Following a recent redesign that brought photo filters and a Snapchat Stories clone to Skype, it seems that Microsoft hasn’t forgotten Skype’s roots as a “prosumer” app. Indeed, many business users still use Skype to chat with co-workers and clients, but the video chat app is also used by instructors and remote service providers who like it for its ease of use and ubiquity.
If you do use Skype to do business online, Microsoft has just announced the Skype Professional account, a new desktop client that should better suit your needs. “The Skype Professional Account desktop client, soon to be released in preview in the U.S., adds powerful new features to Skype to make doing your online business a whole lot easier, the Skype team explained in a blog post. “In addition to meeting with your clients as you have been on Skype, you can also book those meetings, accept payments, and keep notes—all in one place.”
To be clear, this is a different offering from Skype for Business, the enterprise communication app available with Office 365 and that will soon be replaced by Microsoft Teams. Skype Professional account is just a new Skype client designed for all service providers conducting their online business on Skype, helping them be more efficient with the benefit of having a professional identity on Skype.
In addition smart scheduling and easy payment tools, the new client will also make it easier to connect business users with customers. “We’ve added an enhanced profile page to help improve your online presence and a dedicated website for your small business right in Skype, the team explained. “Your contacts will be able to see pertinent info like your hours and business offerings,” the blog post continued.
If you’re interested in trying the new Skype Professional account, you’re invited to fill out a survey on the dedicated website to get access to the closed preview. Microsoft says that all business features will be free to use during the preview, but it remains to be seen if the app will remain free to use once it becomes generally available.