Plusnet has a simple goal: to think and act differently from other communications providers, to save customers money and to provide unrivalled customer service. It’s unsurprising then that their brand promise of “We’ll do you proud” is at the forefront of its business strategy.
Coming off the back of an extremely successful 2016, including an impressive 21 award wins and the launch of Plusnet Mobile which firmly established the provider as a quad-play contender, David Leather, Chief Operating Officer at Plusnet, is keen for the company to continue momentum.
“The last year has been really strong for Plusnet and the launch of Plusnet Mobile was a particular highlight for the whole company,” he says. “I’m eager that we continue to push ahead and achieve even more this year.”
For Leather and Plusnet, the company must continue to scale and develop its offering in order to continue to meet and exceed the demands of its customers.
The challenge for Leather lies in that development. “Customer expectations have changed astronomically with regards to product performance, the usage of those products and what customers expect in relation to the money they are spending,” he says.
“As an industry, we have a long way to go to match those expectations, and I think the danger for us is that that is where the benchmark is.” Leather believes that the needs of the customer should form the basis of any improvements the company makes and is part of the company’s strategy for scaling its services and capabilities.
“Being a smaller company makes you think differently in order to compete with big corporate businesses,” he adds.
Despite its successes, totalling 21 awards throughout 2016, Plusnet is very much undergoing a journey about understanding and continuing to put the customer at the forefront of everything it does. In order to grow in line with customer demand, the company invests heavily in research insights, sentiment analysis and customer feedback.
Leather wants to understand what the customer is actually saying about the company. “In my view, customer experience is a feeling. It’s hard to measure and not just a number,” he says.
Plusnet is on a mission to redefine its customer service and ask one simple question: is that in the best interest of the customer? “Contact is not a bad thing. It’s an opportunity for us to fix things and better serve our customers,” he says. “If they want to contact us, then let’s make it as easy as possible for them. Why make it harder?”
It is through this approach that Plusnet works to three main principles of customer management.
The need to get personal
In order to better serve customers, Plusnet must understand who they are, what products they have and what events are happening within their lifecycle with the company.
“There’s a balance to be had in keeping customer validation both secure yet simple. People don’t want to jump through hoop after hoop in order for us to help understand their problem however we also need to keep our customer data protected as an absolute priority,” adds Leather.
Technology will play a major role in this situation, with Plusnet using information and technology to make decisions quickly and to provide better support to the customer.
On the move
The second principle is the response to the proliferation of mobile and smart phones. Leather admits that Plusnet must recognise that the way to get through to this generation of customer is through mobile. “It could be everything from rendering web pages, simplified information to video self-help information. Mobile and the customer is a transformation that will only continue to get bigger,” he comments.
On your time
A major challenge with customer service has been the inability to separate a customer in need of immediate support from a customer who is just making an enquiry. Ultimately, both customer types will need to queue for the same amount of time. “This isn’t consistent with the way we operate in everyday life. We require information on the move, so why should we make people pause everything to obtain the information they need?” he says.
The three principles of customer management represent the customer-first nature of Plusnet. It all serves to one single philosophy; how can the company make it easier for the customer to get the service they need?
With the launch of Plusnet Mobile in November 2016, the company made the move into becoming a full-service quad-play provider.
Plusnet Mobile has built on the company’s ongoing commitment to offer customers great value deals without compromising on the excellent service the brand is famous for. The Plusnet Mobile network offers a range of tariffs, combining generous data, minutes and text bundles at great prices. “Customers have responded incredibly well to our latest offering proving that there is definitely an appetite for it,” Leather expanded.
Over the last 12 months, Plusnet has gone from strength to strength and while Leather admits that there is still a large amount of work ahead for the company, he fully believes that Plusnet stands in the perfect position to continue to deliver market leading service to its customers.
“Right now, I feel Plusnet stands at the forefront of innovatively thinking as to how we support customers. We are very much focused around customer expectation and customer need,” he says.
“I hope we will continue to be recognised as number one in our industry for customer experience and service, but also recognised on a wider industry forum for our offering.”