Networking optimize

10 reasons you should offer remote support to your clients

Connecting with customers doesn't mean you have to be face to face. Consultants can often please their clients and take care of business through remote support.

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 iStock: © Chris Leachman
For consultants and IT help pros who support multiple clients, the standard model of on-site visits not only can get tiresome, but it can also become expensive and less than efficient. That is why adding remote support to your options can be a real boon to your business. Not only will your clients appreciate the additional options, you will find the convenience brings a bit of sanity back into your work day.

If you're still not convinced, take a look at these ten reasons why you should begin offering remote  support to your clients.

1. Efficiency  

There's no way around the fact that if you have to drive to every client, you're spending precious time (time that could be billable) in your car. Instead of a fifteen to thirty minute drive, why not make that a fifteen second dial of a phone number? You'll be getting more done, faster, thereby you'll be billing more hours and working far more efficiently. Yes, you'll have the downtime of getting clients connected to you – but most often that is a fairly painless process (there are of course those clients that simply don't get what “open your web browser” means).

2. Cost effective

Doing remote support means you're not using gas or adding wear and tear to your vehicle. It also means fewer chances of accidents while driving (so cheaper insurance rates). Remote support can also save your budget in many, varied ways: Eating lunch at home, less budget spent on clothing, and even less money spent using your smartphone data plan to look up information for the job at hand.

3. Green

 Again we return to vehicle usage. When doing remote support, you're not driving. When not driving, you're not adding to the greenhouse gas issue. Having a greener overall footprint can help you in many ways. First, you can find possible tax credits. Second, your reputation for being a conscientious business will precede you – thus helping to win you over more clients. But this issue shouldn't necessarily be about winning over clients...right?

4. Client-friendly

How many times have you stepped into a job to find the clients to be less than happy you are on site? Whether it's due to bad timing, impossible scheduling, or what – there are instances when you arriving at a client location is less than ideal. When that occasion arises, it can quickly escalate into you not getting much work done (or worse, working under a pressure you don't need). Avoid this by offering remote support for those clients that would rather hear you, than see you.

5. Multi-tasking

When you work remotely, you can do as many jobs as you can juggle. I have, on more than one occasion, had six remote sessions going at one time. If each of those appointments takes an hour to resolve, that's six billable hours taken care of in one hour. This type of situation, of course, must be handled with care. You cannot bill a client for an hour when the job would have taken significantly less time had you not been double-dipping. If handled properly,  remote support enables you to get much more done in less time.

6 After hours

Remote support also allows you to work after hours. This, of course, is not for everyone. But there are certain situations (such as Windows updates – especially on servers) where working after hours is the only way to get something done. For those times, you'll be glad you offer remote support. I have run into numerous instances where a client had a problem but didn't have time for me to work on said problem until they were out of the office. Remote support – perfect solution.

7. Work from home

I have to confess...I'm a big fan. Why? Why not? Working in my PJs, working at my own pace, working within a safe and known environment...what is there not to like? I always find, when I'm working within a comfortable environment, I work better. Injecting remote services into your business model is the easiest means of making the work-from-home model work for you.

8. Fast response

The difference between hopping in your car and dialing a phone number could be crucial. This is especially true when you're dealing with failing machines or clients that demand immediate turn around. Your clients will greatly appreciate the super fast contact times and you will be glad for the quick resolution of issues.

9. Controlled environment

 Like working in your most comfortable pajamas, working in an environment you can control will go a long, long way to helping you get your work done as efficiently as possible. When working on site, there is no way you can control the variables thrown your way. This is also very much dependent upon the client. If you've ever done support for a retail client, you know trying to get anything done inside the business (especially during business hours), is nearly impossible. When working remotely, you don't have to worry about customers or clients getting in your way.

10. Less intrusive

There are clients that simply don't want you there. There are also clients you don't want to be around. Doing remote work avoids this trap all together. You won't have to feel like you are in the way of someone else doing their job or feeling unwanted (which certainly does nothing to make a job more efficient). A lot of clients greatly appreciate it when you can get their technology back up and running smoothly from behind the magic curtain.

Not every job can be handled remotely. Considering remote work depends upon a solid network connection, and it should be pretty obvious there will be times when you will simply have to be on site. But when you have the choice, working remotely sure makes the job easier in many ways. If you have the opportunity to add remote service to your menu, give it a try...both you and your clients will be glad you made the addition.

