If your small to midsize business (SMB) serves a global customer base and has remote employees working out of different locations, you will invariably have to manage technical support for tons of different applications and devices. As a result, offering on-site support becomes a drain on the company's resources.
This is where remote support software steps in, allowing a small IT team to check and fix errors with many different systems—including laptops, desktops, servers, mobile devices and more.
However, selecting the right remote support solution, among the many available in the market, means understanding the differences in pricing, functionality and other parameters. This Buyer's Guide intends to offer you exactly these insights and help you make a better purchase decision.
Here's what we'll cover:
What Is Remote Support Software?
Common Features of Remote Support Software?
What Type of Buyer Are You?
What Is Remote Support Software?
Remote support software allows you to access and control any device from a remote location. It is primarily used by IT support technicians to resolve the issues faced by end-users. A typical example is a seller of computer systems offering post-sales remote technical support to customers, or an internal IT team remotely configuring the devices of a geographically dispersed workforce.
Example of Remote Support for Mac in Bomgar
The core functionality of remote support tools is gaining control and access of the remote device. Support technicians typically perform the following functions using these tools:
- Schedule attended and unattended sessions to remotely control and fix devices.
- Execute commands on the remote device during unattended sessions, such as software installations, patch management, file updates, remote printing, rebooting and server reconnection.
- Control the remote device during attended sessions in order to lock the end-user's mouse, turn the remote screen black and more.
- Share screens and annotations with end-users to explain issues, offer guidance on software usage and more.
- Remotely access multiple devices and screens during a session.
Common Features of Remote Support Software
Besides remote control and access, these solutions offer a range of features that come in handy when conducting remote support sessions. Here's a list of the most common functionalities:
||Agents can pull up information about the remote device, including the device name, internal IP address, BIOS serial number, currently installed software, processes currently running and event logs.
||Serves as a repository of frequently executed tasks, allowing support agents to install a common file or patch to many systems at once.
||Allows agents to communicate with end-users during attended sessions using real-time or canned responses. Also useful for collaborating with other support reps or escalating a session to an expert.
||Perform two kinds of file transfers: First, directly transfer a file from the local to the remote device, including direct installation of software patches. Second, share files over chat with the end-user, who can then add the file to a desired location.
||Centralized repository of customer details, support agent accounts and log management. Helps in organizing remote sessions more efficiently and allows administrators to assign role-based permissions to different support agents.
||Allows technicians to conduct remote sessions regardless of the differences in operating software of the local and remotes devices. This means support agents can remotely control a Mac, Linux, Windows, Android or iOS device using a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
|Branding & customization
||Offer businesses white label options. Users can change the CSS to customize the look and feel of the tool—this includes adding company logos and changing the colors. It's also possible to change the language and add more functionality to the tool via plugins.
|Session audits & monitoring
||These are activity reports of support agents during remote sessions, which help businesses meet compliance requirements and understand agent performance. Includes details of sessions such as end-user details, system information, chat transcripts and video recordings of entire sessions.
||While most remote solutions are cross-platform compatible, there are typical functionality and usability limitations when these tools are accessed from mobile devices. Some remote solutions offer native Android and iOS applications that allow agents to conduct remote sessions without worrying about functionality or usability issues.
||Certain remote solutions offer VoIP calls that enables agents to speak with end-users through microphone-enabled devices. Likewise, video calling can be used to conduct online meetings and conferences.
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Before you invest in a remote support solution, you should evaluate and understand your business needs. Below are the three categories of buyers and what they should take into consideration when purchasing a remote support tool.
Enterprise buyers: Large organizations should ideally go for feature-rich tools that are flexible in terms of functionality and offer integrations with third-party tools.
In this regard, plugins and software bundles become important as this allows users to expand the tool's functionality. For instance, a common tool that comes bundled with remote support solutions is network monitoring software, which is an important solution for organizations with large internal networks (LAN) and server systems that need close monitoring.
In addition, it's essential that the remote solution integrates with third-party tools such as CRM software, project management solutions, ticketing systems and other solutions that your organization is currently using. This ensures that there are no hassles, while importing or exporting data between these different systems.
Growing and small business buyers: The choice for SMBs is not so straightforward when it comes to purchasing the ideal remote software solution. Here are some things to keep in mind, while buying one:
- Pricing considerations: Remote support solutions come with a one-time license fee and a monthly subscription-based pricing. The one-time license fee is suitable for businesses that have their own data center and an IT team to maintain the software. The subscription-based pricing is for businesses who want a fully-managed solution; however, since the pricing is usually calculated as a per agent license, the costs quickly add up as your business grows.
- Functionality considerations: Small businesses need to carefully analyze the functionalities that remote solutions have to offer. While you don't want to endlessly pay for functionalities that you won't use, you need to at least ensure that the tool has the features you need. Here are some questions that can help you understand your requirements:
- Do you have the need for scheduling unattended sessions?
- Do you need to bill clients for your services?
- Will you use the tool for online meetings and video presentations?
Best-of-breed buyers: Remote support software can also be used for other purposes than technical support. For instance, you can use it as a tool to remotely access and use an application installed in a different device. Likewise, you can create online video presentations, conduct online meetings and much more.
There are many remote support applications which focus on such niche use cases. Remember to compare the functionalities of different solutions before you make your decision.