SupportBots launched a free trial period in February so MSPs can test them and provide feedback. For now, their main functionality is booking customers with available technicians, but the plan is to eventually do much more than that.
Framingham MA-based SupportBots, whose AI-driven support tool for MSPs is now several weeks into a deep free testing period, is gathering customer feedback on the bots for final fine tuning. They look to roll out the final version, and paid plans, in a couple of months.
“Some PSAs have chat features, but there is nothing like this on the market,” said Alex Shvayetsky, SupportBots’ founder. “The idea is to provide an automated system which is easy for customers to use, while at the same time being something MSPs are comfortable with. I don’t know how comfortable we are at this point where an MSP lets an AI perform tasks on customers’ computers without their full involvement.”
Shvayetsky described a SupportBot as an AI-powered member of the MSP team.
“It sits on the MSP’s site, and the customer sees a little icon,” Shvayetsky said. “It can handle some customer issues and tickets, although we don’t want to leave it to be too open ended. We are trying to keep questions and answers to a specific script right now because we don’t want 75 per cent accuracy. We want 100 per cent accuracy.”
At this stage, the important feature of the SupportBot is its ability to book customer appointments with the MSP’s technicians.
“It is completely integrated with PSA software,” Shvayetsky indicated. “When MSPs sign up, it’s a quick set up for them. They can customize the message, and also activate which technicians they want to use with the SupportBot. There is full integration with Office 365 calendar, and it integrates with the techs’ schedules to make appointments. This saves a lot of time just on the back and forth.”
That time saving translates into real and visible cost savings for the MSP, Shvayetsky said. Based on Payscale.com’s estimate of an average U.S.-based Technical Support Specialist yearly salary of $47,444/year – a $22 average hourly rate – SupportBot estimates a savings of $600 monthly for each technician. That is based on the Bot saving each technician 28 hours per month.
“Since the pricing is not by individual tech, but a flat fee of $99 per month for up to eight techs, that means meaningful savings for the MSP,” Shvayetsky indicated. Pricing gets better for larger numbers of supported techs.
Shvayetsky acknowledged that SupportBots are only at the beginning of their utility, and that they intend to build in more functionality which will allow the bots to handle technical issues themselves.
“Chatbots are hard,” he stated. “There is a reason that the PSAs didn’t develop these on their own before. They aren’t completely functional as a total system just yet because there are voice recognition issues. We are working on upgrading the bots’ ability to chat now. The ultimate direction is full automation, where the customer calls in and tells the bot their problem and the bot will try and fix it. We aren’t there yet.
“We aren’t trying to replace techs at this point, just saving their time,” Shvayetsky added.
The present free trial period – Shvayetsky is hesitant to call it a beta – is designed to elicit feedback from MSPs.
“We want to make sure its tested and tested before we roll it out as a paid product,” he said. We are getting people to tell us what they like, and what they don’t like. The objective is to switch to paid plans in about two months, although there will still be a free option then.”
Since the purpose of SupportBots is to make PSA functionality more efficient, it makes sense that PSAs would be a logical route to market. SupportBots is now working with AutoTask and ConnectWise in the free trial period.
“Right now, we are only with those two, the market leaders, and we will see what direction we will take as after that,” Shvayetsky said. “We have been thinking about Salesforce and Tigerpaw. We will have more integrations, but for now we are just focused on those two.” This included recent attendance at an AutoTask conference.
Shvayetsky said that SupportBots has utility for both small and large MSPs.
“Smaller MSPs are really valuable in the trial period, because you can get more hands-on with them, and talk about what they like and what they don’t like,” he said. “We won’t be limited to SMBs, however. We have a few users with 200 techs, although they may choose to activate only some of them. We do see bigger companies using it, because you don’t pay per tech. The savings are per tech but the costs are not per tech.”
Given the ability to brand the SupportBots the way MSPs want, custom plans will also be available for MSPs.
MSPs can take part in the free trial through https://app.supportbots.io/signup