The hidden remote support gem
Before I start, I just want to put a full disclaimer that I am not discouraging any person to not purchase software mentioned in this article.
So, the other day TeamViewer decided that I have not played fair by making use of their software to assist my customers. By having an understanding why they notified me and limit the session times with customers because of the times which I have used their software, I was seriously considering purchasing a commercial TeamViewer license. And let’s be honest – TeamViewer is by far the most popular remote support application and service around, and became synonymous with the term of “remote support” – great work BTW for the team at TeamViewer.
But (here it comes) – when I decided “well, let me go and purchase that license and play fair”, I was sort of shocked to see the pricing (keep in mind, we are running a small business here). To put the pricing in perspective, they charge you €19.90 (ZAR317.00) per month, and the yearly subscription is €238.80 (ZAR3804.09) at the time of publishing this post. It doesn’t seam like a lot of money, but it adds up to the yearly payments of other subscriptions like Microsoft Office 365 Business, Adobe Photography CC, all the domain costs, etc. So in the bigger picture, it would be another thing piling up and each month wondering why your income is less. Oh, and this TeamViewer license is their cheapest option by the way. I also could not find any way of getting their site to display or give me the option to purchase in South African currency (due to our wonderful fluctuating economy). For me, this is something they can spend more time on instead of pointing out EULA terms (which no one reads), where I exceeded the “fair play” period. And once again, I fully understand, and if TeamViewer is reading this article (which I doubt), I truly apologize for exceeding the limits of your free use policy (after you have sent me the warning email).
But all is not lost. Should the TeamViewer license be a more viable and profitable solution for me, I would definitely purchase the required license. But for now, you guys are putting some pressure on small businesses trying to provide exceptional support to our clients by making use of your exceptionally great software.
So I was searching for other other ways of how I can provide remote support to my clients. And then it came to my attention, that what I was looking for was right under our noses (or whatever you want it to be under). Microsoft sneaked in a little application called “Quick Assist”. Go ahead (if you have Windows 10 build 1709 and up), hit that start button, and start typing Quick Assist. And magic! There it is.
Well what do you know – Microsoft came and showed everyone (again) that they can come up with something even more simpler (in a certain way). A quick throw-back – Microsoft have basically started with the RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) way back in the days of CRT monitors and beige computer boxes. So, in reality (please correct me if I am wrong – I am not perfect), Microsoft developed remote support. Later on, alternative software like the VNC, and small free apps, started to pop up. Altiris was used in corporate setups, etc. But Windows still had a good system in place. TeamViewer took all of that and squeezed it into one brilliant application. But should IT companies still make use of 3rd-party software while Microsoft provides it with your Windows 10 version for free? That is a question only you reading this article can answer.
So, to get back to Quick Assist. After testing it out with a client for the first time, I was amazed buy the simplicity of the software. You can read up more on the simplistic working and what the client should do who requires remote support USING THIS LINK.
The interface is extremely simple:
And making use of it today, I was truly amazed by how easy it is to use this software. If you have a Microsoft account of any sort, you are set and can help your buddies with some IT stuff, or use it in a way to support your customers remotely. It has annotations where you can highlight elements on the screen for the client to see and explain to them what to do (or not to do), etc. For some odd reason, I felt it was a more secure way of providing remote support. Maybe it was just me, but Microsoft got the win here in my opinion regarding security.
Like everything in life there is a downside as well. This software only works with Windows 10 to Windows 10 operating systems (which by now, the most of you should have installed). If you want to support someone with Windows 8, you must first hit them over the head for still using Windows 8, and then telling them that your wonderful Quick Assist application will not work. For Windows 7 users, well, they are loyal AF to that operating system, so well done. But this form of remote support will also not work.
But all is not lost. You can read up on my “how to guide” here (yes, this link) about the MSRA option. I have tested it myself, and seems to be working good, but you might have some hiccups here and there, but is sill working great. Once again, well done Microsoft.
If you feel none of the above are for you, well, then your only option would be TeamViewer. Again – brilliant software and easy to use.
In conclusion, I must admit, TeamViewer is by far the most popular remote support application out there – no doubt about it, but your business licenses are just so expensive for small businesses. Please take that into consideration. The Windows 10 Quick Assist is awesome, with some limitations like screen quality, etc. but it is so super easy to use for both the customer and support technician. MSRA, well, it’s a 50/50 thing. It can work perfectly fine, or you might experience issues with it, which will make you loyal to TeamViewer again.
Once again, I am not trying to discourage people from using TeamViewer at all (as I am still a big fan), and if you can afford the business license, that is the software of choice. But this article pointed out some easy to use applications found within the world of Microsoft, right under our noses and everything else.
Please feel free to comment on this article, and if you have anything to add or suggest something else, please leave us a comment.