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Broadband ISP Zen Internet Publishes New UK Customer Charter

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018 (11:26 am) - Score 1,329
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Popular Rochdale-based ISP Zen Internet, which say they believe in putting “people before profits“, has this week published a new customer charter for all their residential and small business subscribers. This sets out a range of service commitments and promises to their users.

Admittedly a lot of the customer charters we see tend to read like idealistic marketing spin and there is an element of that within Zen’s document, which in fairness would be quite difficult to avoid since nobody deliberately sets out to do the opposite and give customers a bad service (no doubt our readers could think of a few other ISPs that come very close to that 🙂 ).

However Zen have tended to always deliver a generally high level of service and support quality, which usually results in the vast majority of their customers being satisfied (more than we can say for some of the biggest ISPs). In keeping with that their new charter is said to be based around three core service principles: 1) Outstanding customer care, 2) Personal service and, 3) Thinking ahead. But in some areas Zen also goes a lot further..

Zen’s Four Service Promises

1. We will do our very best to keep you connected.

* Our advanced network: We invest millions of pounds in our own network infrastructure in order to continue improving the quality and robustness of your connection.

* Free (loan) WiFi hotspot devices: In the event of a fault or delay in installation, we will provide you with a free 4G wifi hotspot loan device with a reasonable amount of complimentary data to keep you connected.

* Post-installation connection check-back: We manage your on-boarding process and will carry out a post installation ‘connectivity health check’ to make sure your line is working as it should be.

2. We will make things as simple and convenient for you as we can.

* Easy to reach: Our technical support team can be reached via one phone number – quick to find and easy to reach. Online chat, call back requests and email are all additional tools to help you get in touch with us whenever you need to.

* Keep things simple: We will cut the jargon and explain the features and pricing of our products clearly and simply, so that we can offer the right solution for your needs (and nothing more).

* Support anytime, anywhere: Our customer portal provides 24/7 access to a library of guides, articles and self-help tools to enable you to get the best from your service.

3. Nobody will work harder on your behalf.

* Our personal commitment: We will take personal responsibility when you need our help.

* Our technical support team don’t read from scripts: they are experts in their own right who take the time to understand your issue and work to help make your life easier.

* We will reimburse you: We were one of the first broadband providers to sign up to the auto-compensation charter – so if you don’t get the service you pay for, you can expect financial compensation from Zen (from early 2019). Contact us when you need to. You can even send a letter to our friendly CEO. Richard founded Zen in 1996 and stills runs our business overall.

4. We are there to help make things right.

* Our service guarantee: Our service guarantee gives you two weeks (after purchase) to cancel your contract if you are not happy with the service you receive, or change your mind. In addition, our speed guarantee lets you end your contract at any point if you’re not getting the speeds that were promised when you signed up for the service.

* Our guarantee for your router: Uniquely, we operate a lifetime guarantee on your router. If your router breaks, we aim to despatch a brand new one within one working day of the issue being reported.

* Our service commitment to you: When things go wrong we will do our best to resolve the problem quickly and without fuss. If we fall short of your expectations please let us know. As part of our service promise we will escalate your issue and make sure it is addressed quickly and completely.

In many ways Zen’s charter is highlighting some of the things that they’ve already been doing, which people may not know about but now they will (e.g. support for Ofcom’s automatic compensation scheme, providing a free 4G WiFi hotspot loan device during delayed installs or faults etc.). The full Customer Charter is available to download below.

Zen’s Customer Charter (PDF)
https://www.zen.co.uk/../zen_customer_charter.pdf

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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19 Responses
  1. un4h731x0rp3r0m

    Zen are one of the better ISPs but they need to fix a couple of bits of conflicting information in the above if they are serious. Just for starters.

    Item 1 states…
    “… free 4G wifi hotspot loan device with a reasonable amount of complimentary data to keep you connected.”

    Sounds good but item 2 then states…
    “…Keep things simple: We will cut the jargon and explain the features and pricing of our products clearly and simply”

    ‘explain the features clearly and simply’ So what is a reasonable amount of complimentary data? That does not sound clear to me. This ‘device’ also any postage or return postage charges on it?

    “Our service guarantee: Our service guarantee gives you two weeks (after purchase) to cancel your contract if you are not happy with the service you receive, or change your mind.”

    2 weeks “AFTER purchase” Quite how that works i do not know. Sometimes it can be more than a 2 week wait for Openreach to connect you (no im not bashing them before the BT brigade turn up, sometimes issues arise or they are very busy) to be connected. So how would anyone know if they are happy with the “purchase” if after 2 weeks they have not been connected?

    Im actually a bit disappointed with Zen after reading this item, bits of it are contradictory, in places it reads like some dribble BT or Talk Talk often put out. I hope they are not going to turn into the likes of them.

    • spurple

      Reasonable means the amount is variable but they will aim to be generous. I didn’t find that confusing at all.

