What is Skype Connect
In the business environment, the connectivity with your customers holds the leading role in the advancement and arrangement of promo-campaigns of your projects. Specifically for these purposes, Microsoft has prepared a special service for their committed Skype business clients, which has gained a title of Skype Connect.
What is Skype Connect, what is it designated for, and how does it work?
It is important to reply to all customer requests and questions in a well-organized and diligent way. One of the methods to arrange and maintain such an environment is a Session Initiation Protocol (in short, SIP) standard. SIP is a transfer data protocol that describes the way of initiation and completion of user web-session which involves exchange of multimedia content (IP-telephony, video and audio conferences, instant messaging, online games) between interlocutors.
The service works in a conjunction with PBX-stations. PBX, abbreviated from Private Branch eXchange, is a multiline telephone system, which is applied in business environments in the ordinary way. As a matter of fact, they provide different features related to call handling.
Skype Connect is a special service that maintains the connection and responsiveness between your business and Skype audience. While using Skype Connect, your company can considerably reduce telecommunication expenses without acquiring new equipment at all or purchasing it just a little.
The main purpose of Skype Connect is to assist the enterprises in calling Skype subscribers and receive incoming calls on the landline phones. Besides, with the service applied, your web-clients will be able to communicate with your institution for free via Skype buttons by calling on one of the actual Skype accounts and by calling your Skype numbers.
How can you manage and work with Skype Connect service?
You can manage the service via Skype Manager module (formerly known as Skype for SIP).
If you decide to purchase Connect Skype module, you will be ought to set up Skype Manager firstly:
- Generate the manager user account by referencing the following link and clicking the Get started button.
- Follow the precise instructions on the screen in order to register Skype Manager. You can use an already existing Microsoft account or create a new one from scratch.
Important note: The account you are going to apply during registration will be used for administering products and your current Skype balance within your organization. That’s why we recommend to create a totally new Skype account. The instruction of creating a new Microsoft account is described in “How to create Skype account” FAQ section in detail.
- Once the authorization is completed, you are requested to specify your company name to correctly identify you in the service. Type in your company title and click the Continue button.
- Now you have successfully registered your Manager account and are able to perform any operations from the dashboard.
- After you got access to the dashboard, click the Features menu on the tools panel and then select Skype Connect item on the left side of the screen.
- At last, everything is ready for proper usage of Skype Connect.
How to create SIP profile and what is its purpose?
SIP profile is a user-defined custom account that includes all configuration data for connecting to Skype service. You can create and customize several SIP profiles according to your current budget and business needs. For instance, you can create a discrete profile for each of your departments. After that, you can manage each of the SIP profiles individually. Also note that in scape of one individual SIP profile, you can use no more than 300 parallel channels.
Here is a detailed guide on how to create a new custom session profile:
- access to Skype Manager by authenticating to dashboard, as it was described in the “How can you manage and operate with Skype Connect service?” chapter of this guide.
- click Features on the toolset panel.
- in the menu on the left, select Skype Connect item.
- click on the Set up a SIP profile option.
- Specify the name of the profile you would like your service to be associated with. Click the Next button.
- Now you are suggested to specify the profile billing address and contact details. This step is optional and serves only for your convenience. If you want skip this step, you can provide all the required info afterwards. When all the info is typed in, click the Save button. Now we are ready to go further.
The password to your group dashboard will be sent to the email provided before.
SIP Profile credentials and authentication details
If you are using SIP registration, take a note regarding the SIP Profile authentication data. Here’s how you can view them:
- After logging in to the dashboard, access the Features menu and after that, select the Skype Connect item on the left.
- Scroll to the active SIP profile with the relevant authentication details you want to view and click the View profile option.
- In the menu on the left side of the screen, click on Authentication details. The contact details specified during the SIP profile registration are presented.
If you are using PBX with SIP-protocol that doesn’t support SIP registration:
- go to the IP Authentication tab
- define your public UDP-port and IP-address in the corresponding fields represented and press Continue button.
After that, the form with the data required for PBX setting up (IP-addresses and web-servers) will be displayed.
How to rename and remove SIP profile?
In addition, you can rename your SIP profile in case of need:
- Log in to Skype Connect account as described before
- Go to Features – Skype Connect menu and click View profile option next to the profile you want to rename
- click the Profile field and type any new name
- click the Save button to save the modifications
In order to delete previously generated SIP profile:
- log in to service dashboard, go to Features – Skype Connect menu and select View profile item, as described above, to view the details of the SIP profile you are going to delete
- click Delete this profile button below
- confirm your decision by clicking Delete on the confirmation box.
