Using Zoho Assist to Manage Remote Support Teams

Modern tech support is a complex business. With the various software tools, scripts, and messaging platforms a given technician is expected to manage, it can be a surprise that they get any work done at all. Zoho Assist cuts through the clutter, providing a capable yet lightweight remote support tool for your company, whether you run a one-person shop or a major call center.

What is Zoho Assist?

Zoho Assist is a lightweight remote support application designed especially for remote technical support. A remote support application allows you to connect to a client device over the Internet to troubleshoot problems, access data, or administer machines. The application is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS devices, though in some cases the mobile applications provide alternate functionality compared to the desktop versions.

Like other remote support applications, Zoho Assist connects your computer to connect to a remote desktop computer through a screen-sharing tool. The connected user can see the remote client’s screen and control their mouse and keyboard, allowing them to effectively use the computer from separate locations.

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The application provides a toolset comparable to the major market leaders in the category. On the simple end, a tech can view a user’s screen to better understand the issue they’re experiencing or to more precisely guide an inexperienced user through a fix. On the most complex end, users can completely control and administer a number of remote devices simultaneously.

For the sake of security, Zoho Assist’s support connections are strictly one-way valves. The user cannot see the technicians device. While the customer has the prerogative to end the connection and kick out the technician at any time, they can’t make any other modifications to the connection. The technician can swap screens, allowing the client to view their screen, but client devices cannot initiate that process.

Supporting Mobile Devices

In many businesses, much of the day-to-day work of the organization is done on mobile devices. Calendar management, email, messaging, file sharing: all of these tasks are rapidly and easily performed on mobile devices. Any support platform that doesn’t allow users to connect with mobile devices is missing a major part of the modern business’ technology equation.

When smartphones break, Zoho Assist is ready to help fix them. Thanks to the application’s lightweight design philosophy and streamlined interface, technicians can use mobile devices to connect to desktops, or connect to a mobile device from their desktop. Mobile users just need to download the Zoho Assist mobile application, then connect to the session through the app using a unique key. Because the mobile device initiates the connections, the app evades iOS’ restrictive firewall rules, engaging a remote ad-hoc connection over whatever network the device is connected to.

On Samsung devices running Android, you can also take control of the device as if it were a desktop PC. On other devices, you’ll be limited to seeing the users screen and live chatting with them.

Integration with the Zoho Suite

Zoho Assist’s biggest selling point is the deep integration with the remainder of the Zoho platform. If your shop already runs the customer service and support tracker Zoho Desk or the live chat application Zoho SalesIQ, Zoho Assist can interface with and seamlessly extend the functionality of those programs.

With Zoho’s other applications, you can expedite report generation and task tracking from within your existing software suite.

Tracking and Reporting

For record keeping, training, and quality assurance, Zoho Assist can record videos and transcripts of all support sessions, archiving them for later review. In the event of a customer complaint, these sorts of records are invaluable for understanding what actually happened.

When sending a connection request to the client user, Zoho Assist can use email templates to keep your communications uniform and on-brand across different technicians and locations. The pre-written templates are filled in with the automatically generated connection code, so the technician just needs to tap a button. Since your techs don’t need to spend as much time on paperwork, they can focus on what they were hired to do: help your customers.

Unattended Access

Outside of tech support calls, Zoho Assist can also be used as a simple remote administration tool. Technicians can use the unattended access tools to connect to a computer even when the user is not available or logged in. For basic use, Zoho interfaces with the Bulk Deployment Manager with paexec and WMI or Startup Script with your Windows Group Policy Objects (GPO). In addition to built-in deployment options, you can send power signals like shutdown and restart to the remote device—all without the user’s presence or involvement.

If your primary use case in unattended support, Zoho has a special tier of Zoho Assist for you. With unlimited remote support connections, you can administer a fleet of devices from one software node, streamlining enterprise deployment procedures. Better still, since Zoho is natively multi-platform, you don’t need a different deployment process for different device types.

Additional Options

In addition to the remote support tools, Zoho Assist offers a panoply of additional features to simplify your remote support workflow, save time, and increase efficiency across your organization.

