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Sadly I expected it...

Community Veteran
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Registered: 21-03-2011

Sadly I expected it...

I've been in computing since 1969, I've designed and installed computing and telecoms systems in many countries and I've managed several multimillion pound technology projects. I've been on cable laying ships and even helped to set up multi-country telecoms networks. I've met the BT scientists at BT's Martlesham Heath Research Lab who developed ADSL and VDSL  In my own home I've had internet connection since 1996.... etc etc...
So why is it that the Plus Net support staff cannot read a simple question when I raise a support query?  Why is it they try and answer the question I didn't ask?  Does it always have to end in a shouting match?
Why do they automatically assume the customer doesn't know what he's talking about?
Arrrgh!
Now Zen, but a +Net residue.
34 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Re: Sadly I expected it...

Just for my benefit - what was the question you asked and then we can try to guess what response you received  Lips are sealed
Community Veteran
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Re: Sadly I expected it...

It is not a difficult question.
"I've subscribed for Business Option 3. Has that option actually been configured for my service?"
The background information. I already have a Demon Internet Business ADSL, I'm using the PlusNet as an alternative route. They both terminate in the Deptford London Exchange and in fact both are badged BT OpenReach services
The output from each dsl router is fed into my Draytek Dual WAN router/Firewall. PN delivers about 4 Mbs download  When run side by side the browsing rate is about the same for the BBC News website, but any video film clips delivered by the PN link will run for a few seconds then wait for buffering for a couple of seconds and so on.  The video streaming is clearly being throttled by PN. Demon has no problems. Traffic stats show neither link is fully utilsed during those operations.
If I read the website properly Business Option 3 should run at line speed for video streaming. It is why I want a simple Yes/No answer on their configuration, but presumably it does not fit their script.
Now Zen, but a +Net residue.
itsme
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Re: Sadly I expected it...

Community Veteran
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Re: Sadly I expected it...

This link: http://www.plus.net/support/broadband/speed_guide/download_speeds.shtml#bizOption3 is more explicit.  It says Video streaming is line speed for Business Option 3.
Perhaps there is conflicting information on the PN site?
Anyway that is not my point. My point is why it seems impossible for the support people to answer the simple question that I asked without me having to re-explain/resubmit etc etc. I've managed 24 hour PC support help desks in a very aggressive user environment. One of the key training points we'd give to the staff is: "listen to what the person is saying."  So far my experience of the PN Support desk is that they seem to focus on closing the call quickly rather than answering the question.
Now Zen, but a +Net residue.
Community Gaffer
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Re: Sadly I expected it...

Hi there,
I've taken a look at the ticket you've raised and can see your question was more than simply "I've subscribed for Business Option 3. Has that option actually been configured for my service?". The answer you got from support tried to address the underlying cause of the problem you described to them. Yes they didn't directly answer that part of your ticket, but I can say that your service *is* set up correctly.
Sorry you feel the service you received on this occassion wasn't up to standard, however from my point of view the member of staff did try to help with the issue you were seeing.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Chris Parr
 Plusnet Staff
gswindale
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Re: Sadly I expected it...

To be honest; I've always found PN support no worse than any other helpdesk.
It is very rare for a PC support help desk in a business environment to actually listen to/read the user request.
We have, at work, an out-sourced IT dept whose response to any of my issues with one of our apps is to bat it straight across to the 3rd party provider when quite frequently all they need to do is restart 1 service on their server (which my call states quite clearly they need to do!).
It is no excuse for PN that they are acting like everybody else; however the training is frequently - read through the call log & make sure all the basics have been covered before going into the detailed stuff (it's a pain because when I had a problem over christmas/new year the issue had resolved itself before I got through to a member of staff who would have been able to give me more insight into the problem (log records had mysteriously disappeared due to the number of connection problems)).
mssystems
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Re: Sadly I expected it...

Quote from: AlaricAdair
So far my experience of the PN Support desk is that they seem to focus on closing the call quickly rather than answering the question.

