eBay Drops the Ball with Skype Crisis Communication
Om Malik rightly asks where was eBay’s management during the recent Skype outage? For a company that supposedly understands the value of web communities, it failed to ease the concerns of Skype users who went 30+ hours without service.
Ebay CEO Meg Whitman, Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom, and other Skype management made no statement, gave no assurances to their community, leaving their PR agency and the blog to keep people informed. Of course, this led to even more speculation, rumors and innuendoes.
Sure their words wouldn?t have brought the service online faster, but it would have made it clear to Skypers that eBay?s management cared. Skype President Henry Gomez has background in corporate communications, so he should know a thing or two about crisis management communications.
I’m a heavy Skype user and was appalled that I didn’t get a single update from Skype. In fact, if it weren’t for the blogstorm, I wouldn’t have had a clue as to what was going on. It’s only today that we learn the outage was due to an update and resulting re-boot by Windows users.
So, should we expect more from Skype? Most people get Skype for free, so are we asking for too much? That’s the question Mark Evans asks…
If, for example, you?ve never paid a penny to use Skype can you really complain too much when it goes down for awhile? Sure you?ve become dependent on it as an everyday communications tool but what do you expect for nothing?
Well, I happen to use Skype for my main business number and I pay them for a SkypeIn number and SkypeOut credits. So, yes, I expect the service to work. At the very least, I expect to be notified of why I’m losing $XXXX an hour due to clients not being able to reach me.
So, what could have Skype done differently?
- Email all users – at least those that have spent money with them – and let them know what is going on.
- Public apologies and updates from someone senior at eBay/Skype, not just vague blog updates.
- How about some token of apology? Maybe some free credits? I ended up having to take client calls via my cell phone – any idea how expensive that is?
- What exactly has been fixed, how can I be sure this won’t happen again, and why shouldn’t I switch to a competing service?
What do you thing? Do you think Skype handled this well?