Knowledge Base

Can we improve the Help & Support process?

Started by: br1anst0rm
On: 21/06/2016 | 13:04
Replies: 31

by: br1anst0rm
on: 21/06/2016 | 13:04 edited: 21/06/2016 | 13:10

The Help & Support forum board is the biggest and busiest on the community website (over 6 million posts, and rising!)


No surprise.  Almost all giffgaff users need help, advice, or information at some stage.


It's also the main and unique feature of the giffgaff model (using the community, rather than a call centre with employees, as the source of assistance).


But it is horribly inefficient.  There are constant complaints about formulaic "cut-and-paste" responses.  If the help-request is vague or lacking in information then would-be helpers have to seek clarification about the exact issue, the model of phone, or the details of the difficulty.  There is debate and anguish about the awarding of Best Answers and who decides them.  And so on.


I don't often try to offer advice and help as I'm not sure I have wide enough expertise and knowledge.  But I was prompted into launching this new thread because of a recent experience where I did try to offer answers to a plea from a new customer who was struggling.


The details are in this post which I have just put into the thread concerned (which is in the Welcome & Join forum).


Briefly, it flags up why the process is not very effective


  • the OP didn't explain the problem;


  • the person needing help has not revisited the thread since asking for assistance;


  • the few people including me who tried to clarify and advise have thus wasted our time and effort;


  • meanwhile the thread has filled up (38 posts so far) with - to be honest - well-meaning but utterly pointless responses on the lines of "Hi, don't worry, you'll be fine";


  • and - most bizarre of all, at least to me - the original post starting the thread which simply said, "I'm new and struggling" has attracted 10 kudos!  Why?


My recent post in that thread has suggested that the H&S arrangements need an overhaul in order to give the process a sharper focus, make it more efficient, and thus help to deliver the practical advice and help that is needed by users.  I shan't duplicate that post:  details are here.  I draw on the example of my ISP (Plusnet) which operates a similar online community-based support system.  It's basically a question of management and organisation.


That is why I am posting this separate thread in Contribute.  I think we need to get a discussion going about how the Help & Support which is vital to giffgaff's reputation is delivered in a way which produces better outcomes more quickly.  This will assist the members who need help.  It will make the provision of advice easier.  Among the beneficial consequences should also be a reduction in the volume of irrelevant posts which don't offer answers.  This should help both the original enquirer and any others browsing for answers to similar problems.

Message 1 of 32
by: alecglasgow
on: 21/06/2016 | 13:11
It is true u see the same problem and yes I have looked and it appear the person that has started it never looks at again. A close post button would be good if it is all sorted ano best answer is like that but a close post would make it clearer I would think ?
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Message 2 of 32
by: premierphotosuk
on: 21/06/2016 | 13:19

@br1anst0rm I agree that something needs to be done, my concern over this it's been a major issue for years in H&S. Perhaps this thread might stir a debate to try to resolve the fore mentioned issues you have outlined, I also have for a while now backed off a fair bit in helping in H&S myself, even when a best answer has been given members are still trying to post more of the same that has already been said.


So I'am all for change surround these issuesSmiley Wink

On now in the photography board. Join in here Let's see and share some of your favourite animals. August challenge.

Message 3 of 32
by: solid247
on: 21/06/2016 | 13:20
Perhaps we need a short advice page that needs to be read AND ticked ,before allowing the post to be live detailing helpful pointers to achieving a answer.
Although it may be a irritant to people with a little common sense 😀
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Message 4 of 32
by: kath72
on: 21/06/2016 | 16:15


Improvements can always be made, and there is plenty of scope in this case.  

Like you I spend less time there these days and your example is typical of some of the reasons why


Any discussion which can improve things is good, but discussion has to be acted on for it to be worth while.  I'm not convinced it is 'horribly inefficient'  as you put it, yes it is clumsy and messy, but people really looking for answers, who come back to check, usually get the benefit of several members help and solutions to their problems


but some initial thoughts from me:



the things which are good on Help are:

  • No matter what your problem you usually get answers within seconds .. no 20 minutes on hold for a call centre.  
  • there are some solid helpers who will stick with a thread and see it through to solution
  • you can get help with things a company call centre wouldn't help with (I once asked for help for something to do with hubbys EE phone and got it)



