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Live Chat - Needs Fixing Please

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EnglishMohican
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Re: Live chat Just a general query

This thread concerns me as to my eyes, the SU (@Townman and @MauriceC  in this thread), appear to be acting as go-betweens forming a buffer between Plusnet Management and us mere mortals - the customers.

Going back a few years, the answers they have provided would have been written by Plusnet staff. Plusnet staff would have told us how they were working hard to correct the problem (on a Bank Holiday Monday!) and if we just waited a while, everything would come right. Bitter experience tells us that Plusnet rarely comes good on such statements.

Now "The Management" seem to have a cunning plan to use the SU as a way of distancing themselves from irate customers. Now it is the SU members who are telling us the problem was discussed with senior managers, management are taking a positive attitude to future improvements etc.

Now I wish to acknowledge that @Townman and @MauriceC provide lots of genuine help to many customers on these boards. I do not distrust the messengers, neither staff or SU. I distrust the powers at the top who have never supported the messengers before and I see no reason for them to in the future.

I do not think it is wise of SU to respond in threads that  Plusnet management are ducking.  It is The Management  who should be being held to account for their failure to provide a sensible level of customer support - to any customer - disabled or otherwise - not fellow customers.

Superuser
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Re: Live chat Just a general query

EM,

For what it's worth Maurice and I were in conversations with senior management very early this (bank holiday) morning on this topic amongst others. I think that shows commitment to addressing issues all round - SUs and senior management - holiday or not. Though we were invited to convey some tentative news, I positioned that as being inappropriate for the SUs to do in this circumstance. Be assured we have asked for an authoritative statement to be published through the normal channels.

It would be more positive if you perceive us as champions of the user's around here, rather than a buffer between customers and Plusnet staff. We are all here for the same joint purpose - to make this forum in all ways possible a better place. Yes there is a lot which is wrong - constructive dialogues is the only way to progress improvements. No amount of carping can put the milk back into the bottle for what has happened in the last few days. Lessons have been learnt, much of that recognition arose from courteous discussions of the side effects arising from the difficult choice taken. There is recognition that there needs to be more versitility in how the availability of Chat is communicated.

The Chat service is not a single entity service - it is much like an IVR phone service - the choices you make determines which agent team the chat session is directed to. That's why chat was still available for sales but not support.
rongtw
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Re: Live chat Just a general query

Well this shows where Plusnet have their priorities wrong !!!   Chat is avialable for sales not for support   :crazy2:

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Superuser
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Re: Live chat Just a general query

Different teams, different skill sets. And arguably a lower demand!!!
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Re: Live chat Just a general query

@Townman  @rongtw hit the nail on the head... Yes, Sales must be increased, to keep any company in business, in Plusnet`s case this is a priority section of the business, because of the number of people leaving needing to be replaced with new customers, due to the appalling way the management treat them, in particualar the disabled. But... it should not have been done at the expense of disabled people.( which I am sure, with your efforts, the management now understands all the implications of their ill thought out action. )

 

@EnglishMohican and many others, including myself WILL see the SU environment, or whatever it is called, as a buffer between customer complaints and staff/management... UNTIL some positive result can be shown other wise....then.. perhaps you , ( the su department) may well be seen as "champions of the consumer" ) ...  Sorry if you don`t like that, but it is a true enough assumption, based on the past 9 years record of .

Sorry again, if "carpiing on" about what has happened in the past few days  ( and last 9 years ) is annoying ... but without this "carping on"... would anything be done about it...? 

You said you were asked "to convey some tentative news"... and refused to do so, on the grounds that any news on this, and other matters too, I suspect, should come direct from the management. 

I agree with you there...

Will it also contain a sincere apology, and an admission that they were wrong to have cut off the acces via Live Chat to disabled customers... in their policy advocated by @LouisaMartin,  "open, honest, and straightforward".

"Lessons have been learnt"...... hmm... an old adage, trotted out, after every major or minor disaster by the "authority".. that should have known better in the first place.. and because "lessons have been learnt".. is a backhanded way of saying  " Give us time, and we`ll get there "... You see @Townman  it is very very difficult ( for you , and the SU , ) to appear to be "champions" as opposed to "buffers" .... 

Lessons have been learnt.... so what...unless action is taken on what has been learnt, nothing will change... for example...

. I took lessons on how to play the piano, and write music... but... I did not  proceed and put those lessons into practice, as I should have... consequently nothing has changed...

 

I cannot play the piano,... nor can I write music .....

