ConnectWise Launches ChatAssist For Integrated Chat, Remote Control Capabilities

ConnectWise launched a new add-on for its business management platform that allows for integrated remote control and chat capabilities for partners to service their end users with a single click, the company said this week.

The ChatAssist allows for real-time interaction and visibility between end users and solution providers to both resolve IT issues and facilitate sales. The solution is 100 percent integrated with the ConnectWise ticketing system so the time stamp and dialogue gets automatically inputted into a ticket.

ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini said the company research and experience with its own Tampa Bay area-based solution provider business showed that end users are "confounded" with phone support and prefer the immediacy and ease of online chat.

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"It accomplishes the main goal to take the SLA and response time and to just collapse it down and compress that time. ... With this solution you're taking care of them in real time. What we've been able to prove is that real time support really increases the customer satisfaction level tremendously," Bellini said.

ConnectWise, he said, has found that ChatAssist improves the solution provider's SLAs by 70 percent, while using fewer people to support each client.

"The reality is that [end users] want the problem resolved right then and there. All of the ways traditional support is being done today are really just cop outs for what we really should be doing," Bellini said. "What we should be doing is we should be one click away. What we are seeing is any top notch service organization, world class service organization, is making access to service very quick and simple."

On top of ease for end users, Bellini said that the ChatAssist solution builds efficiencies and cuts costs for solution providers themselves as fewer staff can address a larger pool of tickets.

Any current ConnectWise partners can try the ChatAssist add-on free for 30 days. It will cost $30 per user per month after that. Bellini predicts more than 90 percent of ConnectWise's more than 90,000 customers will ultimately use the product.

ConnectWise "ate our own dog food" when it came to the ChatAssist program and has had it implemented for three months at its Tampa Bay area solution provider. Now 60 percent of new customer ticket requests are coming in through ChatAssist instead of by phone or email, according to Bellini.

"That says to me that's the preferred way that most people want to interact with us," Bellini said.

Bellini said he didn’t think any competitors or even vendors of remote control or chat software had an offering with quite the same capabilities as the new ChatAssist rollout.

There are applications for the add-on beyond answering tickets, Bellini said. Solution providers can use the tool to put a chat option on their website to directly connect potential customers to sales staff who can answer their questions.

Jaimy Thornton, senior director of managed services at Denton, Texas-based GSATi, said his company has been beta testing the ChatAssist solution for 15 days. He said GSATi has not yet rolled it out to its customers but said it worked pretty well with only a few bugs. Thornton expects GSATi will add on the solution over the next six months or so and expects most of his clients to use the features.

"I think it’s a great move for them. I know that a lot of companies are going towards chat," Thornton said.

While he said the program overall was very good, Thornton said he wished it also offered support for Mac computers, which many of his clients use. Another possible obstacle, Thornton said, is making sure that the chat feature is fully staffed when rolled out to clients.

"It is kind of a hurdle for us because we have to staff for it as well. We don’t want our clients to have a negative experience with chat," Thornton said, adding that might involve hiring some additional staff but hoped that wouldn’t be the case.

As for the next addition to the ConnectWise platform, Thornton said he hoped to see more project-oriented solutions. He said, right now, he has to turn to other platforms to manage all of the company's projects, but would like to do it all within the ConnectWise platform.

Bellini said this is just the first stage of innovation for the ChatAssist tool. Partners can expect to see more developments to the program down the road, he said, including potential outsourcing options for help desk support.