Things which need improvement

  • too many people posting large amounts of copy and paste 'cover-all' articles without filtering them to give specific answers 
  • too many people posting one liners which are no use (eg. 'ask an agent' with no link even when it is not relevant)
  • Best answers not being set, leaving the post open, we don't know whether it is resolved and someone will no doublt come along and give a ditto answer 3 hours later!
Message 5 of 32
by: alantony1
on: 21/06/2016 | 17:46
I have posted some things similar to what you are talking about. I see people posting comments about slp speeds regarding 4g alot of the responses are find a new network This is not the way to go the giffgaff community want problems solved. If giffgaff is to thrive it needs to address all issues in a timely fashion. Giffgaff is a great network so come on let's make it even better. Alantony1
Message 6 of 32
by: mcilwraith
on: 21/06/2016 | 17:59

the post the op mentions has received 10 welcome is in the welcome and join forum after all.

everything can be improved but basically i believe the help and suport forum does what its there for despite the faults



Message 7 of 32
by: alantony1
on: 21/06/2016 | 18:30
I don't agree that some issues take a lot longer to resolve than others . Giffgaff needs new forward thinking ideas 5 pound top up. The email addresses taking of for sending sim cards out .Just a few iv loads of ideas . people think u can only join of u have Internet access. Giffgaff needs some new marketing and branding. It needs a fresh look has the branding changed since it began. Just a few thoughts. Alantony1
Message 8 of 32
by: br1anst0rm
on: 21/06/2016 | 18:43 edited: 21/06/2016 | 19:13

Hello @alantony1.


In your post above you said...


alantony1 wrote:


....<snip> . Giffgaff needs new forward thinking ideas 5 pound top up. The email addresses taking of for sending sim cards out .Just a few iv loads of ideas . people think u can only join of u have Internet access. Giffgaff needs some new marketing and branding. It needs a fresh look has the branding changed since it began. .......


It's good to have new members who want to suggest new ideas and improvements.  But it's a bit confusing to debate numerous different ideas in a single thread. 


This thread is about possible ways of improving the Help & Support process.  Let's keep it on-topic.


If you want to make suggestions about new goodybags, or the marketing of SIM cards, or re-branding, or other forward-thinking and imaginative things, then please either start a separate thread on each particular topic - or, even better, check out the Labs forum (which has been set up as a place to consider new ideas).  


First, search through Labs to see if your new idea(s) have in fact already been proposed by others.  If so, then add your comments and support to them.  For example, there are already many posts in Labs and elsewhere about the idea of £5 topups.


If you have a bright suggestion which no-one else has thought of, then post it as a new idea in Labs and see what kind of support or reaction you get. That way it helps to keep the discussion organised and easier for everyone to follow.


Enjoy your time on the community forums!

Message 9 of 32
by: br1anst0rm
on: 21/06/2016 | 19:07

In the thread to which I linked in my OP, I mentioned that I was puzzled as to why a newcomer's post saying essentially,  "Hi, I'm having problems finding my way around" had attracted 10 kudos.


@mcilwraith has offered an explanation:


mcilwraith wrote:


the post the op mentions has received 10 welcome is in the welcome and join forum after all.






Well, I'm still a bit puzzled.  I had always thought that kudos were designed for a couple of very clear purposes.   I now quote from the explanation in the Knowledge Base which I have only just found.  The underlining is mine:


 " Why give kudos


There's a couple of reasons to give Kudos........It helps identify great posts, when you're scanning posts you can see particularly good posts/threads that have a few ‘Kudos’.


Additionally, Kudos act as a way of recognising the time and effort someone has put in and encourages good discussion."



So with all due respect, I can't quite see why a post simply saying, "Hello I'm new and I'm lost" deserves 10 kudos.  It's kinder, and more appropriate to greet a newcomer by actually offering a personal comment of welcome.


I tend to think that to be meaningful and to have value kudos - like gold stars in school, or medals in a war -  should be given out sparingly and only to those who make exceptional contributions, not dished out to everyone simply for turning up and signing in!


I'm guilty of going off-topic in this, a thread I started about Help & Support, simply because I'm responding to the post above.  Maybe we ought to open a separate thread to debate the purpose of kudos?  Or would that be too controversial?



Message 10 of 32