Plusnet customers confused over visibility of broadband only packages
Broadband packages ten years ago were very simple, you just had a choice of a 0.5 Mbps connection as a consumer, or if your wallet was very large perhaps one of the 2 Mbps business connections. Returning to the current decade it is now the case that a provider can have a dozen products with a myriad of options, making it difficult to quote a single price without a long list of conditions.
This potential for confusion caused a fairly long thread on our user forums, where Plusnet customers both current and potential future customers were having problems finding the broadband-only products on the providers website. People found that by using different browsers and sometimes clearing cookies they could see both the broadband+phone and broadband-only packages. The reason for this is apparently some A/B testing that Plusnet was using evaluate different versions of their site.
"At Plusnet we regularly run 'split tests' where visitors to our site will see different versions of the website compared to others. These tests run for a limited time only to help us understand the impact each version may have on performance.
Customers have the option to select ‘broadband only’ during the sign up journey and they can also access broadband only by using the site’s search feature or directly at: http://www.plus.net/home-broadband/broadband-only "Comment from Plusnet
We should point out to avoid any confusion, the broadband-only products from Plusnet still require the payment of voice line rental, but they give users the option of having the telephone line rental with another provider if they so desire. Generally the broadband-only products do not feature in the various promotional offers, as the potential extra revenue from telephone calls makes a phone+broadband more attractive to a provider.
While it is acceptable for a provider to do A/B testing, the difficulty of finding the broadband-only packages without resorting to a search engine would give many the impression the provider had dropped the product. Hopefully Plusnet will learn that while testing different web layouts to give prominence to the most popular options might seem sensible, you should never make the alternate products unduly difficult to find.