Windows 7 / Networking

Understanding Remote Assistance

Supporting end users is an essential function of IT departments and the corporate Help Desk. Unfortunately, conventional technical support provided over the telephone or using chat tools is generally cumbersome and inefficient. As a result, supporting users is often both time-consuming and costly for large enterprises to implement. For example, end users often have difficulty describing the exact nature of the problem they are having. Because of their general inexperience and lack of technical knowledge, end users may try to describe their problem using nontechnical, inexact language. As a result, Help Desk personnel are generally reduced to asking a series of simple questions to try to isolate the problem the user is having. The methodical nature of these questions sometimes causes users to feel as if Help Desk personnel are being condescending, and such misunderstandings can reduce the effectiveness of the support experience and can make users tend to avoid contacting support personnel when future problems arise.

End users also often have difficulty following instructions given to them by Help Desk personnel who are trying to assist them. Well-trained support personnel will try to avoid using technical jargon when communicating with end users, but although using plain language can improve the support experience, it may also mean that resolution steps become long and tiresome. For example, telling a user how to use Disk Cleanup from System Tools in Accessories can require several sentences or more, and this kind of communication can add time to support incidents, making them more costly to the company.

Remote Assistance solves these problems by enabling support personnel to view the user's desktop in real time. The user seeking assistance can demonstrate the nature of the problem to the support person. This is a quicker and more efficient way to communicate a problem than using words or e-mail. If necessary, the user can also give the support person permission to assume shared interactive control of the user's computer to show the user how to resolve the problem. The result of using Remote Assistance is faster problem resolution, an improved support experience, and a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for supporting end users in large, corporate environments.

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