The BROADBANDRating soft launch happens today folks.
Today is the BROADBANDRating soft launch. BROADBANDRating is a new trefor.net property that seeks to help consumers with their choice of broadband provider. Rather than being site that just compares broadband deals we want to help people decide which ISP to go for.
This is actually quite a difficult task after all there are basically only two flavours of networks in the UK: Virgin Media and BT and most products are the same. For the purposes of this activity we aren’t including the small emerging players who have a limited geographic coverage. All the big ISPs offer highly competitive packages, eg free Fibrebroadband for 12 months (!!!), and occasionally they chuck in amazing sign up deals. For example at the moment TalkTalk are offering £100 worth of Love2shop vouchers to go with an already cheap deal whether you choose regular broadband or Fibre broadband (sorry to lapse into non ADSL2+ and FTTC speak – this consumer game is affecting me :)).
The site is probably only 30% finished but it is good enough to get us started kicking a few tyres. The idea is that we have different metrics that we use to judge an ISP’s service. Initially these include “Phone Answer”, plainly speaking how long it takes a helpdesk to answer the phone, and “Social Media Rating”.
Working on “Phone Answer” has been quite interesting not all providers work the same way. Some ask for a minimal amount of information before sticking you in the call queue. On the other hand others, and Virgin Media specifically spring to mind here, take you through an IVR tree that includes some diagnostics. When emerging from the IVR queue the phone is answered immediately. This has to go down as a highly responsive service on the part of Virgin but is still involves queuing time. We just record the time it takes to get to a human because I think that is what most people will want. All ISPs are called at roughly the same time of day which may differ each day. The response times are converted into star ratings based on a formula that takes into consideration recent historical data.
The Social Media Rating is essentially Twitter Sentiment Analysis. This has been an eye opener. We use a tool to do a first pass Sentiment Analysis and then run a human check. You certainly couldn’t give the checking job to a minor. The language used can be seriously juicy. It also shows how much people have come to rely on their broadband connection and the emotions brought out when the B*&^%y thing doesn’t work. Some ISPs definitely seem to come out worse than others on Twitter. We expect that we will be able to show who gets more outages over a period of time than others because when this happens Twitter gets flooded with complaints. A week or so later and people may have calmed down. We rate a few thousand tweets a week. We must bear in mind that the ISPs listed have millions of subscribers so the complaining tweets represent only a tiny proportion of their customers. One has to consider how many people just put up with problems without complaint.
Social Media Rating currently attracts a higher weighting than Telephone Answer although we will be monitoring this and perhaps tweaking as we add more metrics. How we specifically rate for each category is listed here on the BROADBANDRating site. Some metrics will change more regularly than others based on the type of data being measured. The site should change most days.
BROADBANDRating is up and running but not yet being shouted about. We would be happy to receive feedback, positive or otherwise about any aspect of the site. The links should all work. Maybe you have some observations about the User Interface. It is still very much work in progress and as already mentioned we are only around 30% of the way through.
Please feel free to click on one and if you like what you see buy the service. There are some amazing deals, and that’s not just me saying. Affiliate Marketing commissions are the name of the game.