People have, for a long time, been asking for a Skype for Salesforce add on. The belief is that by combining this into Salesforce, it would provide some level of convenience for contacting various customers and leads directly from their records within the CRM system.
It’s understandable that, of all the CRM systems out there, people would turn to Salesforce as the one for this kind of integration, as it does rather famously support extension development, and is quite a good CRM in and of itself. But, the question about the validity of Skype for Salesforce isn’t whether Salesforce is a good choice, nor whether it can support this kind of interoperability. No, the question is whether or not Skype is, itself, really all that helpful.
But, we’ll get to that aspect shortly. As far as what it’s designed to do, does this extension actually work well?
Well, yeah, it does work as intended. There aren’t a lot of features to really look at, but it’s Skype, so what would you expect? It can make and receive Skype calls from Salesforce, it can open Salesforce contact details and records when incoming calls are received, and it works with conference call setups too.
So yeah, it works. The problem, however, is that maybe Skype isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, in general. See, the problem with Skype, versus other VoIP systems out there, is that while Skype to Skype calls are free, calls to telephone systems cost money. Granted, it’s pretty darn cheap, as in pennies for a few hours of voice time, but in an era where free outgoing calls are available through Google Talk and Talkatone, this is a bit of a medieval philosophy to still uphold.
Along with this, Skype has a privacy issue that people seem to ignore and I don’t know why. While other VoIP and IM systems of comparable use allow various visibility settings to prevent people not on contact lists from bothering you and seeing your presence overall, Skype lacks this entirely. This results in a couple hundred random internet people bothering you daily, asking to be added to your contact list. They won’t be business people either, just random people with nothing useful to say. Or worse, bots.
This kind of pestering, along with the cost of telephone connectivity makes Skype my least favorite of the VoIP offerings out there, so while I think the idea of integrating VoIP with Salesforce like this is a splendid idea, I don’t think Skype would be my channel of choice, even remotely. I can just see the time lost by busy employees having to shoo off random internet people on Skype begging to be added to contact lists when they have nothing to do with the business at hand, and that makes me cringe.
Ok, so my review of Skype for Salesforce may seem slightly negative at first glance, but the negatives are entirely to do with Skype as a whole, not with this extension. It works exactly as it promises to do, and it does bring all of Skype’s functionality into Salesforce natively and with no problems. The only downside is … it’s Skype, not a good VoIP like Google or Talkatone.