Looking for something?

A better 'Ask An Agent' page

Status: Implemented
by joshaw on ‎28-01-2012 20:06


giffgaff ARE getting a bad reputation from the lack of clear, informative and helpful responses from it's agents (which may have been replaced by computer robots by the sounds of things), AND its clearly NOT getting any better yet.


A theory I have is that it's actually EASIER for the average newcomer to ask an agent a question rather than ask the community. In fact, to get to the 'ask an agent' page, it requires just ONE click after log-in, where as it requires THREE clicks to get to the 'ask the community - new message' page (which by way, is more difficult to find). 


In an idea posted by me (and apparently accepted), I highlighted how the 'my giffgaff' page included NO MENTION of asking the community at all, and an idea to attempt to educate newcomers of the community and agents: LINK HERE (It's still not implimented)


But that's not all, asking an agent is so easy, it requires a subject, category and a message, and that is it. That's the simplicity of asking an agent. So why are we wondering why agents are so robotic with their simple pre-written answers and 24 hour waiting times...


Just a reminder, this is what the CURRENT 'ask an agent' page looks like:





So I propose a more detailed and more sophisticated 'ask an agent' page for giffgaff.


It includes an idea posted by Jamesd2010 which suggested that asking an agent requires people to understand that agents are there to answer issues and queries which require personal details, and all other questions can be asked on the community. You can find the idea, and kudos it by clicking here. His amazing idea can be seen at question 3 on my graphic below.


So here it is, to replace the current 'ask an agent' page (seen above) :


Click here to see the full and annotated version of the graphic below




The new Ask An Agent page.


The new page has the following features:

  • A detailed explanation of what giffgaff agents are there for and how to use this resource.
  • Several worded links to 'ask the community', of which is clear and more prominent, advertised to be easier and linked on the page 3 times (one link in each of the 3 segments). The link will take people to the immediate 'new message' page on the 'ask the community' forum.
  • An advertised link to the 'help' tab.
  • (Question 1) A feature which will allow people to prove they asked the community before asking an agent. When doing so correctly, it will prioritise the query to an agent (providing that their question requires personal information to resolve or answer it at question 3) and therefore get answered quicker.
  • The prioritising of queries is not made clear on this page, in order to avoid users cheating to get answers quicker.
  • (Question3) A fundamental filter, which will ask if the user's question requires personal information in order for it to be answered or resolved. For more information, click here to see jamesd2010's idea.
  • (Question 4) A question which will ask if the user is going to ask a 'query' or ask about 'help with a problem'. The 'help with a problem' questions will be prioritised and therefore answered quicker.
  • Includes all the previous questions of the 'ask an agent' page to keep it understandable.


The logic is simple. To reduce the number of questions asked to agents that DO NOT need to be asked to agents, and to further educate people (specifically newcomers) of all features of help that giffgaff offers, including the help tab, community and the giffgaff agents, the correct order they should be used and when to use these resources.


If you like the idea, you know what to do :smileywink:



Status: Implemented
Hi Josh, this has now been implemented, and whilst it certainly isn't as pretty as you visuals, it does include all the features you have outlined - thanks for the great idea and as always, I look forward to your future contributions! They are always a joy to see :smileyhappy:
by jsmyth2112 on ‎28-01-2012 20:45

nice one , kudos

by redux cicerone ‎28-01-2012 20:49 - edited ‎28-01-2012 21:01

joshaw wrote:



for most people, logging in and clicking ONE button to get the the 'ask and agent' page is pretty easy. It needs to be difficult, but not fustrating, in order to avoid agents getting a mouthful from inpatient customers. This is the point to reduce the amount of cases raised with agents. 


Sorry, but don't patronise people.


Even just asking an agent in the first place can be tricky. There are loads of posts on the forum from people who get redirected to the dashboard


So then they have to post a thread asking why it doesn't work, half a dozen answers say ask an educator, then if it's in normal working hours one turns up and has todo something just to make the link work. Why someone in charge of improving productivity hasn't kicked up a fuss and got this fixed, I don't know.


Then the support system can be very awkward for some people whose SIM card is not working.


Log in once, and it says your access has been blocked. Possibly that's a cue for a thread on the forum.


So go to Community, log in again, then go to Help, then the Messages from agents might not work, thread on the forum.


Or the Messages from agents might produce a response that you haven't submitted any cases yet. Post another thread on the forum to ask what's going on. In between the answers about get an educator to fix the link, from people who haven't read the description or haven't heard of this glitch, someone will say try this link instead


And then wow, an agent has replied. The case might even say solved, but maybe it doesn't look like it has. Post a thread on the forum, and someone might helpfully say you can reply back.


So reply back.  Blue screen 404 error. Post on the forum, and someone will say that despite the blue screen the message has actually been sent, work back and refresh the query thread page


Next time an email comes which says an agent replied, sent at 47 or 48 minutes after the hour, and which isn't sent for every reply, and is sometimes sent when there is no reply, or every 2 hours for 6 or 8 hours after the previous reply,  all of which means you have to do this on the off chance sometimes and there isn't going to be a reply, then go through the whole rigmarole again, but you can skip posting as much on the forum the second and third times round unless you don't like what the agent said. Or unless they don't reply.


