cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Disastrous move - crossed lines, random cancellations, excessive phone wait time

greenway
Newbie
Posts: 6
Registered: 13-04-2015

Disastrous move - crossed lines, random cancellations, excessive phone wait time

How's our first month with Plusnet gone? Allow me to summarise:
Shortly after we signed up, the order was randomly cancelled. No one could tell us why or by whom.
Order was replaced, then a week ago, email out of the blue:
Quote
"You've cancelled so you owe us about £147".

Cancellation cancelled.
A few days later, again:
Quote
"You've cancelled so you owe us about £147" (again).

Cancellation cancelled again, but at my request, Plusnet gave me more info:
Quote
I'm sorry that TalkTalk are trying to take your line over.
I have now cancelled their request to take over our line...

Understandably, I phoned TalkTalk and had a really good growl. "How dare they... ISPA... OFCOM... raaaaar!" during which they maintained their innocence.
This morning, we had a large phone bill. An hour later, we'd deduced that Openreach had clipped our line onto the wrong pair at the exchange, and in the process cut off a poor (and angry) customer whose incoming phone line has been dead for two weeks and whose outgoing calls have been going onto our bill.
Turns out it wasn't TalkTalk trying to get their line back after all, but the other customer's provider, The Phone Coop. It would have been handy to have known that.
To cap it all, right at the beginning someone at Plusnet said "you should go for a business package - you get answered much quicker".
In desperation to correct some wrong info in a ticket, I tried ringing the business support number. I waited twice as long as residential (7 mins residential vs 13 mins business)! See graph below.
I'm not having a good feeling about this? Even if we put our major problem down to Openreach, there's still the long call queues (always over 12 mins, sometimes 20 which will be affecting everyone) and mistaken info.  What went wrong? What happened to the award winning top rated Plusnet? You should be better than "only just better than TalkTalk".
6 REPLIES
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 11,273
Thanks: 2,715
Fixes: 22
Registered: 22-08-2007

Re: Disastrous move - crossed lines, random cancellations, excessive phone wait time

Hi Greenway,
A warm welcome to the forums and to PlusNet.  Clearly you need PlusNet's CRT staff to respond to the BTOR issues and the order processing issues.  Regrettably sometimes wires can get crossed (sorry for the pun) and all hell does break loose.  One of the big issues with crossed lines, both physically and logically (in BTOR's databases) is that these are unusual situations and can be difficult for the RETAILER provider to sort out.
The retail provider (PlusNet etc) have to manage these issues through BT Wholesale who in turn deal with BT Openreach all via Indian call centres.  Whilst understandably you don't really care and just want it sorted, some insight can be helpful.  Huh
As for the call waiting times, reread the screen shot carefully - the residential stats do not give you the CURRENT waiting time, only the last 24 hour average, which includes the "dead" hours between 23:00 and 08:00.
When I also had a business service, I very rarely waited more than 2 minutes for the call to be answered and the front line guys were excellent.  I note that the graph is from the middle of MONDAY morning which is peak time, as this will be when business discovering weekend arising issues will be on the phone chasing those issue.
Hope that your issue is soon resolved.
greenway
Newbie
Posts: 6
Registered: 13-04-2015

Re: Disastrous move - crossed lines, random cancellations, excessive phone wait time

Thanks - the crossed line is ongoing, but here are some things I noted relating to your reply:
Quote from: Townman
As for the call waiting times, reread the screen shot carefully - the residential stats do not give you the CURRENT waiting time, only the last 24 hour average,

You have to admit, it is confusingly worded:
Call stats are updated every 15 minutes and display the average figure over this period.
but also
Average answer time today
OK, so if the graph is a 15 minute average, and "today" means the last 24 hour average as you are saying, to me that means two more things:
An "average" across time is just that, not a highly variable thing. In other words, right now, the 24 hour average is 3 minutes, 2 hours ago it was about 13 minutes.
Quote from: Townman
which includes the "dead" hours between 23:00 and 08:00.

In that case, isn't that even worse - if the AVERAGE over 24 hours includes 9 hours of dead time, then those stats are even worse!
Quote from: Townman
When I also had a business service, I very rarely waited more than 2 minutes for the call to be answered and the front line guys were excellent.  I note that the graph is from the middle of MONDAY morning which is peak time, as this will be when business discovering weekend arising issues will be on the phone chasing those issue.

