One of the things I love about calling the Helpdesk to resolve a computer problem is the way they “take control” of your computer, and fix the problem remotely, while you sit there and watch.

I recall the early days of mobile phones when the operator asked you for the IMEI number of your handset. The reply to the question “where do I find the IMEI number?” was always “it’s under the battery”. So of course you would remove your battery…then try and call back to get the same helpful operator.

How many times have you found yourself stuck somewhere between panic and despair when your email ceases to work, or you adjusted a setting on your phone just to see what would happen and now nothing works? It’s what I call the “wet paint syndrome” – where human nature compels us to touch any surface that has a warning not to do so just so we can confirm there really is wet paint there. And yes, I now have one finger that’s a different colour to the rest of my hand!

To complete the gang of three emotions – we can add denial to panic and despair! After all nobody ever changes a setting right? – I know this to be factual as I have never changed settings… literally thousands of times!

So with all our paint touching and getting into hot water with email settings etc it seems that telcos need to have user friendly ways of solving our technology issues.

As a result of feedback from over 700,000 Australians, Telstra has launched LogMeIn Rescue to assist customers with device and computer problems. LogMeIn Rescue is a remote access facility that is now standard to the BigPond technical support and mobile assurance helpdesk services provided by Telstra.

Primarily the remote access is being used to assist customers setting up a BigPond email account, diagnosing  problems on a smartphone, and changing customers’ internet settings. The great thing is the operator will do most of the work for you while you sit back and watch.

LogMeIn RescueA Telstra Helpdesk operator used the remote management tool recently to help me set up my new iPhone 4. After providing my mobile phone number, the operator assisted with the setup of my BigPond account. The only thing I had to do was to confirm a couple of details on screen, and key in my own password – which only I could see. Had I forgotten or not know my password, the operator could have reset it for me as well. What’s even more impressive is that it was done whilst I was out and about  in a public place with plenty of background noise. You can see how simple it was on the video below.

I also liked the fact that there were no assumptions made regarding my technical knowledge. It was carried out in simple English.

How secure is it? The helpdesk folk do not have File Manager access, and you must grant the technician permission to use each LogMeIn Rescue function. It uses 256-bit SSL encryption  – which is the same security levels used and trusted by many major banking institutions.

The tool currently supports Windows Mobile, Symbian, BlackBerry and Apple operating systems. Over time Telstra will further expand the support capabilities and functions.

Telstra Helpdesk staff use the tool 24/7 to help resolve customer issues so you don’t have to wait until the next business day to get your services in order. Given we tend to use either our smartphone, PDA or computer on the go, it’s is reassuring  to know there is someone out there waiting at all hours to help in times of digital crisis.

So, who you gonna call?