      Generally, your purchase isn’t deemed to be complete until after your service is installed and activated, then you have a 14-day cooling-off period, which is pretty standard. How is that not clear to you?

    • Andrew @ Zen

      “This ‘device’ also any postage or return postage charges on it?”

      No, we’ll cover the cost

    • un4h731x0rp3r0m

      “Reasonable means the amount is variable but they will aim to be generous. I didn’t find that confusing at all.”

      Reasonable does NOT mean variable, it means “using good judgement, fair, practical and acceptable”. What that is to one person and what it means to another can differ greatly.

      Variable can mean anything and that term was not used. Using that logic they could give you 0Mb. “Reasonable” would NOT be 0Mb as that would not be usable let alone reasonable.

      “Generous” is not mentioned anywhere either in “Zen’s Four Service Promises” so either you are confused, did not read properly or are assuming. I suggest a dictionary either way.

      “”“This ‘device’ also any postage or return postage charges on it?”

      No, we’ll cover the cost”

      Thank you Andrew for that confirmation, that will eliminate one potential concern for people. Could you clear up how much data will be provided, and if that does vary, how do you judge what is “reasonable” on an individual basis?

      The 2 weeks thing, is that as stated and 2 weeks from the moment you “purchase” or pay online when you sign up. Or is it 2 weeks once you are up and running?

    • spurple

      @un4h731x0rp3r0m

      so, when you say “reasonable means using good judgement…” (fantastic use of a dictionary, btw), are you really unable to make the leap from there to concluding that the amount they allot would thus be variable?

    • Clifford

      Why would using good judgement mean you give different people that use your service a variable service?
      That is almost the dumbest thing i have ever heard.

    • spurple

      we’re quickly descending into arguing about semantics here, but how is variable or tailored to each user considered “bad” ?

      For example, personally, if My internet went down and I was offered a 4G LTE modem as a stop-gap, at my normal rate of use, I’d need roughly 7GB of data per week day and closer to 30GB per weekend day due to heavy use of streaming and regular remote working.

      My next door neighbour on the other hand would get by for a week with only about 10GB, being a smaller household (kids have moved out) that does more satellite TV viewing than streaming?

      When I saw the word “reasonable”, I just automatically assumed that they would try to do something that takes my usage into consideration, without tipping their own costs into negative territory — which is fine by me.

      It’s not like I especially look forward to my broadband going down so that I could bankrupt my ISP via mobile data usage, and in my many years of using the Internet, i’ve rarely had an outage at home that lasted more than a few hours anyway.

    • Andrew @ Zen

      @un4h731x0rp3r0m “how much data will be provided…?”

      We don’t have a specific limit it all depends on the circumstances. For example, if you need the 4G wifi hotspot for a couple of days the data needed would be lower than if needed for a couple of weeks. What’s reasonable would also depend on your package. If you have an ADSL package with a 20GB allowance it’s probably not reasonable to expect 100GB 4G data.

      We’ll make sure customers have enough data for web browsing, email etc. but probably not enough for streaming Wimbledon in 4K on BBC iPlayer.

      We’re NOT talking about just a GB or two.

    • un4h731x0rp3r0m

      ^^^ Not to be rude but at worse that to me sounds suspiciously CLOSE to avoiding the question and at best it comes CLOSE to voiding item 2 of your charter which states
      “Keep things simple: We will cut the jargon and explain the features and pricing of our products clearly and simply”

      Your explanation certainly is not “jargon” free (many people do not even know what a GB is or what amount of use would equal a GB) or explaining “features” of a product “clearly”. Saying it depends on x, y or z… Or if this then that… Does not make things “CLEAR”.

      I feel at this point to show im not just arguing I HAVE TO AGREE it would be “reasonable” to allocate how much data a person gets based on the time they are likely to be offline, and the ADSL/VDSL package they subscribe to.

      Unfortunately it is not that simple and that opens a new Pandora box of…

      1. How do you know how long a fault will last? If it is a fault that affects an entire area such as a pole being knocked down or blown down due to bad weather or a Car has crashed into a cabinet (there are plenty of stories on this site about that happening) then the user concerned could be without their regular connection for weeks even months.

      2. You state above “If you have an ADSL package with a 20GB allowance it’s probably not reasonable to expect 100GB 4G data.” which i agree upon.

      Using the other side of the coin though….
      If a user has an Unlimited VDSL package and a car has crashed into a cabinet and they are to be without service for at least 6 weeks, then i trust you would also find it “reasonable” to provide that user with “unlimited data via the 4G dongle for say 1 month (4 weeks out of those 6+ weeks)???

      Unfortunately with your second to last paragraph i doubt that is the case highlighting it will not be enough data for high amounts of iplayer use. Which to me does not personally sound “reasonable”.

      I believe if a persons connection could normally do something then it is “reasonable” to expect your backup solution to also allow it. On a low use ADSL 20 GB account i agree with you NO (you get what you pay for applies there). On a VDSL unlimited account with a prolonged outage YES. Unfortunately that to many will still mean “features” of the product are not “clear”.

