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Radical Shakeup

Steve
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 6,802
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Registered: 13-07-2009

Radical Shakeup

I think Plusnet needs to go back Into BETA and get tested by GOOD beta testers Given how a company of 13 YRS experience customers still find a lot of niggles, Anyone agree?
Edit correction
If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
27 REPLIES
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 13,263
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Registered: 27-04-2007

Re: Radical Shakeup

Aren't all companies susceptible to niggles?
Look at Apple for example, a company that's been around for 34+ years now and the issues with the Iphone v.4
At the end of the day we are more open and vocal about how we deal with such things compared to most companies.
It all comes down to how these issues are dealt with, I'd like to ask the question, from what you can see how do you think we deal with them?
Adam.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team
Steve
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Re: Radical Shakeup

Sorry Adam I am not having a go but you raise a good question, Anyone?
If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
TicnTac
Grafter
Posts: 426
Registered: 03-08-2010

Re: Radical Shakeup

BETA testing is fun, but really only put out when who ever does put it out doesn't want any negative comments or support hassle as they can always use the BETA excuse  Grin
Adam, apples will always have niggles, or should that be nibbles? They belong in fruit bowls, or pies!  Grin
However, I do agree, I think Plusnet should turn everything off, hit every hard reset button there is, unplug everything connected to everything and start bit by bit from the very start, could be great fun to BETA test it  Grin
However I think such an established cheap value company like Plusnet will have niggles, and problems and teething issues whenever BT equipment is used, people use the Internet, and web developers add or take things away on site, it's why we pay peanuts for the service we get, and only get the odd Adam, Mand, Matt, Ben etc. who is really able to help and get things sorted, if the whole of the Plusnet support team were half as good as the Digital Care Team, then and only then will things improve and get better, and there would be no need for BETA testing.
However if there is something very new then I'm sure Plusnet wouldn't mind constructive feedback, or a small group of folk having a play before whatever it is gets rolled right out  Undecided or maybe not  Undecided It is BT at the end of the day, BETA Telecommunications?  Grin
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 13,263
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Registered: 27-04-2007

Re: Radical Shakeup

Hey all,
No worries Steve, I think you know me well enough to know that I'm not being defensive, never thought you were having a pop I just think that sometimes people miss the point that  as we're so open about how we do things it will sometimes look like we have more problems than some of our competitors.

Ticntac,
Quote
However if there is something very new then I'm sure Plusnet wouldn't mind constructive feedback

Yes we do and we always welcome it.
Quote
or a small group of folk having a play before whatever it is gets rolled right out

We do actually have a Plusnet usergroup that helps out with this, http://usergroup.plus.net/
We usually post details on their forum a  few days prior to a new project or product being rolled out, we then use their feedback to help with any related FAQs for this site or if anything is badly wrong is flagged we are sometimes able to make changes prior to rollout.

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team
Steve
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Re: Radical Shakeup

Quote from: _Adam_Walker_
Aren't all companies susceptible to niggles?  Yes good point they are Indeed.

I'd like to ask the question, from what you can see how do you think we deal with them? From what I see you deal with them very well and promptly when they are discovered
Hey guys, I've took the time to answer your questions Adam In the above quote. Also from Adam....I just think that sometimes people miss the point that  as we're so open about how we do things it will sometimes look like we have more problems than some of our competitors. That's another good point that I do agree with, I never looked At It that way.
If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
carrot63
Grafter
Posts: 599
Registered: 12-07-2007

Re: Radical Shakeup

Quote from: _Adam_Walker_
Aren't all companies susceptible to niggles?
Look at Apple for example, a company that's been around for 34+ years now and the issues with the Iphone v.4

@Adam,
Niggles?Huh
I think Apple were a really, really bad choice to compare against, in both value proposition and service delivered. They had a very bad hair day with the iPhone 4 and previously with cracks appearing in the casing of the Cube of 10 years ago - there are of course many many other examples of problems. But then Apple are often producing kit at the front edge of what is possible with design and materials, whereas Plusnet are delivering broadband; in my case some light years from any edge except perhaps the edge of Hades.
Quote from: _Adam_Walker_
At the end of the day we are more open and vocal about how we deal with such things compared to most companies.
It all comes down to how these issues are dealt with, I'd like to ask the question, from what you can see how do you think we deal with them?

