COVID-19: Top 3 Challenges of Remote Support Now. And How to Solve for Them.

Aaron Lester.

Aaron Lester

April 08, 2020


Over the last month, the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has swelled the ranks of the remote workforce to unprecedented numbers. As little as ten years ago, this might have brought most companies to a standstill. Now, thankfully, much of the business we all must continue to conduct can be accomplished online.

But working remotely isn’t without its hurdles. As companies have raced to set their employees up with the tech and tools they need to remain productive they’ve also had to figure out how to provide remote support to end-users — employees, customers, or both — who run up against tech issues.

There are a number of challenges that come with remote support, but three rise to the top:

1. The Challenge: Ineffective Support

This is the biggie, as it can have a ripple effect throughout the organization, leading to decreased productivity, lost revenue, and lower morale in the midst of an already stressful time. When support providers can’t quickly respond to users and get a firm understanding of what the problem is, issues take too long to resolve or don’t get resolved at all. Users get frustrated and time is wasted all around.

The Solution:

Effect support starts with communication—enabling support staff and end-users to quickly get onto the same page and start making progress. If support staff can easily gain access to the end user’s app or browser, whatever the device or platform; simultaneously communicate with the user via chat or voice; and, ideally, annotate the user’s screen, it’s easier to identify, understand and resolve tech issues fast and well.

2.  The Challenge: Adapting Solutions to a Diverse User Base

A pandemic doesn’t exactly leave time for companies to implement a carefully thought-out, uniform approach to working remotely. At most organizations, employees use a wide variety of platforms, programs and devices. Meanwhile, some users are tech-savvy while others definitely are not. If you’re a global company, you may have users speaking different languages and living in different time zones, too. With this kind of diversity, it’s a tall order for help desk staff to meet everyone’s needs effectively in a timely manner. That goes double if they’re relying on remote support tools that aren’t flexible enough to serve a diverse user base.

The Solution:

To meet a broad spectrum of support needs, your remote support tool must be agile enough to provide support for any platform, via any channel or device, depending on the support staff and end-user preference. It should also, ideally, go beyond reactive support—responding to problems via phone, chat or remote-control sessions—to proactive support. This takes more sophisticated approaches, like using data mining to support advanced self-help capabilities. Features like unattended access and the ability to run multiple support sessions simultaneously can help ensure support staff have time to efficiently resolve issues for more users, including those “high need” ones.

3. The Challenge: Optimizing Your Overall Support Strategy

In an emergency situation like the one we’re in now with the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations are under the gun to ramp up their remote support as quickly as possible. But even in the current scenario, a remote support solution that doesn’t mesh well with a company’s culture and processes is bound to fail. And while a bare-bones solution might look like the best move given how uncertain things are, if it results in ineffective support it can quickly become a liability.

The Solution:

The need for remote support is going to keep on growing long after the coronavirus crisis has passed. Getting widespread organizational buy-in around remote support now and investing in tools and processes that can enable the shift to a more proactive and adjustable support program will pay off in both the short- and long-term.

There’s no doubt our lives have been disrupted. Personal and professional challenges seem to arise anew daily. But as we adjust to this unprecedented new reality – temporary or not, we will adjust – we know that companies that are able to transition to a fully remote workforce will see much less business disruption in the wake of this global crisis.

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