Important note: once when you remove your SIP profile, the following actions will be executed as well:
- The credit designated to this SIP profile will be returned to main manager balance.
- Messenger numbers will be returned to manager for further allocation.
- The calls history will be lost. In order to receive the calls history log, use reporting features before the SIP profile deletion.
Acquiring the channels subscription
The subscription on the channels allows to use relevant number of simultaneous phone connections to your SIP profile. The fees for the subscription are collected monthly. The service supports up to 300 channels of calling in each individual SIP profile that affords to maintain 300 parallel conversations.
If you still haven’t made a subscription to the channels during the creation of SIP profile, it can be performed later.
In order to make a channels subscription:
- log in to Skype Manager account, as it was described in detail before
- on the toolset panel, select the Features option
- in the menu on the left, select Skype Connect item
- select SIP profile you want to initiate the channels subscription for and press View profile
- click the Buy a channel subscription to activate this profile button
- specify the maximum quantity of channels which, according to you, your company may need.
While acquiring more than 100 channels, their quantity is rounded up or down to the number divided by ten. The channels can’t be transferred to any other profile, but you can create as many profiles as you need.
If you can’t decide how many channels you do you need, click on the “How many channels do I need?” option and look onto the recommended quantity of channels for the companies with different number of employees.
The channel subscription is registered for 30 days starting from the purchase date, and if you do not apply any changes or cancel it completely, it is automatically resumed for each 30 days. The channel subscription is paid from the primary balance of your company in the manager but not from the SIP profile.
- If you often call to USA and want to pay for such calls less, use minute bundles for calling to USA. Each of the bundles includes 5,000 minutes per month. These minutes can be used for landline and mobile phones in USA. Click the Add US minute bundles button and specify the corresponding quantity of bundles. The summarized monthly pricing on all call bundles will be automatically displayed on the screen.
Important note: The number of bundles which you can buy should not exceed the quantity of calling channels at your disposal. If your bundle minutes are wasted before next credit replenishment, the US calls will be paid from your manager credit account via standard Skype Connect rates.
- Press Buy now button.
How to apply adjustments or cancel the channel subscription?
In order to adjust subscription for Skype Connect channels, do the following:
- Find the SIP profile with the required subscription registered formerly
- Click in any area of Calling channels field
- Select Change subscription option
- Specify the needed quantity of calling channels
- If you want to add minute bundles for US calls, or change the overall quantity of bundles which you have bought during the creation of profile, click on Add US minute bundles and type in the required number of bundles
- Press Buy now button. The channel subscription is registered for 30 days starting from the purchase date, and if you don’t apply any adjustments to it or cancel it completely, it is recommencing automatically for each 30 days.
Important note: you can apply adjustments to Skype Connect channels subscription for any individual SIP profile not more often than once per day. If you change the subscription terms (for instance, increase or decrease the quantity of channels), the existing subscription is ceased, and the non-allocated credit is brought back to your manager account, which is counted proportionally to the time period left till the end of the paid term. New channel subscription takes effect right away and is valid during the next 30 days.
In order to cancel channel subscription within Connect service, perform the following actions:
- Choose the SIP profile with the proper subscription registered;
- Click in any area of Channel subscription field;
- Select Change subscription option;
- Use Cancel subscription button. You will see a warning on the screen which notifies that you are going to cease subscription for the SIP profile. The date of ending the validity in case of cancelling the subscription will be also displayed in the warning;
- Confirm your decision by a bare click onto the Cancel subscription field.
How to allocate credit to SIP profile financial account for outcoming calls?
If you are going to make calls, you can allocate money to SIP profile credit in order to control wastes. Moreover, you may prevent a chance of blocking outgoing calls because of the absence of money on your SIP profile financial account by applying the automatic replenishment of your account feature.
The payment for channel subscription and numbers is carried out from the primary account of your company within the manager.
In order to transfer money to SIP profile account, do the following actions:
- Log in to Skype Manager, as described formerly.
- On the toolset panel, click the Features button.
- In Features menu, select Skype Connect item on the left side of the screen.
- Find the SIP profile in the list of your actual profiles you want the money to be transferred to and click View profile button.
- If you haven’t allocated money to SIP profile before, select Set up outgoing calls option.
If you have allocated money to SIP profile account before, click within any area of Outgoing calls line.
- On the Add credit tab, enter the amount that you would like your SIP profile account to be replenished by.
- Press Add credit button.
- If you want to enable the automatic account replenishment, open the Auto-recharge settings tab.
