Discussion - how can we refine fault reporting on our forum?

Discussion - how can we refine fault reporting on our forum?
Userlevel 7
Badge +2

We need to make better use of the Forum to report faults to OVO.

Since the “new Billing System” / “new Online Accounts” became live at the start of 2020, there has been a pattern of similar faults being discussed here on the Forum. Here we are able to discuss the symptoms to arrive at a better definition of what’s going wrong.

Peer review should assist OVO to more accurately zero in on what is the underlying cause.

In turn, we then need feedback to tell us that a fault has been recognised, accepted for resolution, and eventually that it’s been fixed.


False positives: Some of the faults we discuss here will not be due to a common cause. They will be due to an error/mistake being applied to an individual Account.

Equally, just because I report a fault to Customer Services, and it then gets fixed overnight, doesn’t mean that it wasn’t the result of an underlying error that still remains undetected.

The feedback loop to us on the Forum is essential in order to detect and resolve the root cause of errors. It’s not just a polite way to thank us!

A real-life example of this can be seen in the dialogue between @jewelie and an OVO Engineer, Ben, where the report concerns an incorrect time on an IHD. The fault was “fixed” by Ben sending a command to Read Meter. But this shouldn’t have resolved the issue of course. You will note his frustration in the Topic that the fault has disappeared without the underlying cause being found.


Since then we’ve had a large number of reports about “missing data”. Some of these relate to the IHD, some to our Online Account. Some concern one fuel, but not the other.

Not all will be due to common causes. But it’s frustrating for us customers when a quick-fix is applied to our individual account without our careful fault-refining being respected and the underlying cause being sought.

I expressed that over here on a Topic about missing gas-meter data. A customer had been asked to report his fault as an individual so that OVO could identify his Account.

Let me requote here what I wrote:

If you filled out your Forum Profile, the engineers and programmers could theoretically pick up your account number from there, even tho’ it’s not visible publicly.

That means they should be able to read through the errors we’re reporting and discussing here, but without us needing to email them individually to inform them who we are.

Now, such a mechanism doesn’t work at the moment. But it needs to!

As soon as we get multiple customers reporting similar errors with a few variations, it needs the Forum environment for the programmers to sift through and identify patterns.

We need Tim to find a way to get this to happen. It’s possible that only Moderators can view our Account Numbers at the moment.

They’re on FacebookTwitter and our Help centre has online chat!


The Moderators genuinely do want to ensure the Forum is better used in this respect. This is what Tim wrote here:

  1. We could do a better job of keeping our active members updated on known issues, bulk fixes, updates. Can I ask for your input in how best this could be given? I want to avoid using the private superuser group, as this makes the info more difficult to find by others. @ITGeek123 @PeterR1947 @D10hul @Mikeovo @NoPoke your input as well could be v handy. I can make a new topic to discuss this if need be. 
  2. I also want to make this community a space to flag issues, where members can discuss and agree on details, as you mention, so this can be peer reviewed and universal issues spotted and then flagged to the product team responsible. This space is already set up to do this, with this topic being an example. Perhaps if we get better at point 1, more users will use this space for point 2…


Now I’ve learned that there is an internal system of tickets between Customer Support and the Programmers/Developers or Engineering Teams within OVO

Instead of re-inventing the wheel, it seems to me that this Ticket system should become the building-block of grouping together Fault Reports from us Forum Members.



11 replies

Userlevel 2

(Not a he, if you meant me.)
I've kind of given up, to be honest.  If OVO

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Nope, I meant Ben!

And it’s the “giving up” which concerns me.

It takes such an enormous amount of our effort on the Forum to try and help OVO find faults and fix them!

As I said elsewhere:

At the 2019 Forum Open-day, the lack of feedback to us was universally highlighted as a major reason why the Forum doesn’t grow.

It’s just so frustrating to have multiple customers discussing an issue whilst we gradually home-in on defining a bug… only to then hear absolutely nothing about what action was or wasn’t taken!

The Forum needs to be valued as a more important route for reporting errors and making suggestions. Individual emails don’t have the benefit of “peer-review” which we enjoy here.

Userlevel 5

Intermittent faults and ones that get “fixed” by well intentioned actions of customer support can be the bane of engineers.  But engineers  don’t always do what most would expect or even would consider appropriate.


