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Remote Support 101

Remote support technology can make technical support easier and more efficient by allowing a customer support technician to take direct control over the customer’s computer. It can deliver immediate impact with increased productivity, shorter average call times, and better results.

There are two types of remote support technology: on-premise and Software-as-a-Service. On-premise remote support technology is typically a dedicated appliance or software that is loaded onto a corporate server. In this case, the support staff initiates the remote connection directly. Cloud-based services do not require on-premise equipment, and the technician initiates the connection remotely.

With either system, it may be necessary for the remote customer to download and install a piece of software to enable the connection, and in most cases this can be achieved through a thin client environment, where the customer establishes the connection through a secure web browser connection.

The primary goal of remote support technology is to take control of the remote system for the purpose of correcting a problem or configuring a piece of software. It can also be used as an instructional tool, and tech support staff may use the system as an opportunity to show the remote customer how the problem was resolved, step by step, so that if it occurs again, they will have the knowledge to take care of it themselves — thereby reducing the number of support calls. Some remote support technology even provides drawing tools included for this purpose, so the tech personnel can draw circles or arrows on the customer’s screen to draw their attention to certain features.

Further, remote support technology can improve post-call analysis. Many such systems offer the ability to record sessions and capture information, which can be used by the engineering staff later to discover the root cause of the problem. In many cases when there is no such utility available, a customer may describe a flaw or a bug that is not easily duplicated, making the support process difficult. Then, even when the problem is resolved, the engineering staff still may not be able to duplicate the situation, leaving a potential vulnerability that could reappear. By capturing the session with remote support technology, engineers can see the situation directly, and take action.

In addition to reducing average call time and capturing information for post-call analysis, remote support technology also leads to improved customer satisfaction, delivering the customer the advantage of less time on the phone