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Difficulty reporting a telephone fault

Community Veteran
Posts: 4,890
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Registered: ‎14-07-2009

Difficulty reporting a telephone fault

I had a telephone fault the other day, fortunately one that cleared up 'spontaneously' (see http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,128656.0.html if you are interested).  I was worried at the time because I need my landline so I tried to report the fault:
I found the page here http://www.plus.net/support/phone/troubleshooting.shtml ; , followed the instructions to check my equipment then tried the link 'please contact our Support Team' which took me to the page here.  I'm an existing residential customer so I called  0800 432 0200.
The automatic system gave me two options so I selected option 2 for technical support.  There followed a message about how to find my wireless key then a message that I was in a 15 minute queue.  Whilst waiting for an answer I attempted the online reporting system but the implication of the message there was that my report would not even be read for a couple of days until it reached the front of the queue!
My feedback is that I would like to see a means of accelerated reporting of a telephone fault that does not place you in the same queue as people unable to find their wireless key.  If I could have got through to a Plusnet operative they could have established in seconds that my line was dead and at least set the wheels in motion to do something about it.   
12 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,460
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Registered: ‎15-06-2007

Re: Difficulty reporting a telephone fault

I would support that suggestion
noname
Grafter
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎13-06-2014

Re: Difficulty reporting a telephone fault

ditto
Superuser
Superuser
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Registered: ‎22-08-2007

Re: Difficulty reporting a telephone fault

The "other end" of this suggestion is that there would need to be a specialist team to deal with such calls.  That rather implies a tighter bottle neck or staff twiddling their fingers whilst there are no phone line fault calls waiting.
From personal experience of delivering end user support, having a larger number of multi skilled staff capable of handling a wide spectrum of issues is more productive, in that anyone at first line should be able to take a first pass at nearly any problem.  I was very impressed when 10 days ago i phoned up (13:30) to report total loss of my phone line (severed under water cable).  The call was answered in 4 minutes and the support guy was "on top" of the issue and required action more or less as i said the words about what was wrong.
I calked in off my mobile and noted that the voice prompt system was different to what I'm used to - it asked for my service landline number.  I'm wondering if by the time the call had got put in front of the CS rep a line check had already been performed.  Intelligent system process - call is coming from a non-service CLI - get service number - wonder if there is a line fault - do background check before passing to agent - (now may be getting a bit far fetched) fault found so give call priority for multi skilled service agent pick up!  Cheesy
Individual experience around here is just that, individual and clearly not universal - i was impressed by my experience; the chalkenge is to make that experience universal throughout the day, every day.
Kevin
Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎14-07-2009

Re: Difficulty reporting a telephone fault

So at the moment a member of support staff can deal with any query but just dealing with phone faults requires a specialised team?  That makes no sense, Kevin.  And you don't need staff twiddling their thumbs, just a system that assigns the calls waiting in the phone fault queue to staff as they become available at the expense of bumping those waiting in the general tech. support queue.  It would not surprise me if something similar is already done for business support.
The point is, this would not be necessary if queues were reliably short but that isn't often the case at present.  I wanted to check that I had not missed an option in the automated phone system so called the support number at around 6am this morning to be told that the waiting time was 30 minutes  You were lucky that your call was answered in four minutes.  It aint necessarily so and if you had had to wait 30 minutes you might feel differently. 
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 12,772
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Registered: ‎22-08-2007

Re: Difficulty reporting a telephone fault

RR!
What I sought to suggest, is that if you want a particular type of call to be answered quicker than other calls there needs to be specialist resources waiting to respond to such calls, for there to be the capacity to answer them quicker than they would be in the general pool.  If you want a particular type of call to be given priority within a single operation over others then there needs to be...
1. A means of identifying such calls from others in the pool
2. A means of allocating such calls to specific staff or allowing staff to see the nature of pending calls before picking up
3. Staff allocated to priority pick up by whatever means
4. An institutional acceptance that calls of some types will be answered ahead of other types of call which may have been waiting longer
5. An acceptance from users that the support organisation at the behest of other users considers your issue to be of less concern and importance than other calls and the priority to have your call answered may be progressively reduced during your call
2 is likely to lead to cherry picking of calls
5 is really going to pee other callers off big time - having joined the queue then I do not expect others to be allowed to push in front of me unless we are talking about medical emergencies in an A&E department.  A dead phone line is a gross inconvenience (especially if your mobile service goes out at the same time as did mine) but a few more minutes wait is nothing compared to the days it takes to get BTOR out to do fixes.
If we want improvement in this area (or indeed any area of this part of the service supply) it should be within BTOR's management domain.  BTOR's equipment knows when a line is down - why should a user or a CP / ISP have to raise a fault report at all?  On the ADSL / FTTC side the DLM has all of the line stats / error rates etc, so why when they have passed a given threshold is there not within BTOR automated actions raised for investigation?  If BTOR did a professional job of managing and monitoring THEIR infrastructure call wait times on PN's support desk would be dramatically better overnight.
I agree that my experience is better than most - I did say it is not universal, but that it needs to be.  I just do not think that fast tracking one type of call over / to the detriment of others is the way to go.  Elimination of the need to phone up in the first place is what is required.
Automated non-intrusive line tests every N hours cannot be beyond the wit of man and machine.  Checking for Q PPP Session drops / synch drops in (say) 24 hours could also be considered as a signal of an issues requiring investigation if not necessarily action.  And finally a means of reporting phone fault on line which leads to an issues being lodged with and promptly acted upon by the faults team would be helpful.
Getting the right action promptly though a route which avoids human contact is the way forwards.
Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎14-07-2009

