Skype Support Experiences

A few weeks ago, we decided to test whether providing support via Skype would be a more popular (and suitable) way to contact us regarding ORF problems than our regular support lines (phone, email and our newsgroups). So I started to look for a good headset for this purpose, but surprisingly, neither of the manufacturers keep in mind that somebody will wear this thing for 8 hours straight… I read a hundred reviews but all headsets have this common problem: even the most expensive models are very uncomfortable to wear. OK, their sound is loud, clear and cool, but I do not really care if my skull is in a clamp for hours. I prefer large earpieces which are large enough to cover my (also large) ears on my large head. Maybe I am not part of the target audience, but even large headed people should use Skype sometimes :) (note to self: market gap)

Finally, we decided to buy a Sennheiser PC 135 USB headset. It has all the problems I mentioned above, but it will do.

The next step was creating a Skype account for the support calls and indicate our status on our website. It was easy to setup by following the steps described in the Skype FAQ. The final result was a link, which should indicate our status, but it does not: it shows me online even if I am offline. Great!

But at least our users could give us a call or chat with us about ORF problems, and we thought it would be a good thing none the less. So we waited for the first call and… in a couple of hours later, we solved the first problem via Skype, and some others later. Most of the callers preferred chat instead of talking, which is good, considering my terrible Hungarian accent. A couple of days later I started to see some weird things: Skype notified me about unanswered calls (from the US) from 4 days before. Why didn’t it notified me on the day after the calls took place? I have no idea… We solved these problems via email by the time Skype notified me, so it does not really matter, but still: it does not work the way it should.

As our company is located in Budapest (Hungary), at least the Skype calls are cheaper than calling us from the other side of the globe, but it cannot provide a solution for the timezone differences: if an ORF-user calls us when nobody is in the office, it doesn’t matter how he calls us… Additionally, we did not receive more calls via Skype then via phone, so it seems that the price of the call is not really a deciding factor.

Peter in the background

I think we will keep this channel open for our users, as even the low number of calls worth it if the result is a satisfied customer. (Oh, it sounds so cheap, but that’s the way it is :))

2 thoughts on “Skype Support Experiences

  1. David L. West

    Have you thought about setting up an Asterisk server? You could buy phone numbers from whatever countries you needed and get a little more control over call-handling than you have with Skype.

    For what it’s worth, I use Asterisk and skype together; my SkypeIN numbers are set to ring over to another number that goes to Asterisk if I don’t pick up on Skype.

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