How Remote Desktop Support Is Different From In-Person Assistance

Remote desktop support reflects a changing paradigm in business IT: outsourcing and centralizing support to boost efficiency and flexibility.

It's important for those who work in IT support to understand how this trend may affect their professional development — and employers' expectations. First, recognize that there are differences between providing remote desktop support and in-person assistance. Here's what you need to know:

Communication skills are critical

An IT pro providing in-person assistance has the benefit of actually being there. If there's one thing that remote communication has taught us, it's that solving problems from afar can be a challenge. It can be easy to misinterpret people, especially users with limited technical abilities who have difficulty explaining their IT issues. Whether they're communicating on the phone or through an online chat session, remote desktop support professionals have to be able to help guide users to explain their symptoms more clearly so the problem can be diagnosed.

Navigating a mixed IT support environment

The remote desktop support team is first in line to field a call for support. Critical thinking skills, the ability to prioritize and the foresight to know when to push resolution efforts to the next tier are all crucial to solving problems. So, it's important for remote desktop pros to know how to navigate the relationship with Tier 2 support personnel — which could be bumpy, as any working relationship between two collaborators who do not work together closely might be. In short, they need to know when they can still exercise the full scope of their troubleshooting efforts, and when it's time to call in the cavalry.

Evolving knowledge base

Remote desktop support personnel clearly need to know the ins and outs of all the software and programs the company uses. This team is responsible for PC diagnostics, troubleshooting network and software problems, and rolling out new technologies. They also need to back up and restore the organization's information in accordance with all compliance and security standards. The range of applications spans from word processing tools to complex planning software, and everything in-between. Over time, a remote desktop support team member may be asked to absorb some of the tasks an in-person IT pro would conduct, or to specialize in a new system component the company is rolling out. So, if you decide to work in remote desktop support, be ready for that challenge. Remote desktop support may be part of the technical support center of the future, but it's definitely emerging now. Building communications skills and understanding how to navigate more complex IT environments can help you land a position in this growing field. The career path for desktop support technicians looks rosy, with more positions and rising starting salaries available to skilled candidates.

To learn more about changing roles in remote desktop support, read about trends shaping the help desk evolution. Have insights on remote desktop support you'd like to share? Leave us a note in the comments below.