ShoreTel - both phone and computer
June 30, 2014
ShoreTel - both phone and computer
Score 9 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with ShoreTel VOIP
Most businesses where I used/supported/installed ShoreTel benefited most from interoffice dialing by extension. Also, the speaker phones have excellent audio quality. The system allows for customized paging and has very customizable auto attendant and call center features out of the box. More complex versions can be purchased, but every place I have worked with ShoreTel was satisfied with the out-of-box features. The phones are also aesthetically pleasing and comfortable to use.
- Call center features are great out of the box if you have a small call center. The PC interface is great, allowing call center agents to view & control calls and queues using their PC and not ever touching the phone.
- The auto attendant recordings and logic can be set up in-house. Even hold music can be set up in-house. It's a big money saver not having to use a service for these things. The call routing using auto attendant logic is very flexible and easy to configure as well as troubleshoot.
- The audio quality of the speaker phone is the best I've used.
- You can configure custom ring tones.
- An inherent problem with VoIP systems is that they are dependent on the computer network. Should network problems affect the computer systems, they can also affect the phone system depending how the systems are configured and/or segregated.
- The handset slips off the phone too easily. It's a minor point, but annoying and easily remedied but a slightly different design.
- Last I used ShoreTel, there was no click-to-dial feature in the PC interface. You had to copy/paste phone numbers into the ShoreTel interface. There was a third party solution to address this, but I'd like to see it native to ShoreTel (if it hasn't been added at this point).
- The call center feature is great for ensuring that customer calls are answered promptly and in the order they were received. A custom message can be added to the on-hold queue, and the system can tell customers their estimated hold time.
- If your business has many sites and different phone systems at each, ShoreTel brings all the offices together in one system and people can dial one another by extension rather than over a costly (even long distance) land line.
- For many businesses, cost breaks about even when comparing VoIP and PBX systems based on the phone system itself. The cost savings with ShoreTel come from other areas such as support - most IT professionals would be comfortable supporting ShoreTel, as it is server and switch based. Traditional phone systems generally have to be maintained by phone experts.
I am an IT professional, so I don't have a lot of experience with non-VoIP systems. The biggest advantage of ShoreTel in the businesses where I have worked is its call center features. Also, the system can be mostly configured and maintained by IT.
Partly, it's expensive to replace a phone system. ShoreTel has been around a long time and is well supported, and continually improves in the way technology companies do.
ShoreTel is great for businesses that have an in-house call center, help desk, or other department that uses a simple ACD-like system. ShoreTel can be maintained by the IT Department once it's installed, unlike a traditional PBX system. ShoreTel fits nicely in a small space - the servers and switches needed to run it are not large, nor are the phones. It would be great for a business with many small offices.