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    Helping the Help Desk: Screen-Recording Software Makes Support Jobs Faster

    By Carla Wardin

    As a help desk professional, you're undoubtedly interested in a way to enhance your site's FAQ or tutorial information, produce on-the-spot solutions and decrease expenses. Sound like an unattainable goal? It's not. Welcome to screen recording tools. With screen recording tools, you can quickly and easily demonstrate how easy it is to use your software and site.

    With screen recording tools, you can record videos of on-screen activity from any application. It's simple to record a screen, window, or region. If desired, you can add explanatory text, drawings and cursor highlights. To further assist the learning process, you can narrate the video. You can edit the video and deliver it in all popular multimedia formats - burn it on a CD, place it on a Web site, or save it to a file. Just imagine how you can assist your customers with your illustrative, advisory videos...

    Enhancing your company's FAQ
    "I looked on your site, but I couldn't figure out the answer."

    Have you heard this on a support call? Minimize the number of those calls by making your FAQ page as informative as you always wanted it to be. If you have a quick video that explains how to perform a feature's function, it works so much better than trying to explain it with only text. And since screen recording tools are so easy to learn and use, it'll only take you a few minutes to create a video that will save your customers hours.

    Creating your own video library
    "Hmm. I guess I still don't understand. Could you explain it to me again?"

    When you can rapidly explain the features and functions of your software and Web site with screen recording, full-motion onscreen videos, you won't have to repeatedly explain. Instead, you can direct your customers to your Web site library. Collect any videos the help desk creates and make them available to ensure greater customer understanding and satisfaction. Organize them and direct your customers to that area of the site - they can make the visit before the call, or they can return to a video as many times as they need to see it.

    Producing on-the-spot solutions
    "Now... what's the next step I take, again?"

    All help desk professionals look for a better way to communicate with customers. With screen capture tools you can create a video and immediately e-mail it to them. This way, you can address their specific problem on a level they'll understand. You won't need to repeat yourself. And - you guessed it - the solution video can also go straight into the video library for later reference!

    Decreasing costs
    "Isn't there a quicker, cheaper way you could help me understand?"

    Interested in decreasing expenses? With screen recording tools, support professionals dramatically lower call times and call center costs by sharing compelling how-to videos. As an added bonus, some software such as TechSmith's Camtasia combine the power of world-class applications for real-time creation and can deliver the video in all popular formats, like AVI, RM, MOV and WMV. That way, you can record what you need and share it with anyone, anywhere.

    Helpful real life examples
    "Oh - now I see how you do it!"

    For example, Al Ackermann of Chevron-Texaco turned to screen recording tools because he "need[ed] an inexpensive and easy-to-use tool to develop tasks related training demos accessible from the company intranet." As a result, Mr. Ackerman said, "We got high praise from our end users. It was very effective for rolling out changes during software upgrades."

    Likewise, Masaaki Yoshida of Bentley Systems Japan uses screen recording tools to help customers understand their CAD software, which is called Microstation. Mr. Yoshida said, "When I answer customers' questions, sometimes they cannot understand the answers, so I record my operation of Microstation as an AVI file and send it to the customer." Mr. Yoshida also uses screen recording tools internally by sending AVIs to Bentley headquarters when he personally has questions about the program.

    Screen recording tools for help desk use aids people in various businesses. At the University of Oklahoma, the Information Technology department needed to get information out to a large audience about several University-wide initiatives. Denise Davis explained, "Since there is no way we could possibly handle one-on-one or instructor-led training, we thought screen recordings would be a way to reach the most number of people. We have produced several AVIs and are pleased with the product."

    And finally, Manager of Training Operations Carol Gomez at Nestle uses screen recording software to "create system (SAP) simulations for training purposes." She likes it because she can create comparatively small file sizes, and the files do not require a proprietary player.

    When you enter the world of screen recording tools, you'll be impressed at the value and effectiveness of the videos. Your support staff is the best - why not support them with the optimum tools? Explore screen recording tools today - and don't be surprised when you start answering every customer with, "I have just the video for you!"

    Carla Wardin is a Technical Marketing Writer at TechSmith, Inc., and currently lives in Cary, NC. To learn more, visit