The Ultimate Remote Support Software Buying Guide

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No you don’t need software to support this:

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I mean, maybe you do. But today I’m going to be writing about software that helps you avoid this:

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In-person IT support can be nice and is sometimes necessary. But techs can fix most problems from their own desks, if they have the right software. And doing so saves your company considerable time and money. Here’s what to look for to find a remote support software solution that will make it smooth and easy to offer support from anywhere.

Y U need to offer remote support

I’d argue that nearly every help desk should offer remote support. Not every user is going to be cool with you taking over their phone or computer. But every user should have the option, because many will want to bypass hours of back and forth implementing your suggested fixes when they can instead turn the problem over to you to fix yourself.

And if there’s anything I’ve learned writing this blog it’s that people like to have options.

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Y U need remote support software

You might not. Chrome and Windows offer built-in remote support. But you probably do. Neither remote support function works across platforms, and neither is particularly easy to use.

The most important aspect of remote support software

The two most important considerations when choosing remote support software are the same as any software you’re buying.

  1. How easy is it to learn/use?
  2. How helpful is tech support?

No matter what, you’re going to have to learn how to use the software. And, more likely than not, you’re going to have to deal with support.

The point of software is to save you time, money, and frustration. If the software is hard to learn it’s not going to do a good job of any of that. We’ve found, from surveying software users, that people never use many of their software’s features. Sometimes that’s because the features aren’t important to them. But many times it’s because learning how to use them is too hard or time-consuming. It’s not enough that a software be able to do everything you want it to do. You also have to be able to make it do those things. That’s why you must do a free trial or interactive demo or at least a demo before you buy.

A demo will show you what the process for taking over a user’s computer looks like. Remember that, unless the company offers employee training in the price, you’re going to have to teach your techs how to do it. So take note of how intuitive the process is.

For evaluating the ease, speed, and quality of tech support before you buy, your best bet is to read reviews. After you narrow down your options to 5-10 remote support software vendors, Google their names plus “reviews.” Usually the reviews by professional reviewers will focus on ease-of-use, UX, and features. Those are important things to know, but you’ll need actual users of the software to get the skinny on tech support. Usually I’d direct you to a Capterra directory to read reviews. We have thousands of reviews of software products from real users. But since we don’t have a “remote support software” directory the best way is to Google the software name plus “Capterra.”

What else to look for in remote support software

You want to be able to use your software to work on any platform from any platform. Ideally, that means your technician can control a Linux machine from their iPhone, whether connected to a VPN or not.

Firewalls should not stop your software from working.

You also want your software to give you admin access to the machine you’re working on. It’s going to be frustrating if you can’t transfer files, view system info, change settings, download software, etc.

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One big nice-to-have is integration with your ticketing system and/or CRM and/or help desk software. This helps avoid sales and customer service silos.

It’s also pretty clutch to be able to share sessions. It’s nice to be able to seamlessly hand an issue to another technician, a developer, or even an outside vendor. Two heads are better than one, after all. So check to be sure you can share sessions with your software, and with whom.

Whether for quality control or training purposes, it’s also nice to be able to record a session. A good software will record the screen along with any chats.

Conclusion

It’s 2016, brah. In-person IT support is so 1996. It’s time to offer the people what they want: the ability to sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and let someone who knows what they’re doing fix their problems.

To learn more about customer service, check out the customer service blog.

Looking for Customer Service software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Customer Service software solutions.

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About the Author

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Cathy Reisenwitz

Cathy Reisenwitz is a former Capterra analyst.

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