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[RESEARCH] Ask the IT Crowd: The surprising benefits of remote support

Whether you’re on the giving or the receiving end of technical support, it’s not always easy to get your message across. Despite seemingly countless ways for support agents to communicate with customers and clients, it can still be a drag to figure out exactly what’s causing the problem, and how to fix it.

There are countless studies detailing the importance of a good support experience from the customer perspective, but I was curious about the support agents on the other end of these requests. I wanted to find out their thoughts on the support experience. Customer frustration can lead to agent frustration, which results in lower levels of service and satisfaction for both parties.

To get some insight from the support agent perspective, we surveyed nearly 200 IT and customer support agents to get their thoughts on the support process. As it turns out, support agents prefer remote support over other channels for solving client and customer requests. Remote support involves the agent taking over the requester’s computer and solving the problem for them in real time, and while it may not be your first choice when it comes to support, it might actually be the best option.

In the report below, I’ll go through the findings of the research to show the benefits of remote support and why it could be the best way to keep both your support agents and your clients satisfied.

*For this report, customer and client will be used interchangeably to refer to the person requesting remote support, which can include individuals within the same organization.


Key findings:


Remote support helps avoid frustration

Providing support is a process that– depending on which channel it’s being delivered on– ranges in both speed, accuracy, and level of customer satisfaction. Between the time that a client reaches out, until the moment that a problem gets solved, things can get complicated. When a problem or a solution can’t be communicated accurately, the result is frustration from both ends.

According to our research, remote support helps avoid some of that frustration. As the most preferred method of support delivery by 29.6 percent of support agents, the reason it helps avoid frustration is threefold:

Notably, our survey shows that 60 percent of respondents most commonly use remote support for handling support issues that need to be resolved quickly, and considering the level of frustration that an unexpected support issue can elicit from a client, having a timely response and swift resolution is a top priority.

Setting the right expectations for support delivery

Despite being the quickest way to solve a support issue, clients need to be aware of just how immediate an “immediate” resolution can be. According to our survey, 73 percent of remote support requests are resolved within a day; of those, 34 percent are resolved within a few hours.

Having said that, if a client is expecting the problem to be solved immediately, even a day can seem like a long time. Speaking with Carlos Tejada, a cyber security expert and founder of managed IT service company LKBM Technologies, he says, “when clients run into real problems, they often want the problem looked at and fixed immediately but tend to rush the reparation and recovery process. They have unrealistic expectations that troubleshooting and fixing a problem takes a few minutes and become impatient and upset when it actually takes longer.”

“To minimize and prevent frustrations, we ensure that the clients know what to expect by communicating clearly the recovery and troubleshooting process. We also find that it’s helpful to underpromise and overdeliver providing enough cushion in our repair time estimation and over deliver by finishing the job sooner than expected.”

As our survey notes, unrealistic time expectations are one of the biggest challenges with delivering remote support, and being proactive about setting expectations is one way to counterbalance that.

While security and privacy issues from clients are the biggest challenges noted by respondents, this is generally due to a lack of technical knowledge from the client’s side. With secure software and the proper measures in place, security and privacy fears can easily be alleviated by the support agent. Another big challenge, which involves technical issues involving the setup of the remote session, can also be minimized with the right software.

Speaking to Bob Herman, Co-Founder and President of IT service firm IT Tropolis, he says, “I think one of the biggest challenges is the user experience in setting up the remote session. If users need to download/install a plugin/component/app, we find the complication can become confusing for the user and consume too much time for the agent. To overcome this issue, we have standardized on a remote support tool that allows our agents to easily and quickly connect to a user’s session, and all the user must do is allow/accept the request. As a result, we can start a session in seconds.”

Finding the right support software

Having the right remote support software helps to ensure that you’re able to set up remote sessions quickly, manage the support queue, and connect on various platforms. When looking for a remote support solution, you should consider whether it:

Compare some popular remote support software options to see what’s available for your needed feature set and price range.

Remote support isn’t a remote option

Remote support may not be right for every type of support request, but the benefits of remote support are certainly apparent in various situations, not the least of which is avoiding frustration during the support process.

If you think that remote support might be a good option for your company, check out some of these remote support software options to get you started.

Methodology

This research is based on a survey of 197 respondents who work in an IT or customer support role with remote support being one of the top three channels on which they carry out support requests. The survey was carried out in November 2017.

Categories: Independent SaaS and SMB industry research
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Suzie Blaszkiewicz :Suzie is a writer and researcher at GetApp focusing on the social side of business– CRM, marketing, collaboration, and of course, social media. Aside from musing about B2B software, she has experience writing about consumer apps for iPhone and Android, as well as research experience from the London School of Economics. Suzie loves travelling, eating, and trying to steal dogs from the park at lunchtime.