What does ShoreTel do? We are the leading provider of business communications. ShoreTel Sky is our cloud-based offering. Over 2,500 businesses rely on ShoreTel Sky for their business phone systems and applications.
We are very different from most companies that offer cloud-based phone systems. Our network is optimized for voice. Our call routing and management software is customized end-to-end to support the needs of business. Our staff is obsessed with delivering business change and an enjoyable client experience. The network, systems and people are all very different from what you’ll experience from a hosted offering that is one of many Telco products.
How long have you been around? ShoreTel entered the IP telephony market in 1996. Our hosted phone system technology was developed by M5 Networks starting in 2000. In 2012, M5 Networks was acquired by ShoreTel and is now ShoreTel’s Cloud Division.
Where are you located? ShoreTel is based in Sunnyvale, California, and has regional offices in Austin, Texas; Rochester and New York, N.Y.; Chicago, Illinois; Maidenhead, United Kingdom; Sydney, Australia; and Singapore.
How many employees do you have? The Cloud Division has approximately 250 employees and we are hiring.
How many customers do you have? ShoreTel Sky serves more than 2,500 clients across many industries including; real estate and property management, staffing, financial services, retail, legal, government, information technology, not for profit and business services. More than 100,000 people rely on ShoreTel Sky phones.
Why should I trust ShoreTel ? This is the key question, and one that we encourage our prospects to take the time to evaluate carefully. ShoreTel Sky has one offering – cloud based phone systems – so we’d better be great at it. We work with you directly, in partnership with your IT support staff – there is no one else accountable for keeping promises to you. We measure our success in clients who will confidently refer us to other businesses.
Our clients chose us largely because of our record of both reliability and honesty. We publish our performance publicly, and in real‐time, to signal our commitment to set the highest standards for both.
Are you hiring? Yes! Please have a look at our open positions and learn more about what it’s like to work at ShoreTel.
Cloud Based Phone System
What is a cloud based phone system and why would I want one? Rather than rely on hardware and cables in a closet cloud based systems leverage systems that reside in secure data centers. Vendors can take responsibility for owning, configuring and managing them. Other terms you may hear associated with cloud based phone systems include hosted VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) and virtual PBX.
Will switching to a cloud based solution save me money? Usually, but not always. It would be disingenuous to try to answer that question without knowing what you are spending now. There are, however, a few things to keep in mind. The cost of a traditional phone system includes much more than the initial capital investment. It also includes the cost of the resources to manage and maintain it, monthly long distance bills and other hidden costs.
With ShoreTel Sky, you will know all of the costs of your system up front, have predictable monthly fees and an entire team dedicated to your success. It’s a bit like comparing costs between buying a lawn mower and contracting with a service to landscape your lawn each week.
Don’t internet phone calls sound bad? In some cases they can. The main factor that determines call quality is the the data network on which it runs. For our customers, a private connection to our network eliminates the negative impact Internet traffic can have on voice quality. We insist on back-up connectivity to eliminate interruptions caused by inevitable circuit downtime. We also monitor our carriers in order to avoid problems before they affect our customers.
I used Vonage/Skype/MagicJack/etc and the voice quality was terrible. How are you different? This type of provider generally use the public Internet, where call quality might be spotty and DSL or cable lines can go out from time to time. This is fine for consumer use, but our clients expect perfect calls and non-stop dial tone. That’s why we connect to our customers via a private connection.
Keep in mind that, Vonage, cable companies, and Skype are primarily selling to individuals, ShoreTel provides a virtual PBX service to business exclusively.
Do you use the public Internet to route phone calls? The public Internet is not used to route phone calls to your office locations. For ShoreTel Sky customers, a private connection to our network eliminates the negative impact Internet traffic can have on voice quality. However, in the case of someone working from home, or an office with few users, the public Internet is utilized. These types of users are classified as “off net” because they are not using ShoreTel Sky’s private connection.
How can you guarantee the call quality? Our carrier-grade softswitches are housed in world-class premiere data centers and connect to your office via private T-1 connections for the highest level of Quality of Service (QOS). We groom our customer’s primary and back up connectivity to different end points to ensure redundancy. We route calls over diverse carriers and the components of our phone system live on separate servers so there is no single point of failure. As a result we are prepared for any possible equipment or availability issues that may arise.
Will I still need to buy phone service from my local telephone company? Not for telephone use. However, the ShoreTel Sky system is digital and some devices still require an analog connection. Examples include fax machines and alarm systems. You will need to retain local service for devices of this type.
When I dial 911, will the emergency responders have my address? In compliance with the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999, all phones have an address registered with Dash 911. For phones at main offices, this is handled during installation. People who are working remotely can log into the ShoreTel Sky’s Portal to associate an alternative address with their phone number.
What happens if my network connection goes down? In most cases, nothing. We insist on back-up connectivity to eliminate interruptions caused by inevitable network downtime. If your network goes down, calls are routed over the Internet-based backup.
What happens if the power goes out? If your network is configured with a backup power source, then nothing will happen. Our Cisco phones can operate with Ethernet power. However, even if your network does not have back up power and you are unable to access the Internet, your callers will still be able to reach voice mail and our Portal can be used by a wireless device to forward phones to other locations or mobile phones. This is an improvement over a PBX without power, which would offer your callers a busy signal, or worse, nothing.
The power to our systems is very unlikely to go out. Our systems reside in carrier grade collocation data center facilities with five days of backup power. Even if a major weather event impacts power, these restoration of power to these facilities is given top priority.
Why do you require private bandwidth? Why can’t I use the public Internet? Call quality and security can simply not be guaranteed over the public internet. Public Internet solutions like Skype and Vontage are fine for home use or use by very small businesses, but the quality and security risks are not acceptable for our customers.
I have multiple locations. Can we dial between these locations? Absolutely. Our system facilitates 4-digit dialing between offices and remote locations.
The ShoreTel Sky Experience
What does it mean that my service will be managed? A well-managed system feels easy. It just works. We’ve discovered that this is what users need to get real impact out a cloud based solution.
With ShoreTel Sky’s phone system, your business gets:
- Experienced project managers to run implementations.
- A dedicated team that monitors system issues and feature usage, proactively helping customers improve and stay “in tune” over time.
- On-demand support and training for administrators and end users who simply double-tap the “?” button on their phones to log a case.
- Focus on our customer’s customer. The right call flow gets callers where they want to go quickly.
- Experts to guide clients through using our advanced call center or linking phones to business applications like CRM.
How can I trust that my service will be available? The ShoreTel Sky Experience also means controlling the network to ensure perfect call quality and uninterrupted service. We insist on private, managed connections and hot failovers for nearly every location with more than a handful of people. Our handsets collect call-quality statistics. We monitor the phone companies “upstream” from us, so we can route around problems before you notice them.
Do I need an IT person to administer our phone system? Not for long. IT assistance during the installation is required. The amount of IT support needed for the installation depends on the type of installation service selected.
What if we have a problem – who do we call? What if we’re not sure it’s an ShoreTel Sky issue? You call us. At a time when most companies are making it more and more difficult to reach a live person for customer support, ShoreTel proves commitment to provide a truly managed solution for our customers with ShoreTel Sky Help. ShoreTel Sky Help makes it easy to interact with a customer support expert. If you have an issue or a question discuss with a member of the support team, simply press the “?” key on your Cisco phone and select the option to call support. There’s no need to look up a phone number or request a call back, as we’re just a button away.
Sales and Service
How much does it cost? Can I get a quote? There are two main components to our fees: private network per location, and per phone. There are also optional features, such as contact center, hosted call recording and voice mail to email transcription, for which we charge separately. We would love to assess your needs and provide a price quote.
How long does it take to start using ShoreTel Sky once we place an order? The implementation time frame is 30-45 days for standard implementations. Staged rollouts for multiple locations are scheduled based on client install order preference. Delays in the provision of information, required equipment or site access can cause the process to take longer. Your ShoreTel Project manager will work with you to keep the project on track.
Who trains my users? ShoreTel’s team of expert training professionals offers both remote web-based training and on site training for your users. A special training session will be scheduled with the dedicated phone manager for each site.
We have a complicated call flow. Will you set it up for us? Yes. Set up with your call flow is included with your implementation.
What kinds of features are included with ShoreTel Sky service? The ShoreTel Sky solution comes complete with all of the features you’d expect from an enterprise phone system and more. Here are a few:
- Advanced Voicemail
- Flexible Auto Attendant
- Coaching Solutions
- Time Specific Call Routing
- Personal Call Management
We have a call center. Does ShoreTel Sky have a complete call center solution? Yes. We are dedicated to helping our customers deliver a world-class caller experience by offering the ultimate in flexibility for configuring the way in which calls are handled, from initial reception to final resolution. With ShoreTel Sky Contact Center, callers don’t just get to a person; they get to the right person. ShoreTel Sky customers respond quickly to inbound calls to avoid misses, use real-time monitoring to ensure staffing matches call volumes, and seamlessly handle unexpected spikes in phone activity.
How can we record our telephone calls with ShoreTel Sky? ShoreTel Sky RePLAY, our optional call recording service gives subscribers the ability to record phone calls and retrieve the recording via a Web interface. All calls can be automatically recorded, or call recording can be configured for selective use with the push of a button on the telephone.
Recordings are easily retrieved through a simple Web interface. Subscribers can search for names, calling numbers, the time, the date, the duration of a call, and many other attributes. This provides fast and easy management of recordings. Because everything is managed in the cloud, there is no additional equipment required at your location.
Can I conduct conference calls? Certainly. ShoreTel Sky Conferencing is a convenient and powerful tool for your everyday phone conferencing needs. Also known as “reservationless” or “unattended conferencing,” our service gives you a permanent dial-in number and entry passcode you can use 24/7, and it accommodates up to 25 participants. ShoreTel Sky Conferencing is always available. There is no need to reserve a time slot for a specified number of users. Your permanent dial-in number and passcode provide you with a virtual meeting room whenever you need it. Simply notify each participant with the date, time, call-in number and entry code.
Is there a connection between ShoreTel Sky and my CRM, Applicant Tracking System, ERP or other enterprise management system? Yes. ShoreTel Sky Connect application integration bridges the gap between your critical business systems and the phones by providing click-to-dial, inbound screen pops, automated note taking and robust reporting functionality.
ShoreTel Sky has prepackaged Connect offerings for many popular CRM, ERP and Applicant Tracking systems. We also provide an API for integration with other packaged applications or home-grown systems.
Is voicemail included? Can my voicemail messages be transcribed and sent to me by email? Each ShoreTel Sky profile has its own personal voicemail that can be managed from your ShoreTel Sky phone, a remote phone or ShoreTel Sky’s Portal. You may wish to have an Auto Attendant option that allows callers to leave a message in a general voicemail box that is not associated with a user’s extension. This voicemail box is normally accessible by the receptionist and greets callers with information specific to your company.
For those who prefer to read their voicemail, an additional service called ShoreTel Sky Scribe is available. With ShoreTel Sky Scribe each message is translated to text and sent via email. Unified messaging technology removes the voice mail from the phone when the email is delivered.
How does faxing work? Can I receive my faxes by email? Yes. With ShoreTel Sky Fax, you receive incoming faxes in your e-mail inbox. You send outbound faxes as email attachments.
Can I use ShoreTel Sky for our Internet connection? Yes.
We have an existing MPLS network. Can we use the existing MPLS network for our ShoreTel Sky phone service? Yes.
Which desktop telephones do you support? ShoreTel Sky supports most of Cisco’s current 7900 series IP phone models as well as their Gigabit Ethernet (GE) variants where available.
Can I use a softphone for telephone calls instead of a desktop telephone? Sure. With the ShoreTel Sky Softphone, users enjoy almost every feature of the ShoreTel Sky Cisco phone right on the desktop without the hardware. You can; take, make and transfer calls, access company and personal directories, utilize speed dial, see voice mail alerts and manage voice mail and even initiate and manage conference calls. ShoreTel Sky also supports the CounterPath SIP based softphone.
Does ShoreTel Sky include Unified Communications (UC) features? Unified Communications is about breaking down the barriers between your computer and your phone. When communications are unified, you can start, continue and document a conversation from the device of your choice. ShoreTel Sky Unified Communications Suite is the easiest to use cloud-based communication service for companies that want to focus on their business instead of the business of running a communications platform.
Is ShoreTel Sky integrated with Microsoft Outlook? Yes. ShoreTel Sky Connect for Microsoft Outlook can be used to dial a number contained in an email message or signature line with just a couple of click. ShoreTel Sky Connect will recognize phone numbers in an email, add SmartTags for easy dialing with or without caller ID enabled, and provide a drop-down selection for dialing. Of course, you can also dial phone numbers in contact records. Add a phone number to a contact once, and never dial it again.
Can I dial telephone numbers from a web browser? The ShoreTel Sky Connect Productivity Plug In is available for Microsoft Internet Explorer, Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers. Once the plug-in is installed, all telephone numbers within the browser window are highlighted. You can click on the ShoreTel Sky icon to dial the phone number. Just left-click to dial with caller ID enabled, or right-click to block caller ID.
When I get a call on my ShoreTel Sky telephone, will I see Caller ID? Will I see the name of the person calling as well? Usually. CNAM or “Calling NAMe” is a service that displays the caller’s name or company name on your ShoreTel Sky phone’s screen along with the caller ID number, when available. ShoreTel Sky supports both inbound CNAM, displaying the caller’s name for ShoreTel Sky phone users, and outbound CNAM, registering your company information with carrier databases so that the people you call will know it is you.
If my users have a question, do they call me or ShoreTel? That’s up to you. You may wish to have users ask questions of a dedicated person or help desk, or you can have them contact us directly. To speak directly with an ShoreTel Sky customer service representative your users can simply press the “?” key on their Cisco phone and select the option to call support.
Which reports are included? ShoreTel Sky’s robust business intelligence reports are included with every system. This sophisticated analysis will help you track call volumes and seasonal demands, reduce caller wait times, manage sales activities, prioritize your most profitable clients and much more.