Thursday, April 18, 2013

How to access the elusive Live Chat service of Skype Premium

It can be extremely difficult to find things on Skype’s website. It might have improved somewhat since the Microsoft acquisition, there still are some quite poor usability matters on the site.

What drove me to try using the Live Chat service offered by Skype to its Skype Premium subscribers? Well, it was Windows Update when it recently prompted me to upgrade Skype (to version 6.3, from version 5.11 which was working perfectly). I’m running Windows 8 Pro, which might or might not be relevant, but following this Skype upgrade every time that Skype began its login process Windows became totally useless. The Windows hourglass stayed on permanently, I couldn’t even do the usual thing of launching Task Manager to kill the errant Skype process. Windows 8 had effectively become unusable. My only option was to press the computer’s reset button and a restart of Windows.

(An aside: I couldn’t even open msconfig to configure booting into Safe Mode, the miserably dopey new method needed to activate Safe Mode foist upon us by Microsoft. See here for some articles about this change in Windows 8.)

I was now stuck. Skype was always attempting a login very soon after each reboot, each time causing Windows to lock up completely. But fortunately I got out of this loop by the skin of my teeth, managing after a number of attempts to open Programs and Features quickly enough after a reboot to be able to uninstall Skype 6.3 before it locked up the system.

Phew! No need to do a complete restore of Windows from backup, which seemed to be the only other option. After this lucky escape, I decided to try  using Skype’s “live chat” function – available only to subscribers to the Skype Premium service -- to obtain technical support for this Windows 8 lockup problem. Then I discovered that getting to use Live Chat is a problem in itself.

I wasn’t alone in this, others had encountered the same problem. See their forlorn attempts such as here (“Premium  provides Chat service, but I cannot find the link to Chat service.  Can someone help?”) and here. The latter has the sort of plain guidance that really ought to be on the main Skype Premium page rather than hidden away in the depths of the community forum.

There is no obvious, easy-to-notice direct link to Live Chat. You can only make your way to it in a round-about non-unintuitive way. (Another website navigation design FAIL for Skype, I’ve discussed others previously.)

In the meantime, to help others here’s my illustrated summary of the pathway.

Log in to your Skype Premium account and go to the Skype support area at

This page certainly should have an immediately apparent link and/or button labeled “Live Chat for Skype Premium subscribers” or similar wording.

Ask a pertinent question about your current problem. My question was “Windows 8 freezes after upgrade to Skype 6.3” (click the images for an enlargement):


Investigate the possible solutions provided. If these don’t resolve your problem, then click on the Get more help link in the right-hand column:



Possible solution(s) for your problem get listed at the bottom of the web page:


At last we arrive at the spot where we can invoke Skype Premium’s live chat service, so click the “Start a chat” button:


Wait a while for the Live Chat session to start (in a new browser window or tab).

Choose a general topic (in the left dropdown list) and a specific problem type (in the right dropdown list), the click the START CHAT button in the left bottom corner:


And after a short wait away you go! (This service for Skype Premium subscribers is stated to be available 24/7.)

And now I’m going to commence a second chat to discuss my disconcerting Windows 8 total lockup problems. I’m interested to find out how Skype will be able to solve this, since Windows 8 becomes completely unusable when Skype 6.3 attempts to sign in, meaning that it becomes completely impossible for me to carry out any of the Windows actions  that they’ve so far suggested.

… And it’s really nice to use this Live Chat service, taking minutes rather than days (or even weeks) to get support from Skype! So this service is great, but it’s unfortunate how difficult it can be for a user to discover how to get to it.

The new suggestion is to try installing a version of Skype earlier than 6.3 (such as 6.2 or even 6.1) – which I might try, at my leisure.

An irksome issue is that Windows Update keeps on prompting me to upgrade Skype (currently meaning an upgrade to version 6.3 with all that this implies for me). Even though I’ve turned off automatic updates inside Skype itself, Windows Update is ignoring this setting and keeps prompting for the upgrade.


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  2. Great Article! If you have Skype for Business: There are many chat solutions on the market that rang in price and features. Most of the solutions will require you to have a second client and multiple windows open to reply and address the questions coming in. I have heard of one solution that ties in directly with the Lync/ Skype for Business client and that is Enabling WebChat. Supposedly when a customer clicks on the "live chat" button on the companies website, it will start a conversation that is hosted inside of the Skype for Business chat client. Agents will be able to respond using their Skype client. It appears to be a super cheap solution and allows for unlimited agents. Hope this helps :)

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