Friday, 28 November 2008

Remote Support Access

For a while, I've been looking for a way of improving support to customers. If a customer is confused by a feature or we can't understand the problem they are trying to describe things can be difficult. The only real way to move forward in such situations is to see what the customer is actually doing on their PC. Site visits are not really possible - for cost reasons if nothing else - so I've been looking for a way of sharing PC desktops remotely over the internet.

Discussions with friends raised a number of possibilities - Webex, Windows Invite a Friend and NetViewer were mentioned. The cheapest options is Windows Invite a Friend - it comes free with Windows XP and Windows Vista. I tried it our on a pair of PCs in our office but found that:

  1. You have to explain to the client/ customer how to get the service going and send an invite for support.
  2. The help pages linked from XP's help are no longer present on Microsoft's website.

Both of these points make me wary of using Invite a Friend - they wouldn't make SliQTools look professional.

So I took at NetViewer. This seems a reasonable service - the cost is good and the service works well. The support technician sends an invite to the customer, the customer downloads a small client program (linked from the support invite email) and gives access to his PC to the support person.

To see an alternative, I took a look at LogMeIn Rescue. This turned out to be the Rolls-Royce remote support service. It's a really good package, working more smoothly and with a more professional, friendly feel for the technician and customer. The only downside is the cost - 4 times that of NetViewer. Overall though, I think you get what you pay for and LogMeIn Rescue seems like a good choice.

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