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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

13 comments
allanroger
allanroger

Remote support helps businesses in many ways such as increased productivity, increased efficiency; reduced travel costs, quick resolution to technical problems etc. Many businesses nowadays, are using various remote support tools such as RHUB, Bomgar, Logmein, GoSupportNow, GoToMyPC etc. for remotely accessing computers.

alizacarvor
alizacarvor

Remote support service make client satisfaction because if they have urgency then remote is best option to resolve that issue. Mostly newer client will take time to communicate with remotely. I am happy to provide online support with fixmycomputerdude.com

Thank You

cd003284
cd003284

I don't know if anyone has mentioned this, so I will...

Depending upon where you live, and the local legal precedents, you may want to be aware of your legal situation in the event that you are suspected of illegal actions while using remote access to a client's computer.

It doesn't come up often, and ad hoc ergo promptor hoc isn't a legal argument in itself, but techs have been interviewed and sometimes investigated when, for instance, identity theft occurs soon after remote service.

It's an even worse version of "you were the last one who used my computer, so it must have been you" or "the problem began the day after you fixed my computer", et al.

Personally, I restrict remote service to clients I know well enough to be confident that this won't happen.

Rostislav Liber
Rostislav Liber

If you want to "safety" refuse customer's complaint, it is good solution ;-)

ivoyhip
ivoyhip

I have two additional reasons why we should offer remote support.

1) Able to maintain confidence from the clients:  There are chances that we will hit the road bump when troubleshooting problems.  We will have no clue of what to do.  In this case, clients may see that we are incompetence and unprofessional.  If we are working remotely, we can look for help, such as from coworkers, google, and user manual.  The good thing is that clients only know we fix the problems but do not know we get this done with aids.

2) Without contacting clients' sensitive material:  There may be sensitive documents on the client desks.  The computers, which we need to provide services, are on the same desks with these document.  Moreover, when we are working on the computer, the clients may be talking on the phone at the same time.  We may hear the conversations between the clients and their  business associates on the other end of the line.  As an IT person, we should try to isolate ourselves from these subjects.  If we provide supports remotely, we will not run into this issue.

lukes
lukes

We have used remote support for more than 7 years. It definitely makes things easier. There can be downsides though, customers with slow internet connection, your own going down for example. Also it means you are tied to your desk for long hours. But the benefits, such as being able to install SQL remotely, jump on and fix basic issues on a PC are enormous. I noted one person talking about companies remotely connecting when they shouldn’t. If you have the right remote software, which protects the customer as well as yourself there should not be a problem. I have used Teamveiwer, it’s pretty good, you need a id number from the customer before you can connect. Screen connect /Logmein, these again, the customer has to run an exe from your site first before you can connect.  I don’t see the problem.

smithandco
smithandco

I have been using remote access for a few years. I am a self employed bookkeeper and use GTMYPC to access clients computers to do bookkeeping even when I am on holidays and still need to keep up with certain bookkeeping duties. Also to help others when they are having problems with their computer whether on the computer itself, the accounting software, excel etc etc. I still meet face to face once in a while and am now considering using Skype for one out-of-town client who really is in a remote area and would like to communicate via Skype. Just being able to use remote access has increase my range of clients (not just local clients), increase my availability to clients (necessary to establish hours of work except emergency), and last but not least increase my profitability.

Charles Pontac
Charles Pontac

no running around, can help more people faster, staying at my source of resources, able to contact other support staff without the client knowing, etc

john
john

I love the comments received by Tech Republic agreeing with most of the reasons in this latest article, and understand GBITC's comments on "why the article?".  I am from a software/data engineering background, and have found remote support useful when working for PLC’s.  However ...

Since setting up my own company in 2009 I have discovered many smaller businesses prefer the individual touch.I have found the recent bad press about security (who’s watching whom, etc.) has really upset many end-users.Furthermore I have personally witnessed national IT support companies going into places on people’s servers/PCs they have no reason for, other than their own commercial interests.

I will remain with the personal approach.Thank you.

tulaipaul
tulaipaul

The reasons for outside support may be many fold, but it is true that people have been gradually accustomed with such systems. Even in India, it has become a prevailing system

peterudd
peterudd

I support a number of home users, some in the 'silver surfer' category.  I find remote assistance is a second line of defence after simple screen-sharing (in Skype, for instance).  The benefit of screen sharing is that the client learns by doing, rather than just being a passive observer of a  techie doing stuff at high speed.  But then business efficiency is not a model to which I aspire.  Customer satisfaction comes first..

GBITC
GBITC

I don't understand the point of this article? Is there seriously ANY, IT Helpdesks / Consultants not using a remote support option?

mike0351
mike0351

I agree with all the above reasons. I have been doing this for many years. My clients like it that I can help them right now instead of having to wait for me to make a trip.

Works great for helping out-of-town family members also!