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URGENT - Disability Service Access - major problem with the present system

Acassim
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Registered: ‎11-06-2007

Re: URGENT - Disability Service Access - major problem with the present system

Afternoon All,
Apologies for not getting to this post last week, we should have picked up on this sooner.
We're aware that over the last few months we've seen more and more call spikes during busy periods of the day and we're working to combat these. Unfortunately the gains we've delivered recently have been somewhat undone by way of influxes in additional work such as faults which increased after the bad weather as well as missed engineer visits that have impacted us on a faults and provisioning front respectively.
In turn this has meant that the call centre has been increasingly busy as people call in to report problems and request updates on things they already have raised with us which we are aware will impact both able bodied as well as disabled customer alike.
I understand that it is easy to brand Plusnet as being discriminatory in the situation mentioned in this thread however to be discriminatory would mean that we refused to take Text Relay or Type Talk calls altogether. I'm afraid, in this situation it appears that it is the Text/Type service providers who have made the conscious decision to actively place a restriction on the services they provide which is causes problems when coupled with the wait times.
In the past we have had problems relating to call wait times however we have never seen the problem where a customer using a Text/Type service couldn't have the operator hold the line so while I wouldn't want to steer this discussion away from the wait times, I do think that this is something that should be raised with the Text/Type service provider to find out why this decision has been made to only allocate 15 minutes.
In short, we completely hold our hands up and admit that we've seen difficult times where call wait times are concerned, although there should also be some onus that falls to the Text/Type service provider for making a decision to impose a 15 minute hold time limit. We're working to reduce this wait time as much as we possibly can however this could take some time to pull back. There are most certainly times of the day where we can see wait times below 5, 10 and 15 minutes to it should be possible to get through to us during most working days.
Finally, we're committed to improving the wait times and I can assure you that this something we will continue to do. While this is ongoing we would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and we thank you for your continued patience.
If there are any further details you would like me to touch on regarding this topic then please feel free to ask.
Superuser
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Re: URGENT - Disability Service Access - major problem with the present system

Adam,
Off the wall idea - how feasible would it be to add a TextRelay option to the IVR system which places the call with the next available agent?  Anyone abusing this option to be bounced back into normal queuing.
Agreed the right answer is to get over all queues down, but as you've indicated, this will take time and in the meantime, deaf persons cannot get assisted support.
I know only too well how difficult and frustrating this is, my step son is totally deaf and has lots of difficulties accessing services.  Some service providers when faced with his mother on the phone even ask if they can speak to him to confirm that he gives his permission for her to act on his behalf.  Sometimes special arrangements are required which specifically assists the needs of those who rely on others to speak / hear for them.
Kevin
goldenfibre
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Re: URGENT - Disability Service Access - major problem with the present system

Adam
If this does NOT improvement, U will lose more deaf customers moving away from Plusnet to a better phone support from other ISP. As Townman had explained this is more harder for deaf customers, no excuse of your call times problem over the months as it been like this in the last six months ongoing. I think enough is enough. As for text relay they have to handle over thousand of deaf customers every days on the call. Anything under 15 minutes will be great but Plusnet support calls is excess of 30 minutes or more is terrible and put strain on deaf customers. .
Superuser
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Re: URGENT - Disability Service Access - major problem with the present system

Adam
One would expect any good company to be answering the majority of calls within 15 minutes, the fact that for that last six month to nine months PN can not do this consistently , even after a new call centre is opened, means what ever strategy has been put in place, is simple not working fast enough.
Yet PN continue to advertise for new customer and can not support their existing ones in a timely manner .
Regards
Mike
Mike
goldenfibre
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Re: URGENT - Disability Service Access - major problem with the present system

I agree above! 6-9 months is not good enough with the new call centres!
Acassim
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Re: URGENT - Disability Service Access - major problem with the present system

Thanks for getting back to us,
@Kevin - I like the idea of having a bit of a queue jump in place for these types of call however I'm unsure on the level of complexity in creating this type of functionality so I can't comment on this being a possibility. From memory I believe the phone system we purchased does offer this as a feature but don't quite me on that, it could well have been a discussion around the time we were looking at various solutions.
Another issues that comes to mind with this is that we would need some way of policing this type of feature, it wouldn't take long for customers to find out that the option jumped the queue and before long it would now doubt end up this channel being flooded which would make the feature unusable for it's intended purpose.

@goldenfibre - As mentioned in the previous post, we understand that we need to improve in the area and we're pushing to make that understanding a reality. I understand that this could well make it difficult for deaf customers to get in touch with us at certain busy points throughout the day but has there been a change in the way the Type/Text service operate with regards to holding the line? I've worked for some time on the phones within Plusnet and other call centres where wait times have been high at times and haven't ever heard of the 15 minute rule on holding before and have taken these calls outside of the 1 hour mark in the past. Given that all companies have their ups and downs with wait times, it does bring this rule into question somewhat.