File Transfer

While connected to a support session, the technician can send files to the client device using a simple file upload tool. When the technician initiates the transfer, the user has the options to accept or reject the file. Once accepted, the file is saved to their local device and can be opened and used by either the connected technician or the local customer.

Multi-monitor Support

If the client device has more monitors than the technician device, remote support calls can get difficult, requiring the user to corral all their windows into a single window for the tech to see what’s happening. Zoho Assist allows the technician to select the monitor that they are currently viewing. It even graphically reflects the physical layout of the monitors in the selection window based on the operating system’s display configuration.

Special Keyboard Commands

While connected to a client device, the technician can send certain special commands to the computer from their local machine. For example, the technician can open Task Manager with the Control + Alt + Delete keyboard commands, switch apps with Alt + Tab, or take a screenshot.

On-screen Annotation

Using Zoho Assist’s annotation tools, the technician can draw on the user’s screen temporarily. This small but crucial tool dramatically lowers the difficulty of most tech support calls. When you can actually point to the user’s screen, you spend far less time directing the user with vague language like “lower-left-hand-corner” and “the blue orb with the four squares.” Since problems are solved more quickly, users are happier and technicians are more productivity. It’s a win for everyone.

Live Customer Chat

Alongside the screen sharing, users have access to a live text chat window. Messages can be sent between the technician and the client. While many remote support sessions occur while the technician is on the phone with the client, the text chat provides a secondary option for communication.

White-Labelling and Rebranding

To mesh with your company’s branding, Zoho Assist can be “white labeled.” This means all Zoho branding is removed and replaced with your own brand. Consumers love seeing branded tools, because it provides a significant but unconscious boost to your company’s credibility. After all, if you have software with your own name on it, you must be the real deal. That’s what Microsoft does!

Reboot and Reconnect

Rebooting during a tech support call can be a major hurdle. If you’re connected to the device, you’ll be kicked off as soon as it shuts down. And considering how frequently rebooting is required when supporting devices, starting a new connection each time isn’t a great solution. Fortunately, Zoho Assist is smart enough to automatically reconnect to the client device when it powers on again. Sometimes, it’s hard enough to get users into a remote support session: don’t make yourself do it twice.

User Account Control Compatibility

Fighting against the user’s computer to keep your connection active is something no technician needs to deal with. Because Zoho Assist is completely compatible with Windows’ user account control, your users can provide the correct level of permissions for the application to do its job.

Pricing

Zoho Assist comes in a variety of pricing tiers. The free level provides enough power for a single user that occasionally needs to connect to desktop PCs remotely. The free version doesn’t including the mobile app, nor the auditing and reporting features. The middle tiers gradually add features and bill on a per-seat basis, including in-demand options like Zendesk integration, rebranding, custom domain mapping, annotation, and session recording. A final option offers unattended access for up to 25 devices per month, with deployment tools to connect to and administer devices remotely.

Conclusion

Our favorite feature of Zoho Assist is its deceptive simplicity. The user interface includes only the essentials, with clear icons and accompanying text labels. This makes the app easier for users and technicians alike, allowing for lightning-fast bobsleds runs through common options once the user is familiar with the interface. Whether you’re seeking a support option that integrates with your existing Zoho suite or you just need an excellent remote support tool, Zoho Assist delivers in spades.

Billy

Web Developer

Billy is a Wordpress Developer with an eye for design. His knowledge will help our company website and client sites meet their goals. Billy and his young family have just moved to Ashland Oregon, and are looking forward to exploring the area’s amazing beer, wine, and food. He also has a passion for synthesizers and drum machines.

Lucas Sant'Anna

Developer

With a background in Operations Research and Data Analysis, Lucas is a Brazilian programmer that likes to get stuff done quickly and reliably. In previous jobs, he implemented industrial job scheduling, fleet management and detailed long-haul route optimization – among other data-driven processes – to reach objectives of increased profit and reduced wasted resources. His goal is to make Zoho fully automated and with more meaningful data for spot-on decisions.

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