One of the ongoing criticisms of Skype has been the way in which the company really hasn’t engaged well with customers who have issues (real or perceived, but what’s the difference from the customer’s viewpoint?) of one type or another in using the service. Many people give Skype high marks for the technology, and low marks for customer relations and customer satisfaction (in early March, I asked whether Skype is approaching a crossroads in this regard).
This new blog could play a key role in reversing that situation. Skype certainly seems to be highly focused on doing that if the welcoming post on Thursday is a guide:
[…] We know some people have reservations about Skype for various reasons. We often get questions on our history, motives and network architecture, as well as the longevity and sustainability of our business model. On this site, we intend to provide our own view on all these issues, and more. While the Skype forums continue to be open user-driven discussion areas, we will use share.skype.com to spotlight the issues that are interesting to us at Skype at the time. Hopefully, you will learn who we are, what we do, why we do those things, how we think things should work and be done, and where is the whole thing heading – where “thing” can be Skype, the Internet or telecom industry, or the next gadget or Skype feature, or just something that caught our eye.
Indeed, this blog is well integrated into the overall Skype offering, with links to the Skype website, the forums and other resources. If you’re a Skype user, you can log in (that worked perfectly when I tried it) and create a profile of yourself. You have to log in if you want to leave comments – participate, in other words.
And check out some interesting new things – how to earn cash or points, for instance, through referring people to Skype (which looks similar in broad concept to Amazon Associates). I like this new one: in the Facts & Figures category on the blog, there’s an RSS feed you can subscribe to that brings you stats on how many users are online at any one time, amongst other info.
So how does all this now fit with what I said in March that Skype isn’t yet ready for a blog?
If the blog has been developed as part of an overall plan that supports Skype’s strategic business goals – of which building and developing relationships with customers is one element – then I’d be very happy indeed to be able to say: it looks they are now ready. I wonder if ex-Microsoft Lenn Pryor has any fingers in this pie?
(Hat tip: Skype Journal)