Skype – You Done Me Wrong

Well, hello. I’m back. And not just on my blog. I’m now back on Skype as well – no thanks to Microsoft.

A few months ago, I tried to open my Microsoft Skype and found myself locked out. I’ve had the account for maybe 9 or 10 years, all the way back to when Skype was a scrappy little online video conferencing tool called just plain Skype. At the time, we didn’t have too many options when it came to a reasonably good connection, and as a remote employee, it was an essential lifeline to my coworkers.

I know this because, when I went to rediscover my password, I encountered three obstacles:

  1. One of my emails was that very old work address. Can’t respond to that.
  2. Many of the ID questions wanted old answers. I couldn’t remember where I was living at the time or what car I owned when I subscribed, much less who I was connected to in my Skype account.
  3. When I tried to use the other, legit address on the account, none of the emails that Skype supposedly sent back to me actually arrived.

One email told me my account was now blocked due to suspicious activity and that I should try harder to log in. Then, their final response included this sage advice: “Because there have been multiple unsuccessful recovery attempts for this account, we recommend at this point that you create a new account.”

So – they are telling me, a Skype user for 9 years, that I have to start all over again. Who does that? My bank doesn’t. Twitter doesn’t. Even our pool club doesn’t.

I went online, searched for responses to people with the same problem, and found over 5 million search responses to “cannot get into Skype account.” Many of the sites suggested I had no real options, that my fate was sealed. I was the walking dead. Unable to admit defeat, I made four more attempts to get through the maze of automated requests and finally found a contact address and wrote in.

After a few back-and-forths with actual humans (I believe) named Lylle O. and Chariza V. from Skype Customer Service, we were no closer to an answer. Rather than actually go into my account and help unlock it, they continued to suggest that I needed to create a new account. I begged them to call me, offered to supply as much information as I could regarding the account. To prove myself as a real account owner. They stonewalled me. So I gave up.

Fast forward to last weekend: My brother asked me to Skype, so I tried one last effort to recover my account, this time using the mobile Skype app. And what do you know? The email with the verification code came through this time. I had to double verify my account and change the email twice, but I got back in. I also made sure to update the recovery settings.

Looking back to my experience of four months, I can’t help but feel sad for Skype under Microsoft. When a tool with millions and millions of users won’t bother to offer more than automated support tools or give employees the authority to actually help customers, it’s a clear sign that there’s room in the market for a responsive and user-friendly live chat tool. Three lessons here:

  1. Write down all my friends’ Skype addresses and add them to my phone contacts.
  2. Go back to all my old accounts and make sure I have the right email addresses and multiple contact methods enabled.
  3. Try something new: I’ve been hearing good things about WhatsApp, and it’s downloading to my phone right now. Maybe all my Skype friends will join me there.

 

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