In the last few years you've had a litany of diasters that could hardly be called "teething", and in most cases you made a rod for your own backs:

    - You transferred me and 19,999 others to Tiscali LLU without consent or consultation, then argued tooth and nail it was OK to do this in spite of the evidence of dreadful speed and unstable connections. After racking up a PR defeat, you backed down and coughed 50 quid per user to move us back.
    - You twice lost vast swathes of customer mail because your (presumably teething) engineers didn't understand the basics. Plenty of contrition, no recompense and a lot of reciting back the basis on which email is supplied. But not content with once, you did an encore.
    - Stay for five years, don't pay for connection! Probably seemed like a good plan on that spread sheet, but we all know how publicly that unravelled.
    - As did trying to stick all new signups or upgrades with long contracts.
    - email servers were hacked and harvested, leading to a spam flood I still suffer from to this day. you issued a mealy mouthed apology that broadly came down to "well, what can you do?".
    - Slashing available pipes for the budget option (BBYW? I forget exactly) then denying it till your were blue in the face. Then (quelle horreur!) eating some humble pie after taking an inevitable PR hit.
    - Unlimited. You didn't use it, but then you did, at which point it became quite obvious that what you were supplying wasn't, but you had just invented a more technological version of splitting semantics than AN Other ISP.
    - ACS:law. well that little 110 page odd PR implosion is still unfolding. 5 years on, I am less than astonished you didn't learn from the last X times.

In fairness you are indeed more open than other ISPs, but in all these years you have still never understood that when your back's against the wall, listening will get you out of a tight corner better than repeating smug "resistance is futile" assertions ad nauseum.
Then there's the personal experience of CS fault handling. I mean mine, not just what I see on the forums:

    - never reading customer additions to tickets properly/at all. Ever.
    - sticking slavishly to the script however unlikely the cut and paste solution sounds
    - never ever accepting that the customer really might have some insight as to the nature of the issue.
    - if CS do understand the issue, they are often extremely poor at communicating either the actual problem, the process that will resolve it  or even that they DO understand it to the user.
    - never using any diagnostics or stats that aren't on the screen to assess the problem
    - responding to tickets on a cycle that looks suspiciously to me like '3 days since last posting'
    - declaring faults fixed with little or no basis for the assumption other than a near religious faith in graphs
    - occasionally resorting to outright lies about having contacted customers

These don't apply to the staff on the forum, as a rule, but they shouldn't apply to the less public processes either. Your staff are, without exception, pleasant friendly individuals who really, really do seem to want to do the right thing. But it makes little difference if you still get nowhere.
BTW, I'm writing this while wasting another afternoon at home waiting for a BT "engineer" to replace the one who couldn't be bothered to turn up last Friday. The ticket has been running for a month and makes getting blood from a stone look like a simple clinical procedure.
So, in answer to your question; very often badly.
gswindale
Grafter
Posts: 942
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Radical Shakeup

Quote from: TicnTac
BETA testing is fun,

No it's not - it is extremely hard work as anybody involved in a proper BETA testing programme will tell you.
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
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Registered: 27-04-2007

Re: Radical Shakeup

geofftswin,
I've had some experience of this and can relate to what you;re saying.
carrot63,
We're open and honest and will never play down anything wrong that we've done in the past. Each time we have learned from bad experiences and I believe it has made us more resilient and in a better position to provide a service balanced between good value and good customer service. Yes we do still have some way to go but we are confident that things are going in the right direction now. After all recruitment here in Sheffield has been ramped up in the past few months very quickly, I don't want to say that there is a knowledge or skill defect but training is ongoing and improvement is evident.
With regards to individual customer experiences that have been posted about on this site, unfortunately the fact that we have this forum (not unfortunate that it exists or I'd be out of a job!) means that people will post mostly negative things on here. Its amazing when customers come here to give us good feedback but it's human nature and rare that people go out of their way to give praise, thanks or positive feedback even when it's due.
With regards to your own personal issue I don't mind if you want to PM me a ticket number and I'll see if there's anything I can to to help or speed things along in your case.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team
TicnTac
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Re: Radical Shakeup

Quote
No it's not - it is extremely hard work as anybody involved in a proper BETA testing programme will tell you.