That isn't one click of one button..


Yes, the system needs some refinement, but I'd start in a different place from yours, and get the bits already there working better.



by oracle pinkcalculator on ‎28-01-2012 20:56
The whole idea of gg and how it works makes it hard for new comers I hadn't a clue what to do and the idea of asking in forum was terrifying but I was totally stuck so I did. Anything that helps and explains things is going to be for the good
by mitchell2010 on ‎28-01-2012 20:58
I agree with you completely, something like this has been needed to be implemented severely for a long time, this should have been one of the top priorities of GG because they knew the company would have had to had grown rapidly at some point and that agents would be overrun with queries so i really dont see why something like this wasnt implemented ages ago.
by drlatheef ‎28-01-2012 20:59 - edited ‎28-01-2012 21:05



I don't think that joshaw was being patronising but simply stating the truth. It wasn't been directed out at anyone but a simple fact to acknowledge the importance of his idea. I think complicating this idea adds to the difficulty in implementing, it is however good to identify any problems, it however shouldn't get personal or rude in anyway but taken as constructive criticism that should be taken positively.

by joshaw ‎28-01-2012 21:01 - edited ‎28-01-2012 21:04



I can understand how it can sometimes be difficult to get to the 'ask an agent' page. However, to be quite honest with you, I dont think it matters how many new threads are put up on the ask the community board, because there are always enough people to answer questions on the community, so it doesnt matter anyway.


I agree, the performance and navigation to the 'ask an agent' page from any page other than the dashboard can sometimes be a fustrating process, especially when linking to it on the community. But regardless, there will be people to help on the community. 


Educators should not even come into this, and they dont need to.


I do think 'people' can be impatient, and thats only natural. But they shouldnt take it out on agents and agents shouldnt have to take it.

I appologise if you have taken offence, this is just a general debate.

by redux cicerone ‎28-01-2012 21:07 - edited ‎28-01-2012 21:09

drlatheef wrote:


I don't think that joshaw was being patronising but simply stating the truth. It wasn't been directed out at anyone but a simple fact to acknowledge the importance of his idea. I think complicating this idea adds to the difficulty in implementing, it is however good to weed out any problems, it however shouldn't get personal or rude in anyway but taken as constructive criticism that should be taken positively.

Well, perhaps someone can explain this to me:


I suggest that joshaw's draft new declaration on behalf of the staff, that they will prioritise cases of people who have already asked the community, that seems to me like it could offend the people with the worst problems, who know that asking the community isn't going to help their case. Why would they want to waste time either asking on the forum only to be told 10 times ask an agent, or else if they avoid that that may end up being longer in the agents queue.


How is that not patronising, that the pre-assumption is that no cases are important enough to go direct to the agents, and someone has to promise they've already asked on the forum, or else they've been warned of having less priority?

by wcssj on ‎29-01-2012 18:00

Hi joshaw: your description says: "The prioritising of queries is not made clear on this page, in order to avoid users cheating to get answers quicker."  but the actual page mock-up (para. 4) says the opposite!:smileyhappy:

You need to be clear on what you're proposing, because this "priority" idea is a significant change, as is the concept of secret priority or explicit priority.


I think that getting priority by first posting in the community is not going to work out very well because it will become farcical for any user who knows the system to go through the motions of posting to get priority when they know full well that they have to ask an agent. They could also end up being accused of pointless posting, pots count gaming etc.


I think that secretly prioritising queries will not work because the secret will soon be known to some users and not to others; I can't see gg implementing something so divisive.


I suggest you scrap all mention of priority and "have you already asked the community". I can see some use for a thread URL field purely on an "additional info for the agent" basis and placed at the end after item 7.

by joshaw on ‎29-01-2012 19:16


I can see your point, and I think its very valid. Perhaps the mentioning of priority on the page should indeed be removed, I agree. However, I can see your point about how priority cases wont work, but I think this is how it makes the new page more sophisticated. Saying that, it could still work without the priority options and questions 1 and 2 could be used just to help the agents as you suggested, and question 4 could also be used just to help out agents, or even be used to sort the cases between different agents :smileyhappy:

by wcssj on ‎29-01-2012 21:04

Thanks joshaw. A second point is regarding the sequence of events were I to select "No" to Q3...

a) Q's 4, 5, 6, and 7 will still lead me to think that I am writing to an Agent rather than the Community (I'd rather not be misled or surprised like that!).

b) when I press "Continue to review", what will happen to my words from Q's 5, 6 and 7? It's not clear whether they will get rearranged into a Community post or completely ignored because they are no longer going to be sent to an Agent.

c) what happens if community question gives the answer "ask an agent" even when personal details aren't needed? Q3 would lead you into a repetitive loop of posting to the community:smileyhappy: (Or are you saying that there is no such question by definition?)


Idea Statuses
Weekly Poll
If you had £1 billion, which luxury device would you get?
Top Kudoed Authors
Users Online
Currently online:4,790 members 2,249 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: