How Advantage Microsystems Cut Resolution Time by 20% After Implementing Thread
Teams, Inbox, Workflow
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Advantage Microsystems is a leading MSP serving insurance brokers, nonprofits, and more with enterprise-level information security and business strategy — all with boutique care and support.
- How Advantage lost time and productivity before discovering Thread
- How Thread’s functionality as an embedded tool increases uptake
- The future adoption curve of integrate chat features like Thread
“With Thread, our clients actually feel like they're getting better service now because the method of communication is simpler and more familiar to them.”
Before Thread: Wasting Time on Disjointed Communication
The Advantage team’s support ticket issues started with one of their younger, more modern clients since most of their employees don’t have work phones.
This blocker gradually turned into a series of communication pain points:
- Phone calls are no longer an option — The client’s employees don’t mix personal phones with work. As such, whenever they created support tickets, they never left easily accessible phone numbers for the Advantage team.
- Email requires too much extra effort — Without phones, communication would often devolve into a game of email tag, meaning extra work for everyone involved.
- Struggling with Slack comms — The client wanted to use Slack, but Advantage didn’t have the necessary systems in place. When the client reached out on Slack anyway, that comms line bypassed their policy and dispatch procedures, which wreaked havoc.
Advantage just could not allow this disorganized outreach system to keep going.
They needed a better way for clients to communicate, open tickets, check existing tickets, and reach out for more support.
So, Advantage began searching for a way to integrate client-facing chat directly in Slack.
They tested a few native platform solutions, which Advantage found to be antiquated and underdeveloped, namely since they don’t integrate with Slack. He knew that, realistically, none of his clients would use it.
“Clients didn’t want to use their personal phones, so we had a support desk where they submitted tickets. Then, they’d never leave us their personal numbers, so we'd have no easy way to reach them via cell.”
Onboarding with Thread: Seamless Integrations with Clients
Rob finally discovered Thread and worked directly with our CEO to explore some demos. He could tell that Thread ticked all of the boxes they’d been looking for, including:
- A solution that leveraged popular client chat platforms, namely Teams and Slack
- A solution that integrated with ConnectWise PSA
All in all, they needed something that could plug right in without breaking their existing process. The Advantage and Thread teams carefully plotted the partnership during early stages.
In particular, Rob helped build as much of the process as possible to ensure the finished product would fit into Advantage’s existing practices — not hamper workflows.
He also ensured Advantage employees were trained to use Thread properly to respond to clients, since they’d never used this sort of chat interface for tickets before.
After a couple of months, Rob was happy to see how Thread was meshing internally.
Client feedback was very positive, so they rolled Thread out universally. Client buy-in was key here. Rob cites the saying, “You can only lead the horse to water,” so if the client isn’t interested in using a chat function, it’s entirely useless to them.
Fortunately, clients who do already use Teams or Slack for internal chat are excited across the board to also handle their support tickets on those platforms.
“Thread allows our clients to use their preferred platforms to create tickets that link directly to our ticketing software. From there, we can reach back out to chat with them. That’s a real slam dunk.”
Thread’s Benefits: Happier Customers and Responsive Vendors
Since implementing Thread, Advantage has seen a number of benefits throughout their customer support workflows.
1. Embedded Tooling is Easy to Adopt
In Rob’s words: “Nobody wants another tool. Everyone gets a little tech fatigue after a while when you have thirteen windows open for all your different platforms.”
People want to leverage what they already have, so tools are usually most successful when they efficiently integrate with what’s already in use. This eliminates a potential mental blocker for employees when they’re forced to learn a new application.
2. Accessible & Responsive Tooling Providers
Rob has direct access to Thread’s COO and CEO whenever he wants to troubleshoot. He can simply reach out, and one of them will place the query on an internal request board.
This means Advantage gets rapid comms and development turnaround on anything they believe would benefit their user experience or the Thread platform at large.
It’s a highly encouraging client experience, which also allows Advantage to help optimize the tool they’ve been so excited to discover.
3. Familiar Interfaces Boost Customer Satisfaction
Clients who have already adopted Thread chat enjoy how Advantage has an easier method for reaching them. It solved a circular issue:
If clients don’t provide phone numbers or check emails, how can they reach support? Tickets would often auto-close because they never received responses, but now clients feel like they’re truly being heard by Advantage — all thanks to Thread.
These familiar, simple modes of communication provide the impression of better service.
4. How Thread Boosts Advantage’s Value Prop
When Advantage is pursuing a new client that uses Slack or Teams, they can lead by asking how integrated the company is with those platforms.
The answer is almost always: “We use it every day.”
This opens the door wide for Advantage’s pitch. In other words, Thread demonstrates that Advantage is an MSP with the right cutting-edge tech to slot seamlessly into their current ecosystem while bringing their comms up to speed with the rest of the tech industry.
“Having direct access to Thread’s leadership has meant direct communication and quick development turnaround. It’s been really beneficial to our platform.”
Is Chat the Future of Service Experiences?
Rob certainly hopes so — at least for the future of the MSP space, although he stipulates that it may be too soon to say.
In training other MSPs, he’s found that chat isn’t as widely adopted as you’d expect.
That’s mainly since there hasn’t been a product (until now) that integrated with PSAs. If they do, they’re usually inclusive (i.e., even Zendesk is used internally). That PSA compatibility is key because MSPs use it to keep track of thousands of clients across a slew of platforms.
Until Thread, Rob hadn’t encountered a tool that allowed Advantage to integrate a PSA into a chat platform or leverage chat as part of a help desk system. This whole space is relatively new, and Rob still doesn’t know of competitors who’ve followed in their footsteps yet.
Overall, he imagines the space will continue to evolve toward chat, especially as younger generations have never lived separate from texting, an extremely common chat function. They've had phones their whole lives, and chat and texting go hand-in-hand.
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