ISP Web Africa has added Skype to its range of consumer contact options, letting customers put Skype calls directly through to the Web Africa contact centre.
Aside from ease of use, the addition of a Skype customer contact channel allows the ISP's customers to take advantage of significant VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) communication cost savings.
“The addition of Skype as an inbound customer service channel means customers can minimise their telephony costs when they're interacting with us,” says Cliff Hazell, head of product & marketing at Web Africa. “For less advanced users, Skype is also a very easy channel to use, so in general it's an important addition to our communication mix. We've received a lot of positive feedback from customers since introducing the channel.”
Skype is one of the world's most popular communication tools. At the end of 2009 the brand was already servicing 529-million registered users, and in the last three months of the same year it recorded 36,1-billion Skype-to-Skype call minutes. Skype is also making steady forays into the global business communications sector, where it is seeking to establish itself as an enterprise-wide communication solution.
“Skype's push into the formal business communication sector could well take time, as there are a lot of well-established players already operating in the market. We are, however, certainly seeing increasing informal use of Skype by mid-sized businesses in the South African market,” says Hazell. “Business people at SMME level frequently use Skype to facilitate quick conversations or instant messaging. This kind of activity, in combination with regular consumer use, means the integration of Skype into our customer interaction channels is an obvious and important step for Web Africa – one we're very pleased to have taken.”
South African businesses are currently adopting VoIP solutions at pace, fuelled by a combination of steadily falling bandwidth costs and increasing line quality. The adoption of consumer orientated VoIP solutions, such as Skype, by South African internet users is occurring within the same market context, and local Skype usage rates are likely to continue increasing steadily.
“With new fibre optic cables coming online across Africa over the next two years there is no doubt the use of tools such as Skype by consumers will continue increasing,” adds Hazell. “We expect a lot of companies will be adding a Skype channel to their contact centres in the coming years. It's an essential element in ensuring consumers can take meaningful advantage of the country's improved Internet access.”