OK - see attached. 11:50 AM yesterday (Wed) - 12 minutes for business, 7 minutes for residential.
I mean, it's not like this is the first Monday or Wednesday they have ever experienced - I've been a residential Plusnet customer with a different account for 3 years now, and I cannot remember a time in the last 2 years when I've waited less than 15 minutes during the day.
Yes, they're great when you get through, but rather than bribing in new customers with £100 cashbacks, why not spend the money to treat existing customers better?
And have the "Longest call waiting now" stats ALWAYS been "Currently unavailable". If it's averaging over 24 hours, as you say, then isn't the actual REAL longest call waiting now, the most important bit?
As for fix time: Target: 24 hours. Actual: 37 hours. That's 50% over the target. There may be times when it's within target, but I can't remember seeing those times.
Why not provide some useful info on hold? If the system knows that the hold time is 15 mins+, why not have a ten minute loop of tips for staying safe?
Why does the system say "approaching 15 mins" when it's actually over 20 mins? As for the music on hold - I know exactly the point at which "Don't you want me, baby" cuts out early and "Simply irresistible" kicks in. Those songs are now like trigger sounds for me! I swear I'll hear it on a jukebox one day and go postal!
Other frustrations this week:
Cannot re-open a ticket once closed, have to keep referring to "the other ticket number..."
Tried to call in to urgently correct an error on a ticket, was told I had to do it, it couldn't be pushed forward, and  "if we at Plusnet update a ticket it pushes it to the back of the queue".
Sigh.
greenway
Newbie
Posts: 6
Registered: 13-04-2015

Re: Disastrous move - crossed lines, random cancellations, excessive phone wait time

So, having NOT done what Plusnet absolutely promised would be done by 5pm yesterday (ie: 24 hours max from Friday at 5pm) I thought I'd log in.
Password not accepted, tried to reset password, checked "status" to make sure everything was OK, struggled with password again, gave up, phone up to find a pre-recorded automated message telling me that the internal systems were down and will be affecting the website.
Would it have been too much of a struggle to have put this on the login/status page? I guess so...
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 11,273
Thanks: 2,715
Fixes: 22
Registered: 22-08-2007

Re: Disastrous move - crossed lines, random cancellations, excessive phone wait time

Quote from: greenway
Would it have been too much of a struggle to have put this on the login/status page? I guess so...

In principle, not an unreasonable thought, however there is a strong possibility that the servers are not accessible due to whatever the current problem is - at present plus.net is not accessible.
The nature of high-volume web platform implementations can make on-the-fly changes less than simple as the service can be distributed across a number of platforms requiring any change (no matter how minor) to need to go through a complex release process.
The principle though is a good one - if the log one page (if you can reach it) had by default a "current stats" then doing what you suggest might be feasible in the future.
SpendLessTime
Aspiring Hero
Posts: 2,441
Thanks: 623
Fixes: 56
Registered: 21-09-2009

Re: Disastrous move - crossed lines, random cancellations, excessive phone wait time

High availability websites should be set-up to cope with losing the website and have an automated error page once the main web site becomes unavailable or just plain too slow. The load balancers should have a static page on them to be used in these cases and all without human intervention.
Of course, this needs a good design, robust infrastructure and money to do it. Been there, done it, got the t-shirt.
Hopefully the issue today will be addressed so to avoid this again in the future as that is the key lesson to take from any failure.
greenway
Newbie
Posts: 6
Registered: 13-04-2015

Re: Disastrous move - crossed lines, random cancellations, excessive phone wait time

Quote from: georgelnx
Of course, this needs a good design, robust infrastructure and money to do it. Been there, done it, got the t-shirt.

Or a cheap offsite page with a simple cached heartbeat pinging Plusnet's network?
Then even if the whole entire Plusnet infrastructure was down, someone with a 3g phone/dongle can update the off-site status page.
digitalocean droplet: £3/month + nginx/varnish cache:free+ Cloudflare CDN: Free = easily serve several thousand concurrent hits. Loads of "how to" guides for this. Not a lot of money.