Re: Difficulty reporting a telephone fault

Townman/Kevin.  I'm sure everything I am seeking can be done by an automated phone system (and small mods to the on-line fault reporting system).  And all your objections to it could be applied equally to the act of making a distinction between business and domestic customers.  
Yes, the lower priority calls will have to wait a little longer but they won't be aware of this and I doubt that it will have much impact until there is a big cable cut (like you experienced recently) and lots of customers are cut-off at the same time.  I think 'no service' is the telecoms analogue of a medical emergency in A&E and should be treated with a higher priority  
That's not to say that ideally BTOR should not be much more proactive or that Plusnet should have more technical support staff and shorter queues.  But I think changes are needed now to deal with current circumstances.  
Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Re: Difficulty reporting a telephone fault

If I have a phone fault I call 0800 800 151. It's answered very quickly and usually if the problem is confirmed an engineer is booked during the same call. I can also get free diversion of incoming calls to my mobile if it's totally down.
When Plusnet can come near offering the same level of service as their owners I'll consider swapping!
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,890
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Registered: ‎14-07-2009

Re: Difficulty reporting a telephone fault

My experience of the BT phone-fault system that Jelv describes is that I dialled (0800 800) 151 and got through to an automated system that tested the line and, more often than not, told me there isn't a fault.  However if I held the line it was indeed answered quickly, I persuaded the operator there was indeed a fault and it was passed to BTOR.  BT do make a clear distinction between telephone and broadband problems and I suspect that enables them to offer a better service than Plusnet's one-number-fits-all system, in the initial stages at least.  Of course that applies because Plusnet cannot generally answer calls promptly at the moment.
There's a good example of Plusnet's current system failing here: http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,128706.0.html ;  
Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎15-06-2007

Re: Difficulty reporting a telephone fault

another example of why they need to do something http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,128895.0.html
tazmaniandevil
Grafter
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Re: Difficulty reporting a telephone fault

I think the entire support of line faults needs to be addressed across the board. I had a line fault which was caused during my switch to Sky and was only addressed following my subsequent switch to Plusnet.
What I was told by the BTOR engineer was the automated line test is simply the equivalent of a network ping - to ensure there is equipment responding on the line. This is all fine and fair enough, but when your line is connected to several pieces of equipment in the exchange, which should have been removed if a former supplier had raised a cease order like they were supposed to...........
The point is, that in my 3 months or so with Sky, they refused to accept my telephone was not working properly because, "the line test passed successfully."
Strangely, when my line speed was being tested by Plusnet, the fault was discovered, an engineer was booked, and I was informed I had a fault on my line that I hadn't even reported.
Engineer turned up on a Saturday afternoon and the fault that Sky claimed did not exist was fixed.
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,890
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Registered: ‎14-07-2009

Re: Difficulty reporting a telephone fault

I think the reliability of automated line tests is a completely different topic.  And well done to Plusnet for getting something done where Sky failed.  But the thing is, even in these days of ubiquitous mobile phones, some of us still use the land-line and are seriously inconvenienced if it is out of action.  Yet Plusnet don't respond more urgently to such faults than they do to any other contact which means they can be slow to get going and call out the engineer when you need one.
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,722
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Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Re: Difficulty reporting a telephone fault

What you have to remember is that fault diagnosis software is created by some of the cleverest software engineers on the planet. Anyone that can write software that will function perfectly without any issues on equipment and/or lines that are patently broken has got to be really clever!
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)