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Need Better Customer Support? Take It to Skype

Today’s post is from contributing blogger Jim Courtney, entrepreneur and author of Experience Skype to the Max.


An experience last week brought a sharp reminder that Skype remains a significant tool for customer support. Sometimes our communications activities become so transparent to the underlying technology that we forget the full value-add of the offering.

I am the webmaster for a small vacation lodging rental company associated with a vacation condominium at a major Eastern Canada ski and golf resort. Our website uses WordPress to provide an overview and take reservations. For the latter, the website is tied into a cloud-based hotel management system that supports the entire guest visitor experience from booking reservations through to issuing a final invoice. This involves coordination with the hotel management system provider.

Recently the hotel management system provider pointed out that the link into the reservation system had an issue for visitors using the latest version of Internet Explorer. I was provided with a phone number to call their support team. As is my habit these days when in my office, I use Skype to make such calls.

During the past couple of years I have found myself using multiple desktop/screen sharing offerings, but at the mercy of the company whose tech support operation I have contacted. Yet I usually communicate with my own clients using Skype and its various features. In this particular situation, I was able to turn the tables and convince the support agent to use Skype to support the conversation.

Support for Support Agents

The support agent had suggested I send critical information via email; I responded by asking if he had a Skype account. One minute into that Skype call and I realized we needed to exchange URL’s, identify correct spellings and share some screen captures.

screen share

In the course of the conversation, we:

  • Brought up Skype screen sharing, selected an FTP client window
  • Shared an image (using SnagIt’s sharing to Skype feature) showing how to access the website files via ftp.
  • Exchanged WordPress login information
  • Browsed the website to point out and confirm issues visually
  • Identified inactive URL’s that needed to be replaced
  • Confirmed the spelling of a French word
  • Exchanged email addresses with actionable links
  • Shared actionable URL’s

In closing the conversation I suggested the company look into using Skype as a communications tool to complement their other support infrastructure. A day later I received an email requesting additional information, so I created a Skype chat to exchange to clarify a situation, including references to archived information provided during the initial conversation.

One more important feature: on Windows and Mac systems, all that information is stored for later recall using Skype’s Search feature (Ctrl-F or Command-F brings up the search box). I have some contact dialogs going back six years and find it very handy for “forgotten” information, such as URLs, meeting notes, passwords and more.

Skype has evolved over the past ten years. But in these times of changing and evolving communications choices we can easily forget that Skype remains a premier tool for chat/voice/video calls along with real time screen sharing, sending files, and placing calls to landlines and mobile phones worldwide. Incorporating Skype as one more tool into a business’s customer sales and support activities can backup sales conversations, make support more productive, ensure that text-based information is clearly spelled out, easily identify issues visually and monitor suggestions for remedies. Recently I used its conversation log as backup for invoicing for my services. And it provides a higher level of security beyond that available via traditional email.

Already using Skype for customer support? Share your experience in the comments.

Check out Jim Courtney’s eBook, Experience Skype to the Max, for the complete picture of the Skype ecosystem, including not only software but also hardware that will give you the best audio and video quality.

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