Selecting the right technologies, particularly customer support tools, for your business is a lot like dating: a sea of options but only a select few that might be a perfect fit. Will the solution complement your team? Does its core functionality align with your business needs? Will it grow with your business? Similar to narrowing down desired traits in a potential life partner, it helps to have an idea of your needs and preferences when selecting customer support tools.
Below are the top five qualities to assess, with questions to ask yourself when choosing a remote support solution and the specifics of ensuring a healthy, profitable, long-term relationship.
Most remote support solutions provide essential capabilities, such as remote control, remote screen sharing, and file transfer, that allow agents to perform routine support tasks. But there is so much more out there to delivering solutions that truly fit your business. Some advanced support tasks include quick diagnostics, multiplatform and device support, task automation, easy integration with other systems, handling multiple sessions at once, collaborating with other agents, and video support. Ask yourself which technologies or resources your support agents are missing and which ones will add efficiency to your support processes. Picturing your ideal partner will better help specify the functionalities your organization actually needs to be successful.
Meeting Each Other's Needs
Regardless of their benefits, tools will be left in the toolbox if they're not simple to use or don't solve the specific issues your organization has. Much like partners need to complement each other on a variety of levels to make a successful match, a remote support solution must address the usability requirements for two key audiences: support agents and end users. Agents need a solution that will help them do their jobs quickly and effectively through a user interface that is inviting and easy to navigate. The tool must simultaneously be intuitive enough to help new and less experienced agents get up to speed quickly, and advanced enough to handle complex support problems. On the end users' side, a remote support tool will only work if consumers can choose the communication channel, quickly connect with an agent, and get their issues resolved efficiently, with minimal effort on their part.
Security of information in remote support and relationships is always important, especially when an organization adds a new technology, and in highly regulated industries like financial services and healthcare, where security measures are mandated by law. Because remote support tools enable access to networked devices that often harbor proprietary applications and confidential data, the right security measures and protocols are essential. When selecting a remote support tool, have a clear understanding of what is required by law for your company, what kinds of information could be accessed, and its sensitively level and then ask providers to get specific on their security measures.
People and companies change and evolve over time. As your business grows, the IT infrastructure that supports it needs to scale to handle more support agents and users with the same level of reliability, availability, and performance. Is the solution you are evaluating able to handle concurrent session loads, support more customers or employees, add new agents, and deliver reliable connections regardless of the load? What are the costs associated with increasing the scope of your remote support tool? What functionalities might become more or less important as your business develops?
Is the deployment model right for me?
OK, not quite in line with the overall dating metaphor, but this aspect of finding a remote support solution is pretty vital. As the market continues to trend towards cloud-based offerings, many providers of on-premises solutions are taking notice. To maintain market share, many have attempted to host their products and sell them as cloud-based offerings. In reality, to have a reliable cloud-based offering, it would need to be rebuilt from the ground up. Some things to ask yourself about deployment models include: what would we gain and lose by moving to a cloud-based model? Can my solution provide a mix of cloud and on-premises solutions? Will security measures change if we migrate to a cloud service, and how will we address them?
I know this seems like an involved must-have list. If we were talking in dating terms, you might say that it's being very picky. Some companies might need more robust solutions and some less, but the key is to know what you're looking for and what your deal breakers are and then to get out there.
Peter Zeinoun is director of customer support products at LogMeIn.