The Frog and the Engineer!

An engineer was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I`ll turn into a beautiful princess".

He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket.

The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will stay with you for one week."

The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket.

The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I`ll stay with you and do ANYTHING you want."

Again the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket.

Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I`ve told you I`m a beautiful princess, that I`ll stay with you for a week and do anything you want. Why won`t you kiss me?"

The engineer said, "Look I`m an engineer. I don`t have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that`s cool."

Author Unknown

Userlevel 7

Great post, @Transparent - I’m going to make it into an article discussion and promote it, so that we get as many ideas coming in. 


2 things to call out here from me:


  1. Reporting system and feature issues still needs to be done directly with Support, so a ticket can be raised. Even if it’s also raised here on the forum. This helps ensure that individual fixes don’t hide the underlying issue, and volumes and root causes are catagorised. We’re on FacebookTwitter and our Help centre has online chat, which are all recommend channels for this, so that account details can be given (full name, full address and date of birth is ideal) and tailored advice and actions taken. The forum remains unsuitable for this one-to-one support. 
  2. We already have a system of going back and updating topics with the latest info. You can see this in a green box, at the top of a ‘best answer’. We need to get better at this, update more, update them more frequently, and use ticket numbers so users know and can refer to known issues accurately. 


I would love feedback on both of those points, and also I would love to know how best you think we should structure these topics. I suggest we keep it similar to how we currently work. A topic is created for an issue from a customer or from moderators > all following contact is combined to the original topic > the latest advice and support is provided in that one place, via the ‘best answer’. What do we think….?


Let's work together to make and keep this forum as a place where you can get the help and advice you need! 


Userlevel 5

I’m guessing that you have some kind of internal triage on threads,. Assuming this is the case  my suggestion is  in the form of a question: How could forum users change the triage  status,  visibly flag/highlight  suspected systemic software issues? 

Userlevel 7

How could forum users change the triage  status,  visibly flag/highlight  suspected systemic software issues? 


Users will be able to choose what type of topic they create, a ‘conversation’ or a ‘question’ - which has the ‘best answer’ feature. There’s a tutorial topic on this here 


Once a topic is posted, the author can assign and reassign the best answer. Moderators and some Ninjas (super users) can also reassign the best answer. This could be used to ensure the author and other users with the same issue can easily see the latest consensus on the issue.


Leaving a comment on the topic will also bump it up to the top of the ‘Hot topics’ list, on the homepage. That makes it super easy to see. 


Will either of these features work, @NoPoke ?


How about a ‘I’m also effected’ feature? This isn’t available on this platform currently, but if there’s demand, we can get this suggested to Insided….. let me know!  

Userlevel 5

Me Too is probably too similar to bumping a thread to be worth asking insided to add it.

I was imagining that there would be a way of selecting all threads that are suspected of being system software/implementation  related rather than individual situation related.

Userlevel 7

There’s also the ability to add ‘tags’ to a topic. E.g on this topic, I added some tags:



We can agree on a tag for system/bugs, or we can add a tag if it related to a specific tech ticket. We can also add ‘moderator tags’ visible only to those with backend access, allowing us to report on topics with a certain tag. 


There’s still the issue of being able to diagnose the issue here on the forum, without Support looking into it….. in short, it’s tricky to know for sure if customer A’s issue is a bug, and if it’s the same bug as customer B’s bug. :beetle:

Userlevel 5

A forum user based solution does not have to be perfect to be beneficial.  

I like the tag idea.  How might I tag someone else’s post?



Userlevel 7

I like the tag idea.  How might I tag someone else’s post?


At the moment, tagging topics can only be done by the author, or by a moderator with back-end permissions.


We could look at how feasible it is to add this to super user permissions list. But then there’s the danger of incorrect tagging. How do we know that user A know the correct tag to add….? Could adding the wrong tag make the issue worse then no tag at all……? 


No easy answer that’s for sure, but it’s great to get the ball rolling on this! 


Userlevel 5

The problem of an incorrect tag is not so different from the problem of an incorrect reply from a fellow user. 

I notice that I can not tag my replies. Perhaps that would be a way of capturing the wider community's thoughts on what is or is not a (widespread) system software issue?