Shocked Yes it is, it IS FUN, it really is, it can exhaust you, make your eyes go funny, and even infect your dreams (ever dreamed in code? It really isn't nice) Roll eyes......but the hard work, the fact that you have access to something others don't, the pain staking process of picking through every area of whatever it is to try it, test it, put it under different variables, noting everything down,. going back over and over and over again and then double checking, hundreds sometimes thousands of hours can be lost doing this - but it still is FUN Smiley
Work like this is fun, it is quite unique, and anyone willing to put their life into BETA testing or at least having a go, anything related to computers / software, and the likes I’m quite sure will enjoy it and find it fun, sometimes you don’t even get paid for doing it!  Roll eyes Although the times that do are quite nice till mr tax man goes gobble gobble gobble!  Roll eyes Sad
So yes, it is hard work, but it is still FUN  Smiley especially if you get a nice bit of kit to play with, or some new software that is right up your street!
The problem with IT now is that people are in it because they are, there is huge lack of passion and excitment that there once was, people don't care about their job as a technical support agent, or CSA, or system builder, or developer, or hardware engineer, or CISCO engineer or whatever, they don't care how things work, they just do their job, it then becomes mundane to them, and that reflects back at users and customers, and it shows. I've spoken to enough CSA's at Plusnet now to know one with and without passion, the ones who have it, I tend to let someone like Adam know so it can be reflected back at their team leader or whatever, and I think at last count that was ummmm one  Roll eyes Grin
Just because something is tough, hardwork, sometimes frustrating, long and drawn out, doesn't mean it can't be fun!  Smiley
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Re: Radical Shakeup

Quote
(from Adam Walker)
Yes we do still have some way to go but we are confident that things are going in the right direction now. After all recruitment here in Sheffield has been ramped up in the past few months very quickly, I don't want to say that there is a knowledge or skill defect but training is ongoing and improvement is evident.

WHY... do you  "still have some way to go" ?  and why should WE the customers who pay your (and CS staff) wages..... have to suffer because of your lack of improvement over 13 years.... "still have some way to go "..... how far is that then?  another 13 years?
"confident that things are going in the right direction"..... you may well be.... but again.... the customers do not see it that way.... WHY? because...... "we still have a long way to go"...
"I don't want to say that there is a knowledge or skill defect"    no ... you don`t WANT to say that......BUT....  you just have....
" training is ongoing and improvement is evident."      who to? the customers?  not if you read this "feedback" forum...
So when can WE..... the customers..... see this IMPROVEMENT IS EVIDENT ?

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,850
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Radical Shakeup

Hi Gerry,
Quote
the customers do not see it that way

The difficulty with just reading the forum is that you only get a very limited view. We measure and monitor customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction every day. That is measured by responses to the staisfaction surveys, complaints, customer comments and feedback. The picture you protray Gerry is bleak and inaccurate due to the fact you are making a supposition as you dont have the facts. As Adam has mentioned and we have flagged many times over the years, the vast majority of posters come to the forum because they have got an issue or a problem. Very few come to post about a good experience and thats fine, its why we have forums and I believe, proves that we value customer feedback. Dont forget, the forum is a tiny percentage of our customer numbers and whilst the community is highly valued by us, it is not necessarily representative of the entire customer base.
Yes we still have some way to go, why, because we are growing at an astonishing and fantastic rate. That means we are constantly recruiting. We're bringing on new staff each and every week. They recieve robust training but it still takes time to get these agents up to speed and working at the rate and quality of service we expect. We have detailed performance measures and these prove that we are improving week on week in OCR (one contact resolution, RFT (Right first time) and repeat faults / general contacts. Will we ever be perfect? I reckon thats a utopian state. I dont think we can grow and recruit at the rate we are and get it right each and every time. As staff learn new skills and workflows, the potential for error exists. Only by using robust quality and performance measures do we ensure that continued training and improvement is delivered. Whilst we will probably always see issues on forums in tickets and on calls, I'm confident that we are doing well and performing well. That in no way means we are complacent or will accept shoddy work from any of our staff, quite the opposite. Each team leader is required to measure the quality of their teams responses to tickets and calll quality. This is closely measured and where failings exist these are actioned promptly and effectively and training needs or other appropriate action delivered.
So to answer your final question, if you base your measurement purely on the forums, then you'll likely always see issues but our continued growth, churn rate performing well within target and continued awards being won, coupled with the excellent propensity of our customer base to recommend and refer means we have to be doing something right.
We have work to do and that will be continuous, but I respectfully disagree with your view of the current state of play.
Mark
<edit typo />
TicnTac
Grafter
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Registered: 03-08-2010

Re: Radical Shakeup

Quote
So when can WE..... the customers..... see this IMPROVEMENT IS EVIDENT ?

