As someone who travels to over a dozen different countries; in any given year – I have been an avid user of Skype’s wonderful (or not so at times) service since it was initially launched in beta. Sure, less often that not; the line quality is poor & you need to reconnect, but for the most part, the experience and savings have made me a loyal customer. To the tune of several thousand dollars in skype in & skype out charges.
Up until this week, you could almost have called me a Brand Champion, a Skype Evangelist, a VOIP hero if you will. I’d happily convert other non-skype-using nomads whom I pass on my travels; almost taking pride in the fact that I was able to introduce them to such a great product.
That was until I was forced to experience their levels of customer service (or lack there of), over the last two weeks. An experience that seems to be frustrating users by the thousands, as reflected in their forums.
This blog was initially created with a focus on Design, Brands, Trends & Traction. We tend to write about achievements in design, discuss the positive happenings of a given brand or outline burgeoning trends. Almost always, we attempt to keep things positive.
Occasionally however, a brand beckons the request to be called out on how poorly they are handling an aspect of their conversation with their customers. I mean, isn’t that precisely what branding is all about? Your specific persona, the way in which your product or service is perceived, and in today’s marketplace – the conversation and experience your current and prospective customer base has with your brand.
Skype – with claims of great value calls to anywhere in the world, fail to inform you; of how poor their customer service is. Nor, how many weeks you may have to wait for a response to your support inquiry (if they respond at all). Don’t be so quick to think that a Telecommunications company like Skype, actually has a Telephone number you can call; in fact, I dare you to try and find one on their site. It is non existent.
As aforementioned, I have been an avid user for quite some time – spending a great deal on both personal & business calls as I travel. This week however, when attempting to make a rather urgent call to a disgruntled customer of our own (see, we actually have a telephone number), I was confronted with this screen.
My initial thought was that there had been some sort of billing error, had my credit card expired? Did my last auto-recharge via Paypal not work? After a little investigation, I came to realize that in fact; there was no billing error, no issue on my part, my account is in good standing & furthermore; I have an abundance of prepaid credit on my account.
So what gives? I best contact Skype’s customer support department I thought. If I could find it. After weaving through a minimum of 6 different areas of their website, and ‘finally’ finding the place to submit a support ticket when your account has been blocked; I submitted my request & I waited. And then I waited, and I waited – and some two weeks later; 4 support tickets later, and a bunch of posts on their forum. I am still waiting. The only correspondence received, in over two weeks; has been auto responder emails, as below:
Thank you for contacting Skype Support!
This email is confirmation that we have received your request and a Customer Support Specialist will be working to get back to you with an answer as soon as possible.
Because the majority of requests require research to resolve, it can sometimes take us up to 48 hours to respond, though we make every effort to get back to you as quickly as possible and most queries are answered within 24 hours.
Though we will do our best to respond to you as quickly as possible, sometimes the best way to get immediate answers is to search our knowledgebase at http://support.skype.com where you can find answers to questions like:
• How to Use Skype
• Skype In/Skype Out
• Skype Voicemail
• Skype Privacy & Security
• And many other questions
You can also find helpful step by step User Guides at http://www.skype.com/help/guides/ that will help walk you through things like:
• Getting Started Using Skype
• Installing Skype
• Adding a Skype Contact
• Making a Skype Call
• And many more
We hope this is helpful and again, thank you for contacting us. We’ll be getting back to you as soon as possible!
Please do not reply to this automated email,
we will reply to you directly from your support request.
What I would like to know, is how on earth Skype can claim to offer a business grade service? Nobody responds to your emails, nor your support tickets, there is no telephone number to call; and by the looks of the support forums & a quick google search – there are several thousand people with the same problem.
It is completely evident, that Skype, whom are owned by Ebay, have absolutely no regard for their customers. The savings I have made over the past several years by using their service – do not account for the time I have wasted, and frustration that has accumulated over the past two weeks; as I try and get in contact with ‘anyone’ from within their company.
They never explained in their slick marketing messages, that cheap calls, would amount to pathetic levels of customer service. When ebay purchased skype for $2.6Billion back in 2005 – did they not allocate a budget to a customer service department?
Can any of our readers suggest an alternative? I’d happily take my business elsewhere.