project: Marah

project management for the things that really matter

Skype Customer Service = no love

with 3 comments

This week’s blogpost is brought to you by Skype’s Customer Service dept.  As much as I’d like to write a glowing review of my recent experiences, I can’t, as the experience has left me cold, and canceling my Skype account.

I am an avid Skype user, and a long time advocate of VoIP.  I worked on Lucent’s original PC “SoftPhone” – I was responsible for integrating H.323 video into the product called “Definity Anywhere”.   When Lucent spun off Avaya, those products went to that new company.  The technology I worked on is still evident in their Unified Communications Solutions at Avaya.

I bring this up because I want it to be clear that my concerns are not with the technology or the product itself, but how the company treats its customers.

lobstertelephoneSimply, one afternoon, I made a phone call. 20 minutes later my account was blocked.  There was no explanation on the application other than a link for more information.  Moving to the website, I received the same message under my account, and then a link to find out more information, that sent me in a loop.   I downloaded new software, I rebooted, etc, etc,  to no avail.  I felt as if I had  Dali’s  Lobster Telephone – something very pretty to look at, but not quite right.

Eventually I found the correct link to fill out a customer complaint form, (which was hard for me to find as a logged in user) … and this form has a drop down menu for “blocked accounts”.  I filled out the information and received an automated response letting me know they’d try to get to me in 72 hours.  I did not receive a tracking number.

Of course, 72 hours come and go, and I receive no indication that Skype has ” MA004″ but it turns out that every Skype ticket I have ever opened gets this header.

Before I continue, let’s deconstruct what’s gone wrong already:

Communications Management: Fail

Service was interrupted without explanation or warning. There was no email sent to notify that I was blocked, no error codes, next steps, nada.  This resulted in my lost time and high frustration.  I believe that if I had received an email stating any of the above, I would be a happier customer, and likely having to find something else to blog about.

Project Initiation: Fail

Project Control: Fail

The automated response to my customer service request was not awarded a tracking number.  This meant that I wasn’t even a number in their system, and had no recourse for following up on my ticket.  Only much later did I find that I could seek ticket escalation through Skype Forums and the very nice volunteer moderators.   My ticket was somewhere, I just had no idea where.

It  took a solid week to receive a response with a ticket #.   At that point I received another canned response from Ricardo at Skype Support.

You are receiving error #940* when making calls because your credit transaction has been flagged for verification.

In order to resolve this matter we must check your payment information against our data. We request the following information from you:

1. Your Paypal registered e-mail for verification.
2. First name, last name and the registered address for your account.

What’s fascinating, I don’t pay for my Skype Account through PayPal, and furthermore, I’m paid through June.

Communications Management continues to fail becuase I have no idea if they want a physical registered address or the registered email address . At least now I have an error code – which has been missing from the application and the website feedback thus far received.

I send back all the information I can think of, and wait. and wait.  about 3 days go by, and I start wondering if I’ve dropped into a massive black hole of Skype customer (dis)service.    On hour 74 I receive an automatic email requesting that I fill out a customer satisfaction survey.  Figuring that this means my ticket is closed, and the account should be active, I try calling … and Surprise! I’m blocked.

Customer satisfaction surveys are generally completed at the completion of service or process, so I’m convinced that they think the issue is closed.

They get an earful in the customer survey.  And I start looking for ways to get my money back. Which is what leads me to Skype Forums.

There I find a lot of information and very nice gentleman (Norman) who, as a moderator, can advocate for ticket escalation and review.

It boggles me that I have to go Outside the customer service process to fix the process.  It boggles me that this tidbit of information, though seemingly the official way to “get things done” is missing from any communications I receive from the Customer Service Team.

After some very nice emails with Norman, and 10 working days after my customer request, I have call privileges again.  I’ve paid through June, and will be using my time to evaluate Yahoo! Voice and other solutions and will soon move to an alternate provider.

Until then, back to the grind, and coffee with an dear friend.


Written by marahrosenberg

6 February 2009 at 4:13 pm

3 Responses

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  1. My account has been blocked for 5 days. I contacted skype support many times. They just sent me back messages by computer, all garbage, no live person back to me to solve my proble. I just paid for a whole year, what can I do?


    17 February 2009 at 11:38 pm

  2. Derek,

    Sorry to hear that you are having trouble with Skype, and I’m glad that you’ve reached out through the blogosphere for help. I am not a skype support representative and I don’t have any lines of communication to skype.

    However, that being said, the end out of your situation is that Skype believes that your account has been compromised or phished.

    The first thing you should do is check your computers for malware, and make sure that you have a clean and secure way to access your accounts. Then change all your passwords to new strong passwords. The sooner you can change your password(s) the better.

    Then, after you’re more confident that you and your data are safer, reach out to skype support via the volunteer run forums. Here is the article that tells you what to do if your account has been blocked and you are experiencing non – responsive customer service

    If your account has been blocked please include the following information in your post:
    1. Your username (you can advise this by PM if you wish it to remain confidential).
    2. The date you filed your FIRST ticket to Customer Support – approx. will be OK.

    Please note that accounts cannot be unblocked from the Forum.
    Only Customer Support can arrange this. If, after 4 business days, you have not received a reply to your ticket and/or your account remains blocked a Moderator will take up your case

    Norman is very nice and will help you resolve your concerns, as he is a skype forum moderator. I can not offer more help on this, as I am just another dissatisfied customer who went through the same process.

    I hope that you get this resolved soon,



    18 February 2009 at 2:24 am

  3. This is an epic post, I will definitely be adding your blog to my bookmarks.

    internet connection test

    19 December 2009 at 6:30 pm

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