 

Going back to the "tentative announcement"... one assumes that it will be made within the next 24 to 48 hours,... and it will be made on this forum, "Plusnet Feedback" ... as it will be exactly that... PLUSNET FEEDBACK to the customers....  ( feedback should be seen as a two - way street  ? ? ? )

 

The announcement should be made, with the aforementioned apology, to ALL customers, as a STICKY at the top of the Plusnet Feedback board, so that it remains there for all to see.

By doing that. the management will be showing their commitment to being "open, honest, and straightforward"...

It will also add KUDOS to the SU department, and gain it more respect as "champions" rather than "buffers"..

 

 

 

EnglishMohican
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Re: Live chat Just a general query

Townman,

I admire your efforts to improve things and that includes the long term assistance you provide on the technical board as well as a willingness to be a SU and try to champion the customer's lot.

My post was less about the specific problem of chat being abandoned and it's ramifications and more about the work of the SU and the danger of you all becoming tainted by excessive association with The Management and their meaningless promises.

Specifically, I read your post explaining that chat was being shut to allow extra people to be allocated to answering the phones. There is a very fine line between "explaining" and "defending" and to a large extent, it is the eye of the beholder that determines which it is. Even explaining their reasoning is something that management should do, not a representative of the customers.This is not a short term unforeseeable crisis, it is a long running Management  failure - either a failure to employ enough staff to cover both phone and chat adequately or a failure to implement a billing/ordering etc system that does its job adequately to avoid the need for excess phone and chat use.

You say I should be more positive. I was more positive 4 years ago when James(H) (head of customer services at the time I believe) on this very board stated that phone queues would be a thing of the past once the Leeds centre was opened- just give Plusnet a few weeks to get it opened and the staff trained. I was more positive when at about the same time, a new billing system was being worked on as a matter of urgency. Plusnet have given up the right to expect us to be more positive by their never ending series of "we will improve" statements followed by a total failure to spend the money to make the improvement.

I genuinely wish you the best of luck in your SU role. I think you will need it and more. I also advise great caution in how you respond to discussions such as @shutter's. You are in danger of being the Sean Spicer to Plusnet's Trump.

 

Plusnet Alumni (retired) PlusnetLiam
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Re: Live chat Just a general query

Good morning everyone

For those that don't know me, I'm Liam & I'm responsible for all things Digital here at Plusnet & I've been reading this thread with interest both over the weekend & this morning.

I'm not going to be able to comment on each point but I'd like to try & address some points in general:

  • Removing Chat as an option in the short term
    • This was taken as a last resort option & not something we were at all comfortable in doing - however, we had little option & made a call which I do stand by. We're working incredibly hard to get this turned back on over the next couple of days as we want to give customers the means to contact us however they choose so it was a very hard decision to make.
  • The way we did it
    • We've learned some lessons here - we understand that we could have communicated this better & also that the way Chat is set up today has some opportunities to ensure we don't frustrate or confuse like we have over the last week. 
  • The role of the superusers
    • I've seen a umber of references to the role of the SUs in this - trust me, the guys have certainly been passing on & ensuring the business are aware of your opinions & this thread especially. Actually, they've made a number of people recognise & read Community over the last week that maybe wouldn't usually engage with this. I hope that continues & their role is incredibly valuable to us.

In general, and to reiterate, we absolutely understand that this has caused significant frustration for our customers & we're not the type of business who want to do that. What we're working on now is to fix the root causes & ensure we don't have to make such a difficult decision again.

 

Happy to take any questions, too & I'll do my best to be as open & honest as possible. Thanks as ever for your feedback & discussion on here - as I say, incredibly valuable to us.

 

Thanks
Liam

 

rongtw
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Re: Live chat Just a general query

@PlusnetLiam  Thanks for coming here to explain a few things :thumbsup:

Sad though it has taken 2 weeks since this thread started ,

You say Removing Chat as an option in the short term ? so you can get staff on phone calls :crazy2: so what has happened to all the new staff promised over the last 8 years , and the new call center in Leeds , supposed to alleviate call wait times ?

also the cutting off 24/7 support to relive call wait times ?  if all these have occurred why the need to remove chat :crazy2:

 

What plusnet seam to forget is the amount of times they have posted here with promises of improvement that NEVER happen !