- In the “Recharge member’s account with” line, specify the amount of money you want your account to be automatically replenished by.
- In the “When balance falls below” line, specify the minimum threshold of SIP profile account balance. When it is reached, the specified amount will be automatically transferred to your SIP profile account.
- Click the Save changes button.
How to take money back from the SIP profile?
You can take your credit back from the SIP profile. Here is the guide how to bring this idea into life:
- Select the SIP profile you want the money to be taken back from;
- Click in any area of Outgoing calls line within your SIP profile;
- Click Take back credit. Once this is done, you will instantly see the message where you should specify the exact amount you want to be taken back;
- Approve your action by clicking Take back credit on the confirmation box, and your credits are brought back to your Skype Manager account.
Setting up incoming calls via Skype accounts
You can also add numbers to SIP profiles in order to receive incoming calls from mobiles and landlines. After that, you can allocate the messenger buttons on websites and into emails so that the customers are able to call you through messenger.
In order to connect your Skype account to SIP profile, execute the following steps:
- Log in to the manager account you want your phone calls to be redirected from.
- Click Features on the toolset panel.
- In the menu on the left, select Skype Connect item.
- Scroll to the SIP profile you want to customize the incoming calls for and click the View profile button.
- Click Add a number or Skype account button.
- Go to Add Skype account tab.
- You can redirect unreplied calls to messenger accounts via an extension number. If there is a need, type the extension number to which you require your calls to be forwarded into the corresponding field.
- Click Confirm button to approve your action.
Setting up incoming calls via Skype numbers
After you associate your Skype number with Session Initiation Protocol profile, you can enable the identification of the incoming call number so that your contacts are always aware that your manager or associate is calling them at the moment.
A Skype number is a business number which can be bought for its assignment to your Session Initiation Protocol profile afterwards. When the number is assigned, people can contact you via registered Skype number. These numbers are available for acquirement in multiple countries and include free Voice Messaging service as well.
Depending on your PBX type and its overall characteristics, you can redirect calls through that number to the relevant departments or offices, which strictly concern the involved customer.
In order to connect your new number to Session Initiation Protocol profile, execute the following steps:
- Log in to your manager account.
- Click Features on the toolset panel.
- On the menu on the left, select Skype Connect item.
- Find the Session Initiation Protocol profile you want to connect your new number to and click View profile button.
- Click Add a number or Skype account button.
- Go to Add Skype number tab.
- Click Buy a new number button.
- Select the country you want your number to be registered in and click Continue button
- In the next form, specify the period you want to be billed and the corresponding area/region codes of the selected country.
- Click Buy now button below, and the newly purchased Skype number will be automatically attached to your Session Initiation Protocol profile.
The general Skype Connect service pricing policy
In the following chapter, the overall pricing policy of Connect service is described. Here we reveal only the common recommendations and advices regarding the fees and rates of the relevant module. The exact pricing of the service related to various countries and regions may considerably vary. In order to get the detailed info regarding the international call rates, refer to the following page.
Here is the overall description of Skype Connect workflow:
- For all outcoming calls via Connect module to landline or mobile phones, a per minute charge is taken. The credits for such calls are taken from Skype account that you assign to Session Initiation Protocol profile involved. More than that, all the calls are rounded up to the first 30 seconds and then in 6 seconds period after first 30 seconds term.
- If you are frequently calling to USA via Skype, you can considerably economize your financial wastes via minute bundles. Each of these Skype bundle contains a monthly package of 5,000 minutes to call landline and mobile phones within US. The total quantity of minute bundles you can buy cannot exceed the number of channels within your organization. If the bundle’s minutes are entirely spared before the next replenishment date, calls to the USA will be charged from the available credit balance within your manager at standard service call rates.
- For each of the Session Initiation Protocol profiles, you can register a monthly Connect channel subscription charge. This charge is related to the overall quantity of rival calling channels that you purchase for the Session Initiation Protocol profile. The money for channel subscriptions are taken from the credit balance.
- For numbers which you acquire through the manager, including the numbers bought for application via Connect module, the monthly fee is taken. The money for the Skype Numbers calls are also taken from the credit balance.
- All inbound calls via Connect are free.
The service affords you a solid, efficient and reliable way to optimize the business processes within your enterprise, access your international clients by implementing and setting up the PBX-station with affordable optimal calling channels quantity and considerably save the financial resources. At the same time, if you are often communicating with your clients in US, acquiring minute bundles will become a true discovery for your business, as its adaptation to the requirements and actual workflow within your organization won’t take much time.