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