In your post you say , " we've learned some lessons here "   if your read @shutter  post from 9 years ago its taken a woefuly  long time for Plusnet to realize this

 

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Re: Live chat Just a general query

While I appreciate your posting here can I suggest that you have a perfectly good communication method - Service Status Posting - which would have met the requirements and kept at least some of us informed

Perhaps you - and this is the generic you - should look again at actually using the methods you have available and not sneaking things out

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Re: Live chat Just a general query

@PlusnetLiam    "Rats".... !      "Read All That Stuff before...    ...

 

****************************************************************************************************************************

I'm Liam & I'm responsible for all things Digital here at Plusnet

 

*******************************************************************************************************************************

 

So, from that opening introduction, and statement,... you are responsible for the state that plusnet is in, viz a viz lack of (trained) staff, to cope with customer problems...  and because of that... you did this to the DISABLED customers...

 

Not convinced by anything...  your first "explanation" gives it all away...

 

Removing Chat as an option in the short term

This was taken as a last resort option....   and then, have the temerity to qualify that decision with " not something we were at all comfortable in doing "

 

As you are responsible for "everything digital"....Why did you let it get to the stage of "last resort option" ? ? ? ?    you should have ensured, by having enough trained staff to cope, that the services in use, should remain in use..... Pay cut?  Resign ?  No, neither will happen.. 

You may not have been comfortable with making that choice...but  you still made it... and other people, ( not you ) suffered.... so how uncomfortable are you now,..... making disabled ( and able hearing people) uncomfortable with your decisions?

 

 

 another statement...

 

" We're working incredibly hard to get this turned back on over the next couple of days"

 

Why were you not working incredibly hard before this event, to ensure that it never happened in the first place... it`s not like you haven`t been told about it before ... ( my thread  of 9 years ago ).. ( have you even read it  ? ? ? ?  )  . and everything in that thread, that I have ( and others )  pointed out to Plusnet staff has been ignored, or responed to in a like manner   " Give us time...... we`ll get there ".. 

 

The way we did it

 

Was absolutely diabolical, and insulting to the disabled hard of hearing customers who help to pay your wages... 

 

The role of the superusers

Well, if the superusers group, have made some of the management and staff read the forum, which they should be doing as  a part of their daily workload, to be informed about customer complaints, then at least they have done some good... let`s hope that the new readers take on board the criticism of their actions, (including yours ) and that maybe.... just maybe...  this insulting situation and farcical set up is laid to rest within the next couple of days as you promised in your statement " ... to get this turned back on over the next couple of days "

 

 

Your closing paragraph, re-iterates what @Chris has been saying for the past 9 years on my thread....

" What we're working on now is to fix the root causes & ensure we don't have to make such a difficult decision again."

 

Except you used more words than him.......

 

What you are actually saying is exactly the same...  "Give us time,... and we`ll get there "...  

 

 

Should we believe that your version is going to be any more sincere in it`s execution ?

 

 

And finally....... 

 

"

 

Happy to take any questions, too & I'll do my best to be as open & honest as possible. Thanks as ever for your feedback & discussion on here - as I say, incredibly valuable to us.

 

"

 

 

Unfortunately,... all that you have said, has been severely tainted against you, and PlusNet... as nowhere in that posting, is any form of apology... nowhere is there any shame... in fact you appear to be proud that you have taken that decision ( along with others ) to disable a service that is vital to disable persons, who wish  to communicate with the company that is supposed to be "open, honest, and straightforward"....

 

Really, can`t see much of that in what you have written....

 

If you were "open" about it.... you would be "honest" enough to admit your error of judgement/decisions and been "straightforward"  with an apology and an admission that you were wrong to deny the service to the disabled customers.

 

 

 

 

rongtw
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Re: Live chat Just a general query

@shutter  well said :thumbsup:

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Plusnet Alumni (retired) PlusnetLiam
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Re: Live chat Just a general query

Hi @shutter

Let me take your post point by point as I think you deserve that:

So, from that opening introduction, and statement,... you are responsible for the state that plusnet is in, viz a viz lack of (trained) staff, to cope with customer problems...  and because of that... you did this to the DISABLED customers...

I'm absolutely responsible, as are all Plusnet staff, to deliver the type of experience that we're proud of & that customers expect. I'm well aware (as are many) that we're not doing that at the moment & this was a decision made to rectify that. RE the impact to those customers who are hard of hearing I completely understand & apologies that it hit those harder than most, however, we did continue to offer services such as Text Relay as ever - https://www.plus.net/help/legal/support-for-customers-with-disabilities/ - for more information.

