Skype's Top-Secret Artificial Intelligence Based Customer Support System (AKA: Sandra Valle)

I’ve made an interesting discovery — Skype Support is run by a buggy computer system, code named “Sandra Valle”, that attempts to use artificial intelligence to read your mail, interpret it, and send out a canned response.

I placed an order for some Skype phones. They never arrived, even though the Skype website reported them as being delivered. Following is the transcript of my attempt to get assistance with the issue.

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Hello Matt,

Thank you for contacting Skype Support.

You’ve contacted Skype Support which deals with Skype services (Skype accounts, Skype PC to PC internet telephony, SkypeOut, SkypeVoicemail, etc).

For any questions regarding hardware orders and other physical products on the Skype Accessories Shop we kindly ask you to contact the Skype Accessories Shop customer support team who will be able to help you with your order.

http://accessories.skype.com/info?&page=HelpTicketSubmit

Please make sure that the country shown on the top left of the page is the country you have ordered from.

If you have not yet placed an order in the Skype Accessories Shop, please do not choose the following categories:

  • Where is my order
  • Other issues related to my order

Only for above two categories the order number is necessarily required

Sandra Valle

SKYPE SUPPORT

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From: Matt Henderson To: Sandra – Skype Support

Hello,

The link that you provided below will not accept my order number. I have spent more than one hour going through your site, and couldn’t find any other option to request help.

Can you please provide some assistance.

Kind regards,

— Matt Henderson

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On Jan 14, 2007, at 7:25 PM, Sandra – Skype Support wrote:

Hello Matt,

Thank you for contacting Skype Support.

You’ve contacted Skype Support which deals with Skype services (Skype accounts, Skype PC to PC internet telephony, SkypeOut, SkypeVoicemail, etc).

For any questions regarding hardware orders and other physical products on the Skype Accessories Shop we kindly ask you to contact the Skype Accessories Shop customer support team who will be able to help you with your order.

http://accessories.skype.com/info?&page=HelpTicketSubmit

Please make sure that the country shown on the top left of the page is the country you have ordered from.

If you have not yet placed an order in the Skype Accessories Shop, please do not choose the following categories:

  • Where is my order
  • Other issues related to my order

Only for above two categories the order number is necessarily required

Sandra Valle

SKYPE SUPPORT

=============================

From: Matt Henderson To: Sandra – Skype Support

For goodness sake, will you please READ my email before replying with this boilerplate text.

  1. I have placed an order with Skype, from the Spain store.

  2. The telephones (Skype phones) I ordered never arrived, although from the Skype website, they appear as being shipped.

  3. The Skype Spain accessories store feedback form will NOT accept my order number, 4565-0433533-001, therefore it is IMPOSSIBLE to submit a support ticket.

Please re-read number (3) ten more times, so that you stop replying to me with a suggestion to visit a form that won’t accept my order number!

If you do not respond to this email with some type of assistance, I am going to contact my lawyer, and begin a procedure to file a consumer complaint against this organization.

Kind regards,

— Matt Henderson

=============================

Hello Matt,

Thank you for contacting Skype Support.

Unfortunately, we have been experiencing extremely high volumes and as a result we are very sorry that we have not been able to get to your request for Billing Support in as timely a manner as we would like. As many issues have been resolved already, we are hopeful that your request is among them.

If your specific request has not been resolved, we genuinely apologize and will be happy to help you. Would you please try:

Knowledgebase – http://support.skype.com/?_a=knowledgebase User Guides – http://www.skype.com/help/guides/

Also, our forums are an excellent resource to help people get answers to specific billing issues. http://www.skype.com/community/forums.html

If your issue has not been resolved, and neither of these methods has helped, please contact us again, and we will do our best to respond as quickly as possible!

Again, we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.

Sandra Valle

SKYPE SUPPORT

=============================

From: Matt Henderson To: Sandra – Skype Support

Hello there!

Thank you for your reply, and we apologize for the results of the last election. It really wasn’t our fault, even though the price of avocados has recently gone through the roof.

If you are in disagreement with color chosen for the cat’s socks, or the trolling motor that was stolen from the boat, please visit our forums, where users are happy to help with either. Some of them are even outstanding members of their own communities, and bank owners in the Caribbean.

Last, and certainly not least, please remember in your reply to make a small donation to your nearest zoo, in memory of Hunter Steve Irvin and the Dalai Lama. It could be tax deductible, unless we are presently in the year 2010.

Thanks again so much for your thoughtful reply. It is a pleasure to business with you, and the other coconuts at the outpost. And don’t hesitate to come back to me if this hasn’t cleared up the matter.

Sincerely,

— Matt Henderson

4 thoughts on “Skype's Top-Secret Artificial Intelligence Based Customer Support System (AKA: Sandra Valle)”

  1. I had the same problem and I noticed that Skype and Aspherio are two a different service Aspherio is handling payments for all physical goods such as headsets, phones and merchandise, while Skype is selling SkypeOut, SkypeIn, and Skype Voicemail.

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