Simple callcenters with Skype
There’s an easy way to set up a helpdesk, weather forecast service, horoscopes-on-demand or similar service using nothing but Skype (and a few smart people to answer the calls).
The trick is having all your operators use a single shared Skype Name. So when a call comes in, the Skype client of each operator starts to ring. As soon as the first of them picks up the call, the ringing stops for others too (they will see a “missed call” event, but more about this later).
]]>Now when another call comes in while the first operator is still speaking, the Skype clients of all other operators start ringing, and stop as soon as the next operator answers the call. As before, everybody else including the first operator who was still busy with another call will get a “missed call” event.
The obvious question is “how does an operator differentiate between the ‘missed calls’ that were answered by another operator, and the ones that were actually missed?” The answer is that you’ve got to activate Skype Voicemail for this shared account: only the calls that ended up in voicemail have missed all operators and you’d be nice to call’em back.
Of course you can use Skype API to build a more sophisticated solution — and share it with (or sell it to) other people — but that might be enough for getting started.
P.S. Thanks to everybody for comments on Naked Skype. We’re not rushing to create it (at least in immediate future) but I cannot get the idea out of my head and your continued feedback helps me polish it up for later.