There are still some 'humans' left in CSC, that understand that help-desks are there to help but I worry they are a declining breed.  
My experiences this year include, recovering from a flood at a customer's premises, the person that answered the phone dealt with the 'off menu' request in a stunningly straightforward, knowledgeable and genuinely helpful way.  It made the difference between restoring operations in a new premises witin 48 hours and having to wait, enough time to put my customer out of business, for BT to provision new lines.
On two other occasions and one entirely separate issue, I have had 'defective robots' answer the phone, repeating the same unhelpful information ad-nauseam.  Sadly those calls ended badly, the frustration causing me to raise my voice.  
Five things every human helpdesk operator should know;
1. If you are talking you are preventing your customer from thinking.
2. if you have repeated the same thing 3 times, it stands a chance the customer fully understood the issue on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd time.  Continuing to repeat the same thing, is not helping your customer to understand the issue any better.  It is preventing your customer thinking of alternatives.  
3. To better appreciate the customer experience you are offering, please spend 10 minutes listening to a stuck CD.  How long was it before it became extremely annoying and frustrating, do you feel?
4. Escalation is not a sign of weakness.
5. Helpdesk staff are not (should not be) paid to tell the customer what they already know.  They are (or should be) paid to action things the customer can not action and provide information the customer does not know.  I.e. Help.
Unfortunately I suspect the BT accountants prefer robots. They are cheaper to feed.
Community Veteran
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Re: Sadly I expected it...

Just because you have two lines to the same exchange doesn't mean they go through the same VPs. It's not uncommon to see posts in here where people are experiencing peak time slowdowns are told that with a couple of days downtime they can be moved to a different VP on the same exchange which isn't running as hot.
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
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Re: Sadly I expected it...

Well, I've had an answer from one of the senior guy in the customer support side this morning. I've dealt with him before and he was helpful then. He gave me the information I requested in my response in a timely fashion. 
Many of the points made by mssystems definitely strike a chord.  You can find good support people in PN, but I do wish the less effective ones would not relapse into standard boiler plate response when dealing with their top end business offering (where the fast response supplement has been paid), it leaves me with the impression that the service is tuned toward domestic usage.
When I've some spare time I'll tune our firewall so it runs in load share mode, but keep the time sensitive data traffic away from the PN ADSL link.  The PN ADSL will essentially be a warm back-up. Strangely when I run VOIP services over the PN link there is no sign of voice distortion or break up, it is just the streaming video that suffers on PN. The BT telephone cables in our locality seem to be quite flaky, I've been through the process of trying to reduce line errors before with other vendors so I'm not going to spend a lot of time with PN repeating the effort until optical fibre inches closer to our street.
I'd just wanted to confirm the poor video service was not down to a configuration at PN central. I've no great appetite to spend time waiting for BT Openreach engineers or taking pot luck with the PN Helpdesk.

Now Zen, but a +Net residue.
Community Veteran
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Re: Sadly I expected it...

Have you tried running the BBC iPlayer diagnostic speed test? You should be able to prove if your speeds are being nobbled using that.
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)
hadden
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Re: Sadly I expected it...

I sympathise with the situation about customer support responses. I've had clear answers when someone attempts to help me. However I've also raised tickets where my reply to the first customer support response is along the lines of "please read my ticket, this time".
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Re: Sadly I expected it...

Thanks Jelv I knew about the Speed Test already. I already get detailed bandwidth figures on both ADSL links from my firewall.
It's not really an issue of link speed; we rarely use the full capacity of the ADSL. My underlying query was whether PN were throttling the video streaming on a Business Option 3 , they tell us they're not but viewing video clips via that link is not a pleasant experience. We purchased the PN service as a back-up in the event of a failure on our main link from Demon Internet. It serves that purpose, so we're not going to waste any more effort on trying to tune the PN ADSL just for video streaming. The underlying cause will be the poor quality BT lines. With a previous supplier we swapped hardware, changed the pairs at the exchange, installed a new line plus multiple parameter changes without solving the problem.
It is why I just asked the original question asking them to confirm they'd actually configured Business Option 3 on our line. Their modem/router reports 5.3 Mbps download speed, that is fine for a back-up.
Now Zen, but a +Net residue.
thisoldman
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Re: Sadly I expected it...

hi jelv txs for bbc  link   test.
my d/l spped was 6.2 and the streaming speed 3.9.
by the way if you go to itv site and your programme is not listed  just type name into search bar at top of page and you will then be able to watch your programme.
So who is nobbling my bbc  streaming speed    pn or bbc?
i ran the test at 07 10 am
Community Veteran
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Re: Sadly I expected it...

Incidentally here's the results from my runs of the BBC Speed Test. It was run under the Chrome browser which was reloaded for each run. The results are the average of three runs for each supplier.
Demon Internet Business ADSL was 7744K
Plus Net Business Option 3 was 592K
I guess the term "line speed" can be somewhat variable!
Now Zen, but a +Net residue.