Bringing service and technical excellence to the channel

Bringing service and technical excellence to the channel

Nick Silverwood and Jamie Ford have ambitious plans for Plusnet Partner
Nick Silverwood and Jamie Ford have ambitious plans for Plusnet Partner

You’ll probably know Plusnet as the awardwinning ISP from Yorkshire selling good, honest broadband to UK households with the help of 80s synth-legends, Heaven 17. But there is something else you should know…

Plusnet has a strong proposition for the business market and as we reach mid-2011, it is ready to shout about its strength in partner services. Jamie Ford, CEO and Nick Silverwood, Head of Business at Plusnet guide Comms Business through the benefits that their Sheffield-based team has to offer.

Jamie begins, “Plusnet launched Partner Services in 2008 and over the last three years we have seen our customer base grow to over 250. We’re very proud of the fact this client base has matured through recommendation alone, based upon our technical expertise and unrivalled customer service.”

 

“Throughout this time we’ve listened to what our customers have had to say and used this feedback to develop our products. This has given us an invaluable insight into the needs of resellers and we believe we have something unique to offer the channel.”

 

So what is Plusnet Partner?

Plusnet Partner provides a pay-as-you-grow, managed broadband solution to resellers with a need to offer Broadband as part of their overall portfolio without the costs of becoming an ISP in their own right.

Where Plusnet provides a desirable solution is through its cost efficiencies, traffic prioritisation, bespoke product design and unrivalled customer service.

Jamie continues, “From day one our business model has been to drive operational efficiencies which benefit our customers. Through system automation and enabling our customers to self serve we deliver a range of enticing reseller services.”

Putting the customer in control is paramount to the success of Plusnet’s business model. Client resellers are able to manage their accounts via a portal which enables:

• Online provision with real-time line check
• Options to place orders in single or in bulk
• CRM tools to help manage your customer accounts, including order tracking and jeopardy management
• Automated faults diagnostics with direct links into BTW Knowledge Based Diagnostic (KBD tools)
• Access to radius logs for easy fault diagnostics
• Problem / fault ticketing with full fault history for accountability
• Monthly one bill with fully itemised online invoicing (no paper bills)

A good example of empowering customers to self serve is the provision of diagnostic tools, specifically the direct access to BTW KBD system. The tool utilises the BT Wholesale Knowledge Based Diagnostics system (KBD) which replaced the whoosh suite.

Nick Silverwood, Head of Business at Plusnet explains, “The system uses best practice share across the industry to improve fault response/repair times by accurately identifying the nature and underlying route cause. It also reduces the potential and impact of misdiagnosed faults through human error. In many instances the faults diagnostic system can resolve a fault without the need for human touch. Not only does this reduce Plusnet’s and our partners’ operational costs but it delivers a better service to the end customer.”

But Nick is keen to point out, “By empowering the customer via self-service we can keep our costs lower but this does not mean we have overlooked our support services. Our call centre has a high level of technical proficiency and none of our advisors work from scripts. Our business is also based on the one-site in Sheffield which means any issues are escalated to the right person quickly.”

 

Capability to serve

Plusnet was acquired by BT in 2007 but unlike many acquisitions taking place in the Telecoms Industry, they have managed to maintain their identity and operate virtually autonomously. In fact, the big brother has been impressed by the business model of Plusnet, the testament of which came in 2009 when BT Wholesale and Plusnet launched a managed broadband service.

Effectively, this has bolstered Plusnet’s capability to serve and reassure the Business Market as Nick details, “When selecting a partner resellers are looking for first class service and an assurance that their broadband supplier can cater for growth at any scale and keep them at the forefront with the latest technology. Plusnet has never been in a better position to do this without compromising the personable client service they have become recognised for across the industry.”

 

Technical pedigree

Plusnet Partner is delivered over a fully resilient IPStream Connect and WBMC enabled network giving UK wide coverage. Current products include ADSL2+ with optional Annex M, Elevate and Enhanced Care with Fibre services to follow later on this year.

This product portfolio includes a range of fixed usage and competitively priced products which includes geographic pricing ensuring low cost access to Market 3 areas. Nick continues, “Our products are designed with a range of fixed usage allowances. This enables resellers to select a service appropriate to their customers’ usage. In addition, free overnight usage, (midnight to 8am) further allows resellers to minimise costs by moving non-interactive traffic such as back-ups to off-peak periods. Our clients can also choose Annex M or enhanced care on a pick and mix basis, effectively allowing them to create their own product experience.”

 

Traffic Prioritisation

Plusnet has actively championed the use of traffic management over its network for many years.

This management means Plusnet can create bespoke services to suit specific requirements. Nick states, “We service a wide range of requirements from managed homeworking through to a range of bespoke services designed to compliment IP enabled devices such as EPOS, security cameras and specialist VOIP services. Through deep packet inspection and prioritisation systems we can create tailored service offers, to identify and prioritise specific applications to ensure a quality level of service. We feel this gives us a key differentiator over other off the shelf reseller packages where traffic is handled according to generic profiles.”

 

Expert Partner Support

Nick describes how Plusnet’s support model is a critical aspect of Partner Services. “Broadband like any other technology can go wrong. Here at Plusnet, customer care is at the heart of everything we do. Our partners can have confidence that when things do go wrong, they’re supported by a team of specialist partner agents trained specifically to work with and understand the requirements of business customers.”

“We have 24*7 Helpdesk to Helpdesk support model and our agents are fully UK based and dedicated to supporting our partners. Agents are trained to be multiskilled therefore removing the need to have second or third line support. This enables our agents to resolve problems on first touch and build relationships with our partner’s helpdesks so they have a holistic knowledge of clients on a day-to-day basis.”

 

The Future

2011 represents an exciting year for Plusnet seeing the enhancement of FTTC and FTTP to the Partner portfolio and the remaining Partner focus continuing to provide high quality, competitive but sustainable fixed line broadband services to resellers. Jamie concludes, “We strongly believe we have an untapped resource to offer and look forward to focusing many of our growth ambitions as a business within the reseller channel.”
 
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