      In addition even ignoring all the above and both our personal opinions on things as we could agree or disagree all day. There is now one thing of note i do not see how anyone could deny….

      Adding more conditions, terms, rules, small print (call it what you wish) to the 4G dongle allocation to people and to the product itself will never mean you “Keep things simple” (which is what is claimed in item 2 again). More terms equals more complication which is the opposite to simplifying things.

      Either way i wish you the best. I hope your service continues to be the high award winning level it has been, but the moment you start making statements like these 4 promises can be a slippery slope. People do not like when expectations are dashed, ask Talk Talk and BT who regularly make all kinds of shiny new statements about their products. Which are often just P.R. fluff. I hope Zen does not start to go down that ugly road.

    • Clifford

      “we’re quickly descending into arguing about semantics here, but how is variable or tailored to each user considered “bad” ?”

      Its not arguing it is common sense…
      Talioring implies something is made to fit or ordered. “Tailored” is not “variable”. Variable is not made to fit as by its nature it varies.

      If you went for a meal lets say a Italian with someone and you both ordered Spaghetti Bolognese and you only got half a plate of Spaghetti whilst the other person got a full plate. I doubt you would be happy.

      If you complained and the restaurant manager then said ‘sorry sir it is “variable” portion to portion’ i doubt that would make you any happier about the situation.

      The manager would also not have used “good judgement” unless he wants bad reviews about his product and service.

      The only time you are likely to be happy is if you only asked for half the amount of spaghetti, in which case the meal would then be “tailored” to your request.

      English language is not always an easy thing, common sense is though. Unfortunately the meaning of words has been butchered by so many ISPs in the past “unlimited” meaning nothing of the sort and having limits as one example.

      Saying you “keep things simple” in one breath but then say what someone is going to get is “variable” in another, likewise is a contradiction.

      If something is “variable” its not “simple” to understand what you will get.

      Nor is it “reasonable” to think that “variable” can “explain the features”. You can not explain the “features” if they vary, as by nature they can alter (or be variable) constantly.

      The whole thing to me if a typical PR ISP release and like so many is full of holes. Aimed at stupid people that do not question the common sense or language used. Confirmed to be full of holes when you do question it.

  2. Paul

    Wouldn’t call a company with 126,000 customers popular

  3. Phil

    Some things are just included as fluff and mean nothing.

    “Support anytime, anywhere: Our customer portal provides 24/7 access to a library of guides, articles and self-help tools to enable you to get the best from your service.”

    So not 24 hour telephone support then, just that their website is available 24/7 for searching their guides for self help. Maybe it is just me but I thought all websites were generally available 24/7.

    To Zen, support isn’t helping yourself, it’s someone supporting you, so stating “Support anytime, anywhere” isn’t true, you are providing a search option 24/7 so that’s self service, a different thing entirely and misleading.

    • Jamie

      Heh yeah I thought that too. Also, the self help guides are also not great in many cases and are frequently out of data IIRC. Anyway we do provide some really good customer service over the phone though and it’s getting even better with this new focus on delivering customer service over profit which has given staff more flexibility to help and compensate customers. Anyway I don’t really know too much of the details but I know tech support is open until 8pm Monday to Friday and it’s open (I think until 5pm) on Saturday so it’s only really Sunday you wouldn’t be able to get through to someone which is quite good for a relatively small company.

      The rest of the points seem sincere and worthwhile.

  4. The Archbishop

    Zen’s technical support is open on Sundays too.

    I’m a Zen customer, and everyone’s being very picky about what it seems Zen are trying to do. For example, I could imagine that the amount of data you need would vary between a residential and business customer, so I can see why they wouldn’t quote a fixed amount in this release, but say that it would be reasonable for your needs.

    When you look at how all the bigger ISP’s treat customers, I can believe Zen are trying to do something for the customer here, far more than what makes the most profit!

    • un4h731x0rp3r0m

      “…being very picky about what it seems Zen are trying to do. For example, I could imagine that the amount of data you need would vary between a residential and business customer, so I can see why they wouldn’t quote a fixed amount in this release, but say that it would be reasonable for your needs.”

      I guess i fall into this catagory and i would agree with your statement peoples use can differ.

      However it now seems from Zens reply further up the page which came about 30 mins after your comment. Watching 4k Wimbledon on iplayer (one of the most popular sports events of the year) on your 4G dongle if your service goes down is not a “reasonable” expectation.

      That despite the undeniable fact that last year (2017) The BBC served 24.1 million stream requests during Wimbledon via BBC Sport and BBC iPlayer, making it the most streamed Wimbledon to date.

      “Reasonable” to expect this year will be just as popular and many if they have a regular connection capable of 4k will pick that option. “Reasonable” to not expect them to watch…. Err NO

  5. Bawlk

    What network will the 4G mifi be provided by?

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