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Thoughts on improving the "Support System"

MerlinBWizard
Newbie
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎19-12-2013

Thoughts on improving the "Support System"

On moving to a house with 2 existing lines, we then had a very bad time trying to get just one phone+broadband connection going for us.  While very angry at the time, I figured a number of things with 'The System' that need serious review by those up top.
1. Communication between Service Provider (PlusNet or others) and Line Provider (Openreach / Kelly Comms / others) is non-existent.  PlusNet can book a 'call', for service, but after that they have NO CONTROL at all.  They cannot call the 'man on the ground' or their supervisor.  Hence if you are waiting in for an engineer to call.. for hours.. and hours.. and call the patient folk at Plus Net with raising levels of anger - they really cannot do a darn thing. Why?
2. The 'local loop' is often managed by a range of sub-contractors.  Kelly Communications in our case, I believe.  These have widely varying levels of organisation and protocol and expertise.  There MUST be a change to standardise and sanitise this sub-contracting so they are FORCED to use good standards of practice as developed by BT/openreach.  Here are my notes..
Calling Card:  An Openreach engineer will always leave a calling card (so I understand).  At least you know that they tried to visit.  Kelly do not - so you wait in for hours only to find that they came in that 10 minute slot as you took your wife to the station (or whatever). Details of WHY the work was aborted could be written on the card.  And a photo of the property + fault should be taken, to prove (to their supervisor/ plusnet) that they actually came.
Learning from Visits: When the first engineer called they noted that a hoist was needed to access the line.  So did the second engineer call arrive with a hoist? No. Or the third or fourth? No.  WHY?
Automatic re-arrangement: When an engineer visits and is unable to complete the work, they should book an appropriate re-visit to complete the work.  In doing so, they can book the correct requirements. Instead we call up PlusNet (or other provider) and have to re-book ourselves - but we have no idea what prevented the work from completing, hence the wrong engineer is booked and wastes yet more time. [or see the 'Calling Card' above.  WHY?
Site visit - clarity of logging: We requested a transcript of the logs associated with the failed engineer visits.  The logs were not understandable to PlusNet call centre personnel - which is Ok up to a point, but it would be of huge benefit to all if either a well known set of code standards are used,or that the log is extended with: Photo evidence / Spoken evidence / simple English statements. 
External Issue Management: Now our telegraph pole had a large hole dug at its base.  I understand that this meant the engineers could not access the top of the pole due to 'health and safety' reasons.  But did they find out why there was a hole? Or when it was to be filled in? Or to make arrangements so they could do the work within H&S guidelines?  Apparently they could not.  But WHY not.  I notified Openreach directly and they had no idea why there was a hole [for over a year] - so they filled it in.  So hopefully these Sub-Contracted agents like Kelly should not have any excuses to 'ABORT' their visits (5 of them).
3. PlusNet service centre staff took a fair amount of my anger.  Yet they were powerless to help, as the above should explain.  So I would dearly like to think that, over the next few years, PlusNet and others will change their relationship with the line providers and sub-contractors.  In doing so, the millions that they are spending building Service Centres to employ more people to listen to angry customers - to instead be used to fix the system that is causing unhappy customers in the first place.
> Should PlusNet be able to identify the service engineers?  So if there are repeated 'aborts' for some types of work that identify a particular engineer - then they could request the engineer be re-trained / reprimanded / only to be sent on work that they can actually do?  Actually - why do the Sub-Contractors not do this anyway?  Do they get paid per call, whether fixed or not?  [Hence they don't really care]
4. Apparently our house needed an 'external junction box' - which is now fitted as standard to new properties. But this property is old, and only has internal master sockets.  Hence the need to be 'in' when the engineer called.  However, the openreach engineer fixed the line without the need for property access.  So I am confused as to what is or is not needed, and who (plusnet or openreach) should do it.  Where are the limits of my responsibility etc. etc.
My line was eventually fixed by Openreach, after 7 weeks of Kelly Communications 'ABORTS'.  These aborts (which is how they logged most of the visits) were accompanied with some mostly meaningless codes that PlusNet support could not fathom.
You could say that our line was fixed by a 'Happy Accident' - the Openreach engineer was involved in a road accident on his way to work. So being unable to go further, he called the service centre asking if there were any open issues in our area.  He called at our house (we were out) but left his number.  After calling him, the line was fixed within a week.  That was exceptional service and I feel greatly indebted to him for taking such great pride and passion for his work and that of his employer.
I only wish I could feel the same for the Sub-Contractors, whoever they were.  For them, I can only say 'shame on you'.  You let the good name of BT and Plusnet down.
3 REPLIES
Plusnet Alumni (retired) LinnPlusnet
Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Posts: 1,686
Registered: ‎03-02-2014

Re: Thoughts on improving the "Support System"

Hi MerlinBWizard,
Welcome to the Community Forums.
Thank you for taking the time to post this.
Kelly Communications are contracted by BT Openreach and unfortunately we don't have any direct contact with them or BT Openreach engineers. I completely understand where you're coming from though and having a better communication set up would definitely benefit us, and in turn, customers. This relies on BT Openreach and Kelly's though and it would be down to them to make the changes to allow us to have direct contact with them.
I'm glad to hear your issue's now been resolved. If there's anything we can help with in the future please don't hesitate to contact us.
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 12,759
Thanks: 4,019
Fixes: 26
Registered: ‎22-08-2007

Re: Thoughts on improving the "Support System"

Hi MerlinBWizard,
Welcome to the forums.  It makes a pleasant change to hear someone making a highly objective assessment of the issues being faced by the ISP industry - BTOR are shamelessly letting everyone down.  End users and ISPs alike are suffering from the largely indifferent attitude of BTOR and in particularly some of their subcontractors.
You have unfortunately experienced most of the appalling repeated excuses for not doing the job to the required standard.  I have for a long time advocated that once an ISP has passed a job to BTOR, then BTOR show retain ownership of the job until it has been delivered.  If additional resources / work is required, they should manage that until the "end job" requested by the ISP / CP has been delivered.

Hi Linn,
Welcome back, you've been missed, I hope you had a great holiday.  I trust that these excellent suggestions will be put into the "how could things be improved" ideas pot?

Regards,
Kevin
Plusnet Alumni (retired) LinnPlusnet
Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Posts: 1,686
Registered: ‎03-02-2014

Re: Thoughts on improving the "Support System"

Hi Kevin,
Holiday was wonderful, thanks for asking!  Cool
The suggestions from the OP will definitely be taken on-board and it's a subject that I feel very strongly about. I have forwarded these comments and suggestions on to the relevant teams within the business and it is now in their capable hands to communicate to BT Openreach.