Few phrases can bring as much anxiety to the computer user as “Contact Tech Support”—and for many good reasons.

For some, this phrase means endless “hold” times with little hope of a favorable outcome. To others, the expectation is a broken conversation with an outsourced third-party somewhere overseas. As one reader recalled a past support conversation, “They have cute accents, but didn’t solve my problem.”

For most, we anticipate dealing with a call center where staff leads us through the typical “flow-chart” of possibilities. This almost always starts with “reboot Windows” and commonly ends with such unhelpful advice as: “Reinstall the program or drivers” or “Reinstall Windows.”

The only alternative to these scenarios is a trip to the local computer store followed by several days without your system, and a hefty bill to follow.

Whether you’ve called for support regarding hardware, software, Internet connectivity or general computer health, odds are good that you’ve been frustrated more often that not.

This leads to a great deal of user impatience, as any support technician will tell you.

Like most users, I’ve come to expect little and avoid calling “support” as much as possible, considering it an act of desperation and last resort.

Viable Options?

Given all of the above, you might be able to imagine my surprise when presented with a tech-support solution that’s reasonably priced, efficient in finding a solution and available 24 hours a day. The company I’m referencing is called YourTechOnline.com (YTO) but before you begin to think you know what this means, I’m here to tell you that it probably doesn’t.

Using GoToAssist technology, YTO technicians can remotely access your computer, while on the phone with you at the same time. This approach enables their support technicians to not only “listen” to your questions, but to also see what’s on your screen in real time.

The benefits of this approach are numerable:

  • Say your Outlook is behaving strange? There’s no need to explain, they’ll be able to see this for themselves.
  • Not sure if your virus protection is adequate or if your system is harboring spyware? No problem, they’ll investigate while you watch along and can even install and update software to combat both.
  • A particular problem with hardware, software or Windows itself? YourTechOnline.com staff can see what you see and discover an endless variety of problems.

Because of the combination of phone and Internet support, there are two other real benefits that make YTO likely the best of all possible solutions:

  1. You get to see what they’re doing, while they’re doing it and they’ll gladly explain the process along the way. In fact, while they’re diagnosing and fixing your system, they spend a good amount of effort “training” you so that you’ll know how to apply the solution yourself should the need occur in the future. This is particularly useful for those who want to understand how to protect their systems from viruses and spyware.
  2. Even when the issue is something beyond their ability to fix remotely (a failing memory chip, for instance) they can still often diagnose the issue which, in turn, allows you to make arrangements for repair. Imagine the piece of mind that comes with walking into a computer repair center (or calling the manufacturer) and being able to tell them exactly what the problem is that needs fixing.

A Real Life Example

While all of this sounded pretty good to me on paper, I thought I’d put Your Tech Online to the test. To accurately gauge their ability to service the average computer user, I had my wife call for a general “check-up” and to see if YTO could make her system run any better.

In 35 minutes, the online tech…

  • Took control of her screen and showed her all of the unnecessary programs running automatically at startup and helped her disable those she didn’t really need.
  • Showed her how to update her AV definition files (which were dangerously stale) and configured her program to update these automatically every day.
  • Installed a spy-ware detection program and showed her how to use it.
  • Ran a few other tests and answered a number of nagging questions she had about her system. Amusingly, it was only during this session that she became aware that her notebook (which she has had for a full year) was capable of both reading and writing to DVD. The tech even showed her how to find and use the related software!

All of this was accomplished with fairly “normal” and understandable directions, aided by using a “virtual marker” to draw her attention to particular items on her computer screen.

While my wife’s computer wasn’t actually “broken,” the YTO tech significantly speeded up her system, gave her piece of mind and protection from viruses and spyware and answered several nagging questions about how to perform specific functions as well. As far as she’s concerned, it was the most productive 35 minutes she’s ever spent in front of her computer.

Cost Effective?

High-quality tech support can be expensive. Fortunately this is not the case with Your Tech Online. As of the date of this artricle, support plans start at just $49 for 30 minutes or a full hour for just $79, and you’re not charged for time spent on hold (which wasn’t long anyway). Considering that you get one-on-one personal attention and are essentially receiving training along the way, the value is above reproach.

In fact, many YTO clients use the service more for training than actual tech support. Whether you want to learn how to create email filters, perform mass mailings or just about any other computer related task YTO can help you more often than not.

If you have a computer problem, need to learn specific tasks or simply want a “tune-up” to speed up your system and protect it from virus and spyware threats, you’ll want to try YourTechOnline.com, and if you’re like most of their clients, you’ll come back often—on average four times per year. That alone speaks volumes for the quality of service and value they provide.