Why were you not working incredibly hard before this event, to ensure that it never happened in the first place... it`s not like you haven`t been told about it before ... ( my thread  of 9 years ago ).. ( have you even read it  ? ? ? ?  )  . and everything in that thread, that I have ( and others )  pointed out to Plusnet staff has been ignored, or responed to in a like manner   " Give us time...... we`ll get there ".. 

I understand that the decision we made isn't satisfactory particularly to you (or us) but I would like to just say that the guys do work incredibly hard & as I said at the outset, this wasn't a decision we wanted to make but felt it best considering the situation. I've not seen your thread from 9 years ago but would like to read it - sorry, I've not noticed it in this post.

As you are responsible for "everything digital"....Why did you let it get to the stage of "last resort option" ? ? ? ?    you should have ensured, by having enough trained staff to cope, that the services in use, should remain in use..... Pay cut?  Resign ?  No, neither will happen.. 

I'm sure you'll be aware that sometimes circumstances dictate you must make a decision you're not comfortable with & like I've said, that's what we had to do. I appreciate we made mistakes in how we did it & how we communicated it & they're things we'll take away & try to ensure they don't happen again.

You may not have been comfortable with making that choice...but  you still made it... and other people, ( not you ) suffered.... so how uncomfortable are you now,..... making disabled ( and able hearing people) uncomfortable with your decisions?

I'm still uncomfortable that we're unable to fully switch the channel back on to provide the service all customers expect. 

Well, if the superusers group, have made some of the management and staff read the forum, which they should be doing as  a part of their daily workload, to be informed about customer complaints, then at least they have done some good... let`s hope that the new readers take on board the criticism of their actions, (including yours ) and that maybe.... just maybe...  this insulting situation and farcical set up is laid to rest within the next couple of days as you promised in your statement " ... to get this turned back on over the next couple of days "

 

Lots of people in Plusnet read our Community every day - it's never a bad thing that they do & I was just saying that the SUs had done a great job in vocally & directly sticking up for all the users in our conversations. We want an open & honest relationship with them & that's what they've done. Not sticking up for us, merely being a conduit & doing what we'd all expect them to.

Unfortunately,... all that you have said, has been severely tainted against you, and PlusNet... as nowhere in that posting, is any form of apology... nowhere is there any shame... in fact you appear to be proud that you have taken that decision ( along with others ) to disable a service that is vital to disable persons, who wish  to communicate with the company that is supposed to be "open, honest, and straightforward"....

I don't think that's fair. I maybe didn't use the word 'sorry' but I think the sentiment of my post was one of disappointment, certainly not one of pride, that we'd not delivered what we expect to for you guys but to reiterate - I'm sorry for the experience of the last week or so. 

Cheers
Liam

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Re: Live chat Just a general query

@PlusnetLiam  Thank you for your response... and the apologies.  What a pity it wasn`t done in the first postings... or even a week or more ago.

 

As for the rest... well... "we`ll give you time"... as the saying goes... and now you have to prove, that what you have said will happen... WILL happen.. and in the shortest possible time frame.

 

 

Here is the link to my thread started 9 years ago...

 

http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,80676.16.html

 

You may have to take it in stages... but you will find, as you progress, why, I , and others are somewhat sceptical about your promises of improvements in the service provided by Plusnet. 

 

Looking forward to seeing Live Chat back in operation before the week is out...

 

as you promised in your statement " ... to get this turned back on over the next couple of days "

 

Oh... And just in case you missed it... this kinda sums up 9 years of frustration with Plusnet answers

 

https://community.plus.net/t5/Plusnet-Feedback/Plusnet-support-contact-email-address/m-p/1471882#M78...

 

From a "newbie" customer...

 

 

 

 

EnglishMohican
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Re: Live chat Just a general query

@PlusnetLiam

Two quick questions:-

For the more simple minded of us, what do Plusnet do that is not digital?

I am just trying to scope your area of responsibility and saying it is everything digital does not help me very much. I would guess that employees are not digital, but in that case, why are you involved in taking a decision about lack of staff. If employees are digital, then there can not be much left for which you are not responsible.

Secondly, I understand your unhappiness at being put in a position where you had no choice but to make the lives of disabled people harder. What is your view on phone queue lengths of an hour or so that affects anybody trying to contact your customer services and what queue length do you think is acceptable? What is your target and when do you hope to achieve it?

 

rongtw
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Re: Live chat Just a general query

@EnglishMohican Plusnet have been trying to hit their target for phone calls for last 9 years ,,,,,,,,,,,  so dont expect it to be in the Near Future

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