Just when you had added all your channels to your contact centre… another one comes along.
Skype, meet our Call Centre Helper readers. Readers, meet Skype!
What is Skype?
Skype is a free online platform that enables users to make face-to-face video calls, as well as voice calls and web chat. It currently has upwards of 300 million users worldwide, has no regional boundaries, and can be accessed via phones, computers, TVs and games consoles.
It is already a well-established channel in the personal lives of consumers, with approximately 370,000 minutes being spent on Skype calls every 60 seconds (according to research by Go-Globe.com). This equates to 22 million minutes being used every hour.
Up until now Skype has been fairly limited in its capabilities. However, it has recently been acquired by Microsoft and is subsequently set to become the next big disrupter to the industry for voice, Instant Messaging (IM) and video chat.
How can it be used in the contact centre?
Skype can be used in the contact centre in a variety of ways:
- Low-cost voice channel into the contact centre – Since a Skype call is free, it makes it much easier for your customers to contact you, particularly for international calls.
- Instant Messaging – Customers could contact you directly through Instant Messaging rather than going through web chat.
- Presence Information – Using Skype you can broadcast whether your contact centre is open or closed. This will probably create more pressure on extended opening hours.
- Video Chat – One-way or two-way video could likely become a fast growing channel.
Video can enhance the contact centre in a number of ways. Some contact centres (such as Schuh) are using the channel to increase their online sales, while others (like Amazon) are using it to offer exceptional customer service.
To gather some insight into how video could be used in the contact centre, we asked our readers “Where would you most likely use Skype in the contact centre?” The results revealed:
- 39% would use Skype as a general voice line
- 34% would use Skype for selling and/or show and tell
- 35% would use Skype for specialist business processes
- 59% would use Skype for general customer service
- 29% would use Skype for competitive advantage
Outside of the traditional contact centre, some banks and hospitals are also incorporating Skype into their services, allowing mortgage advisors and doctors (respectively speaking) to remotely connect with their clients.
Frequently asked questions… Answered!
Q. Has any consideration been given to PCI compliance when using Video Chat?
A. While there has yet to be a black and white report on how to ensure PCI compliance while using Skype in the contact centre, there is some peace of mind to be gained from the following security testimonial:
“Here at Skype we use standard internationally recognized and accepted encryption algorithms that have withstood the test of time over many years of analysis and attacks. This protects your communications from falling into the hands of hackers and criminals. In so doing, we help ensure your privacy as well as the integrity of the data being sent from you to your contacts.”
Q. What changes will I have to make to my agent’s workstation before introducing Skype?
A. Video adds a whole new dimension to the contact centre, as your customers will be able to see your agents as well as hear them. You will therefore need to ensure that all of your agents look presentable before going on camera, that the lighting in your office doesn’t interfere with the quality of the image, and that video calls aren’t going to be disrupted by people walking past in the background.
Q. Is video calling a real requirement in today’s contact centres or it the case of more tech-savvy consumers wanting to use the toys on their smart devices?
A. The bottom line is customers are now tech-savvy and this technology is here to stay. As a company, you should expect to have to handle your customers differently. – Simon Foot at Ember Services
Q. Can Skype be integrated with current ACD?
A. Yes for basic voice. But as soon as you want to expand into other channels you would need to look at integrating Skype with a layover feature such as the Genesys SIP contact centre solution. – Guillaume Calot at Genesys
A. We remove the need for integrating Skype with the ACD by only using it for reception/general enquiries/sales chats. I find that it is then best to drive conversations towards one of our integrated channels in order to go into more detail. – Alexander
Q. Why is Skype better than some of the similar products on the market?
A. I think it is better as it already has a huge user base to tap into. Its features have also been further enhanced by Microsoft Lync integration. – Stu
A. One key advantage of your customers having Skype on their mobile phones or tablets is that you can physically take the phone/tablet to the issue they have. For example, if they need help finding a fuse in their car, they can show you the fuse box and ask which one it is.
This could also be of benefit to the emergency services, who would be able to visually assess a situation before sending out an ambulance. – Ian
Q. Is there a notion of unique queuing for Skype contacts: chat, video, voice call?
A. During a Skype customer service call, you can use the video part to make the queuing more pleasant (loop some simple tips or advertisement). This could also be used during the agent conversation.
In this way, non-video-enabled agents can be used for answering video call without providing just a black video window or static picture. – Bart