then we should take actions. Not the other way around - and this is all what should define our way to successful domination in our market segment. Any vision statements, mission statements and so on are simply not necessary for me This may be cultural thing, as in Easter Europe you won't get too much of this - we're more focused on the solutions than on the theory. Which may or may not be a good thing, it's just different, so excuse me ----So, that’s a flavour of the discussion so far (With a couple of comments that were added by PUG too). I have done my best to represent the debate although did some liberal editing to keep things concise. I'm sure you can see we haven't finished yet, and I expect the discussions to be carried on by all of the participants involved so far once this is in the community forums. Also, Maybe BT’s mission statement and vision might provide food for thought:
Vision: to be dedicated to helping customers thrive in a changing world. Mission: to become the leader in the delivery of converged networked services.We should be clear that we aren't looking for a a company motto as such (Not the BBC's Nation shall speak unto Nation), and we certainly don't want this to be an advertising slogan either. To help put this in context, it might be good for readers to understand the sort of thing we are actually planning now and a bit about our future strategy. The biggest thing that probably sums up where we want to be is our realisation that we need to stop having eyes bigger than our bellies! There are so many opportunities we could take and services we could deliver, but realistically for many things we once supplied there are now specialist suppliers who can provide better options to our customers. There is no advantage to anyone if we offer something that someone else can do better. What we do well is provide a Broadband connection with customer service to support it that is second to none. We are widely recognised for our ability to automate tasks and keep costs low while maintaining quality. That means we can provide our service at a better price than other suppliers (At least, the ones working with sustainable long term business plans). For many of our current non broadband services however, we recognise that we are no longer best placed to deliver these things to customers. A good example would be things like our Voip offering (Broadband Phone) and web hosting services. Since the launch of Voip we have struggled to deliver a reliable service, and as a result have lost customers who would otherwise have been very happy with our broadband product. We haven't been able to keep up with the innovations people want as the technology has developed and, overall this has become a negative point for PlusNet. As such, instead of keeping on trying to do something we know we can't do that well, we will shortly be announcing a partnership for Broadband phone with a highly respected supplier in the field. This will deliver a PlusNet branded Voip service, still controlled from the PlusNet member centre, but which will have technology and service management from a specialist team working on our behalf. We think this will provide a much better customer experience and given the competitiveness of the packages we will announce, will become an attraction to our Broadband service without us having to worry about the day to day operation. We are working on other deals too, all with companies who we see as 'best in class' in their fields. Expect to hear more news in the coming months about these arrangements, but be very sure that we are only looking at partnerships that will really benefit our customers and that are with well known and respected businesses who can show they understand us and our customers. So, please do let us have your thoughts, and help us build a PlusNet ready for another 10 years. You can find the discussion in this Community Site thread. And finally, not that we want to bribe anyone, but I've secured a couple of free years broadband (Which is really a £14.99 a month discount voucher) to give away to the best contributions that come from our community. Cheers, Ian