You won't, your service will either work, or you will not notice problems with the service, therefore most of PN customers won't have problems, unless they get one, then they tend to come on here and jump down the throat of the forum  Roll eyes
You will NEVER see any IMPROVEMENT, remember, Adam and his team (unless he goes CEO) are pretty much the only ones who can, and do, and will make a difference for people. All other CSA's are just there because it is a job, there is the odd one or two, but they are NEVER, going to care about your problem, or how they well they do, as long as they do what they do, and get paid they are happy, why should they go above and beyond? Don't forget the likes of Adam, Jo, Mand etc. don't have to do what they do, but they do, and if we could clone them all then I guess Plusnet would a) have some very interesting on hold music, b) be rather female orientated as I've left Ben, Matt and cripes knows who else out of the list  Roll eyes
You are also forgetting, behind Plusnet is BT - so come on, you really, really think there is going to be an improvement? What you need to realise is that yes, some of the above is personal due to a 7 months of a fault and a half  Roll eyes but also that the forum is just a teeny weenie ripple in the largely happy ocean, but for fun and for the sake of it, let us glare, poke, boo & hiss at BT and the poor service a select few have had on this forum  Grin
Community Veteran
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Re: Radical Shakeup

Hi Mark....
As usual, I am in "general agreement" with what you are saying, which covers an "over all picture".... however... you will remember I took Plusnet customer service to task almost a year ago, and then you and yours promised that we would see improvements to the points raised in that series of postings, "later on in the year".... and yet... here we are  .... going through the same procedures and responses (or lack of ) to tickets and complaints of non action...
Yes, there are many many customers who do not use the forums, but because the "majority" do not complain (or possibly even know of the forum) does not mean that they are ALL happy bunnies.!...
Yes, more people means more complaints. and more CS staff recruitment and training.... but as mentioned some where else.... how about stopping the recruitment of customers for a month or two, so that the new CS staff can be trained and be able to cope ....
I don`t expect the Network Rail will be saying,.... yes.... run more trains. and we wil  then lay more tracks for your trains to run on. once they are running... (we`ll catch you up) ...... (If you get my drift)....
On a more personal note...
I have not had any issues with PlusNet Customer service..... until the last 24 hours... (the phone service was pretty good by the way ! !).. just that my ticket is now a FULL 24 hours without ANY comment from your end...
so I come on here to post my feedback, and join in other postings because nothing seems to have changed since a year ago, when you and Mand and others were telling me (and the rest of the forum readers) that things will improve...
clearly from my point of view...... and many others this is not the case....
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,850
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Radical Shakeup

I accept that perception, but surely you'll acknowledge, or hopefully you will, that we have absolutely improved from where we where last year when Steve and I amongst others responded to your posts. Yip things were not in a good way. We hadnt recruited and staffing levels, coupled with a fairly large jump in 21CN faults did us no favours.
Right now we have more staff in the consumer CSC alone than we had in the entire company last year. Significant improvements have been made to the network, platforms, billing and back end services thanks to substantial investment coupled with significant process, training and quality measurement improvements. Those improvements are ongoing.
The kpi's are in a much better place and the business as a whole is operating in a much better way than we were previously.
Stopping growth would not stop the need for agent training. Natural staff churn and staff promotion or role changes would always mean we need to recruit on an ongoing basis. Stopping sign ups would not prevent that, and indeed would be foolish. No business can afford to stand still. We are here to grow, add customers and succeed, whilst maintaining a quality service. If we felt we couldnt do both, then we'd be in a pretty bad way.
I get your point but it would not achieve your goal in the way you'd like to see.
I accept your perception that nothing has changed, all I can say is that the reality is a long way off that perception. We are not perfect and I have no doubt we never will be, show me any business in any service industry, in any industry for that matter, that is, but how we manage imperfection is key. I think we run a pretty tight ship and there are a great many very customer focused people in management and at the coal face. It would be naive to think that there aren't some who are there just because it is a job, that doesnt mean that they dont and shouldnt do a good job whilst they are there. We have a very good knack of sniffing out the chaff and dealing with that accordingly.
We'll always have debates about customer service, I'm passionate about it. I wont blindly defend poor performance and will stick my hands up when we fail to deliver, but in a similar vein I'll shout about our good work from the hill tops, when I feel it necessary Smiley
We are not and will not rest on our laurels, hence we'll continue to say we have work to do and a way to go. The utopian state may not be achievable but it sure as hell is a nice target Smiley
Mark