@I.T.Works - I totally agree with you on this one, ideally we would be answering the calls within 5 minutes however we've seen some significant shifts in the way things work (or don't as the case may be) which have dulled the work we've already put in to increasing support and reducing the call wait times. Granted we could get bums on seats a lot quicker than we are now but in the long run, this just means that one call resolution goes out of the window which only feeds back into the support loop and leaves us no better off.
goldenfibre
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Re: URGENT - Disability Service Access - major problem with the present system

Adam C: The old Typetalk doesn't affect in long call waiting. But since Ofcom and BT had changing new Next Generation Text is probably the reason of cutting down on waiting call on the line because I do believe that Next Generation Text is on trial at the moment during Mon to Fri between 9am and 5pm.
gofaster
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Re: URGENT - Disability Service Access - major problem with the present system

Quote from: Adam
Granted we could get bums on seats a lot quicker than we are now but in the long run, this just means that one call resolution goes out of the window which only feeds back into the support loop and leaves us no better off.

Can you try that again in plain English? I've no idea what you are talking about.
goldenfibre
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Re: URGENT - Disability Service Access - major problem with the present system

Superuser
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Re: URGENT - Disability Service Access - major problem with the present system

Goldenfibre,
It looks like these two are using the same external service provider... who I suspect still need to be able to contact the "host" organisation's support desk!
Kevin
Acassim
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Re: URGENT - Disability Service Access - major problem with the present system

Quote from: gofaster
Quote from: Adam
Granted we could get bums on seats a lot quicker than we are now but in the long run, this just means that one call resolution goes out of the window which only feeds back into the support loop and leaves us no better off.

Can you try that again in plain English? I've no idea what you are talking about.

What I'm saying here is that we could just go on a massive recruitment drive and hire anyone regardless of experience or competence and put them through basic training just to answer the phones. Unfortunately the way this will pan out is that calls will be answered, however the reason for the call is rarely addressed correctly which leads to a follow up call being placed which in turn just pushes the call queues back up.
Ideally what we need to do is take some time when recruiting in order to get the best possible candidates through the door, then we put them through an intensive training course which should mean that call are answered and problems are solved first time round.
The problem we have is that the first option is quick and easy but is nothing more than a temporary fix and the second yeilds good results but take a lot longer to implement.

Quote from: goldenfibre
Plusnet should provide new Video Interpreter for deaf customers as BT, Sky, and Virgin Media doing this now:
http://about.virginmedia.com/press-release/9425/virgin-media-launches-video-relay-service (virgin media)
https://accessibility.sky.com/contact-us/contact-sky-using-british-sign-language (sky)
http://www.bt.com/includingyou/help-support-using-site.html#browseAloud (BT)

Ideally we would love to offer something like this for our customers however those companies are significantly larger than we are which means that they have more capital to play with when it comes to providing services above the legal requirement and added extras.
I would hope that once Plusnet reach such a size, we would also offer these facilities too as I can see the massive benefit that this would give to our customers.
goldenfibre
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Re: URGENT - Disability Service Access - major problem with the present system

Quote from: Adam

I would hope that once Plusnet reach such a size, we would also offer these facilities too as I can see the massive benefit that this would give to our customers.

Yes but that's probably won't happen within next 12 months or maybe never happen? I thought BT & Plusnet are the same company?
Superuser
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Re: URGENT - Disability Service Access - major problem with the present system

Same corporate group but independent companies. I would guess that what you've referenced is BT Retail, not BT group.
TORPC
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Re: URGENT - Disability Service Access - major problem with the present system

Quote from: goldenfibre
<snip>
Plusnet must provided a direct number for deaf peoples via typetalk. As deaf peoples of mine is pretty angry and upset that Typetalk cannot hold much longer because they have to provide the call to someone else who need the call. .
I want the management team to sort this out! Cut the call times please!

I broached on this subject back in June,
Quote from: TORPC
@Kelly
<snip>
Out of curiosity & prompted to ask by seeing this thread No access for deaf users!!!! in Other Queries
What provisions have PlusNet currently got for disabled / deaf customers ?Huh

& I was immediately directed by another member to
Quote from: spraxyt
Why not take a look at the Accessibility page on the website?

http://www.plus.net/support/service/policies/accessibility/
Even then PlusNet never paid any attention & redirected the OP ask the question via alternate out of forums eyes (as you will)
Quote from: Kelly
Hi, you can raise a question to us to answer from here: http://www.plus.net/wizard/
You'll need to login and navigate to the area around what your question is.  We'll pick that up and reply back to you.

I suspect that PlusNet will not address & resolve, this serious issue anytime soon (However I would like to be proven wrong)
Petard
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Re: URGENT - Disability Service Access - major problem with the present system

Can deaf customers receive calls via this system?
If so, perhaps they could raise a ticket requesting a call from someone at PN. There would be delays this way, but no-one, including the operator, would be kept waiting on the phone, and that would solve this problem of calls being abandoned.
Edit: clarified wording.