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10 weeks and 1 day to upgrade to fast fibre - is this a record?

finalstraw
Newbie
Posts: 6
Registered: 25-01-2016

10 weeks and 1 day to upgrade to fast fibre - is this a record?

Following on from my previous post "7 weeks 6 days and counting to upgrade to fibre, currently no broadband at all", I thought I’d post a little update. Well it’s now just over 10 weeks since placing my fast fibre order, I’m due another progress update today and I'm still waiting to see the now almost mythical 79Mbs. As far as I can gather I am now connected to fibre but 12Mbs would be nice and 7 - 10 is a bit more realistic. At least I should be thankful I'm actually connected again. I know it’s possible as one of the engineers confirmed my household wiring is fine and he was getting 80Mbs at the box my line connects to on the pole across the road. Sadly my line diverts off into the wilderness at that point rather than connect to where it logically should do.
As always the Plusnet support staff have been very nice and I'm now on first name terms with several of them although I still don't think I've ever managed to speak to an actual manager - possibly one but I'm now being dealt with by a different department. I make typically at least two phone calls to Plusnet every week and on occasion several a day chasing particular updates. I can happily report that one or two calls have got through within a few minutes although 10-15 minutes is more typical. I did have a particularly bad spell around mid to end of December when it was at least 15 minutes to get through and then another 15 minutes for every transfer to a different department. Sadly this resulted in call times of around an hour most days. Unfortunately, being on hold for such long periods sometimes resulted in support staff not being to get through to me as I was always on hold waiting to speak to them.
I met my second engineer early last week who said basically the same as the first engineer (18th Jan) which was that I’m routed via the wrong cabinet and need to be re-routed to the cabinet just around the corner rather than the one miles away. There was apparently another engineer scheduled for the 15th Dec who could have picked the issue up even earlier but I never met him as he was cancelled. Sadly nobody told me although It may be that he wasn’t really needed as I was told we were incorrectly routed shortly after that anyway (which the two subsequent engineers have since confirmed). I believe our routing has now changed at least once since the start of this little adventure but unfortunately it just resulted in no broadband at all for a few days and then a period of a week or more around Xmas/New Year when we barely got dial-up speeds and continuously dropped connections. So at least I know people have been doing something to the line - albeit not what needed to be done.
Obviously I've been getting rather frustrated at times and the very nice Plusnet staff have offered all sorts of incentives to try and cheer me up.  A rather fundamental one was the promise of a partial refund since I've been charged for the fast fibre ever since Plusnet thought it should be working way back in mid December. I can see from my bank account this morning that I’m still being charged the full amount for 78Mb fibre despite not receiving it and I still can’t see any sign of a refund. To be fair, when I pointed out last week that the promised refund was absent I was told that it would all be sorted out once they get me connected properly to fast fibre. At current rate of progress I suppose it should ultimately be a nice lump sum to put towards our summer holiday - so I’m treating it as a sort of savings account in the meantime.
Feedback for Plusnet: Since that’s what this thread is all about
Staff: All the front line staff that I’ve spoken to have been great. As for the management, I wouldn’t know but someone certainly needs to sort out the Plusnet processes and procedures.
Service Levels: Are usually less than 15 minutes to get through which is poor but sort of acceptable. What’s not acceptable is that you can’t dial or route directly to the team you need and therefore suffer multiple 15 minute waits as you transfer through to the correct team, which is appalling – sort it out!
Processes: Where do I start?
a) You desperately need a process that tracks how long an uncompleted customer order is in your system. You need to automatically flag any order that takes over a certain time and then apply suitable dedicated resources to fast track it and complete it.
b) In conjunction with the above, you need a system where once a long delay is identified and things are escalated, they stay escalated. One of the key issues with my upgrade is that it’s just gone from team to team and goes back to the default level of service whenever a fix is assumed to have worked. So as soon as the issue is passed on to the next team or fails the next attempted solution then it’s back to the usual 48hr or 5 day response times -  which is mainly why it’s taken two and a half months and counting and still not resolved.
c) It’s too hard to complain. Your complaints process is patently designed to make it hard to lodge a proper complaint. I’ve still not found a way to complain directly to a manager – believe me I’ve tried. After two and a half months I should have had a senior manager calling me.
d) Openreach. The relationship between Plusnet and Openreach patently has serious communication problems. These need to be resolved, the delays are ridiculous and there also appear to be issues with orders and instructions between the two getting stuck in the system, ignored or not applied correctly.
e) Retention: I’ve been offered all sorts of incentives to not give up and leave Plusnet throughout the upgrade process. All very commendable but if you say you’re going to refund the difference for a service not provided, then do it!!! Don’t wait for the customer to notice that it hasn’t happened and then fob them off by saying you’ll sort it all out when the situation is finally resolved.
But hey, what do I know about how Plusnet should run a business. Well in the distant past I used to supervise an extremely busy call centre. After that I was a journalist (editor), and most recently with a company bigger than General Motors, first in retention, then in compliance, and finally as a brand comms consultant. So I’ve seen a fair few issues with process failings and communication issues. The issues I’ve had so far with Plusnet are by no means unusual but are certainly an order of magnitude worse than I've ever experienced elsewhere.
Feedback for other Customers:
Call them. The Plusnet systems don’t always seem able to identify whether you’re getting what you’ve ordered or paid for. So you’ll just get billed anyway whether the upgrade was successful or not. Check whether your speeds are what they should be and call if they’re not, otherwise they may have no idea.
Persevere: When they tell you it will all be sorted on a certain date, or even tell you it has all been sorted, check again. And keep calling until it’s fixed.
Keep on top of it: When you get sent texts or emails telling you “Question ********** has been updated” go online (if you can) and read it. My issue has so far generated a huge number of questions and it’s been necessary to keep on top of them myself and point out their existence and a brief summary of the history when calling in. Otherwise the support staff might not be fully up to speed on what’s going on or has already happened. In my case Plusnet seem to have been going around in a loop trying the same things again and again at times.
Keep a record: Keep note of everything that’s happened just in case you ultimately need to take things further.
2 REPLIES
runhare
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 512
Thanks: 47
Fixes: 1
Registered: 09-10-2007

Re: 10 weeks and 1 day to upgrade to fast fibre - is this a record?

All good points and I agree with every one of them. Your experience has been mirrored many times by myself and others I assist. The amazing thing is that I feel PN are still the best of a very bad bunch. yes their CS standards are lacking and their internal systems need improvement, but the point is very few providers can achieve a better level of service given the price they charge. The entire ISP industry is way behind in all these areas and needs a thorough shake up. But at the end of the day we will have to wait a long time before service standards and accountabilty improve while there is no real regulation in place.
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 11,257
Thanks: 2,684
Fixes: 22
Registered: 22-08-2007

Re: 10 weeks and 1 day to upgrade to fast fibre - is this a record?

The real issue here is that the OP would not have any of these issues if BTOR had done a proper job in the first place.
Until the rotten core of BTOR is sorted, no ISP stands much chance of doing better on complex issues such as this.