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UK ISP Plusnet Sacks Rude Call Centre Worker for Insulting a Customer

Friday, September 15th, 2017 (1:24 pm) - Score 2,690

Internet provider Plusnet has “wholeheartedly” apologised to one of their broadband subscribers, who had contacted the ISP in the hope of getting his Direct Debit date changed but instead found his surname being substituted with the C-word (hint, it’s not cat) by a call centre worker.

The customer service agent reportedly informed Mr Knott that they couldn’t change his direct debit date and so he instead asked to be put through to the provider’s cancellations department, at which point he overheard the agent make the offensive remark. Naturally Mr Knott complained to the ISP and the customer service agent was promptly shown the door.

A Plusnet Spokesperson said (Lancashire Telegraph):

“We would like to wholeheartedly apologise to Mr Knott for the recent, unacceptable, experience he had with Plusnet.

We pride ourselves on going the extra mile for our customers, but it is clear on this occasion that our call centre advisor failed to meet the usual high standard of customer service we expect and has been dismissed.

We believe in doing the right thing for our customers and would like to assure Mr Knott that this case has been taken very seriously.”

The provider also offered Mr Knott £250 and six months of free service, which he has accepted, despite still planning to leave at the end of his contract. The episode is of course very embarrassing for an ISP that claims to pride itself on good customer service, but they deserve credit for removing the abusive member of staff (we’ve seen other providers where rude staff appear to be almost endemic).

On the flip side customers’ can sometimes be similarly rude towards support agents, who are often just doing their job and may have little control over more complex issues. Sadly some people, when faced with a frustrating problem, do lose their cool. However we tend to expect more control from support staff, which should be trained to deal with difficult individuals.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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15 Responses
  1. Ultraspeedy says:

    Plusnet now also doing C***S proud!

  2. Mike says:

    People that use budget ISP’s (like Plusnet) tend to be ****s.

    1. Nathan Brassington says:

      So you use one then?

    2. Andrew says:

      Plusnet are actually very good and I’ve been with them for over 14 years.
      I can’t be a **** since I’m one of their top referrers and they pay me well for my efforts.
      I applaud Plusnet for this action. Customers can be difficult but resorting to verbal abuse just shows a general lack of intelligence……. Mike!

    3. Peter says:

      On the contrary @Andrew – verbal abuse is about the only thing I will pay any attention to.
      Asking me nicely will get you nowhere.

  3. Jonny says:

    A valuable lesson in making absolutely sure that you are muted before mouthing off about the person on the other end of the line has been learnt.

    1. spurple says:

      Yup. Like it or not. Swearing is a common way of dealing with frustration.

      The only reason more people don’t get fired for similar offences is because the phone is usually muted.

    2. Simon says:

      Except for they also sack people for that too – and rightly so

    3. Ultraspeedy says:

      “A valuable lesson in making absolutely sure that you…”

      Have the sense where known not to join and pay an organisation which is abusive to its customers.

  4. Simon says:

    They need to sack whoever cocked them up today too!

  5. nekomata says:

    Plusnet’s customer service went downhill years back to be perfectly honest.

    Back when I moved house (about 5 years back), they went and deleted my email account (some of the emails I was keeping went back about a decade). When I rang up and spoke to tech support, they insisted that they didn’t keep backups, and that my data was gone with no chance of retrieval. Seeing as I was about a month before some important university exams, I decide that I would concentrate on what was important, and call up the complaints department afterwards. When I did, they then told me that if I had contacted them within a month of the account being deleted, they would have been able to restore the account from backups, but seeing as it was just over a month ago now, that I could basically go swivel. Yes, the backups which they don’t even let their techies know about -.-

    1. Simon says:

      Their in house system “Workplace” lets you do that for up to 28 days. But you have to send a ticket off to their techs to do it and there is a special ticket pool for it – any floor agent would know that., or should know that!

  6. tonyp says:

    Don’t PlusNet and other ISP’s have voice recording for their calls? I find that unlikely that they do not. Otherwise it would be taking either a CC operative or the customers word for the exchange of views. I have heard it said it is most often the caller that is the ‘nuisance’, sometimes just simply wanting to chat to or annoy a sitting target. I have been told about a (male) caller wanting to know about the size of the lady CC operative’s t*ts (bosom), she replied ‘bigger than yours sonny’! End of call.

    A general lack of technical knowledge by most customers is also a problem which leads to frustration and then anger when whatever is being required of the caller to do, fails.

    Whilst there is no excuse for angry or insulting behaviour on the part of CC operatives, I can see they do need the patience of a saint to stay calm and clear with their caller.

    1. Simon says:

      They do – Agents are scored monthly on their QoS – no doubt the call was pulled after the complaint

  7. joe pineapples says:

    For £250 and six months of free service, they could call me anything they wanted. The boy done good.

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