Assuming there is more than one Agent available to service an inbound contact center call, a "skill" level can be applied to route the call to the most suitable agent. It is important to note that the system will only use this criteria if there is more than one Agent to choose from. If there is only one Agent available to service the call, the call is routed to that Agent regardless of Skill Set. Skills are defined in the system to have a value and a preference. Skills can be assigned to IRN's for example, in which we want to set a minimum skill level for calls that arrive through this portal. Continue Reading...

Mobility and Office Extensibility continue to be “must have” feature sets for success in todays hyper competitve market place. Nobody seems to care if it is after business hours in your time zone. When a client wants you, they want you now and if you can’t be found, they will find someone else! ShoreTel has had a range of features to address this requirement since the early on releases.

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The Sheevaplug computer is an amazing appliance! Think of the applications you could create on this 3 watt PC often confused as a wall transformer by the uninitiated. In fact I have a bunch of "wall warts" under foot for a variety of electronic devices on my desk that need stepped down AC power and the Sheevaplug server is smaller than any of them! A Plug Computer is designed to draw so little power that it can be left on all the time. Continue Reading...
Call Profiles can be of two varieties in the ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center, short as ShoreTel ECC. They are either System Mandatory or User definable. ( Actually, to be absolutely correct, we need to acknowledge that "Skill Sets" are another type of call profile, but we are including them as User definable). The system assigns a number of Call Profile parameters automatically as the call moves through the system. Continue Reading...
On more than one occasion to provide Shoretel support, I have actually had to telnet into a clients router or switch using nothing more than a mobile phone! Now, that is either an example of superior customer service or an indication of creeping insanity. When you have to, you have to! Sometime ago I moved to an iPhone and that actually makes RDP, VNC or Telnet actually usable on a mobile phone in a pinch. Continue Reading...
Recently a client discoverd that at terminated employee, gone for almost a month, was still answering his office extension from his cell phone! We have so many technology options for mobility today that the HR deparment most be going nuts trying to keep the "exit interview" check list up to date! Without commenting on the HR ramifications, IT system administrators have long had to contend with terminated employees and how to handle remote access, email and the other regular components of an advanced Information Technology. With the advent of VoIP, most IT organizations have now had to add the telephone system to the growing list of security access concerens. Continue Reading...
It really doesn't matter what VoIP system you installed as they all generally have one architectural characteristic in common; the configuration database. Depending on the system and it's level of support, you might find a database engine that ranges in complexity from an Access Database to a full blown SQL database. The database will store configuration information, status information and often, call detail records that document phone system activities. The characteristic of the database that is consistent across all architectures is the fact that there can only be one "read/write" copy of that database! Continue Reading...

ShoreTel Workgroup Enhancements!

February 17, 2010 8:22 PM | 0 Comments
Historically, there were three services in the ShoreTel architecture that were no distributed to other servers. To over simplify, this meant that if the HQ server (read primary server) was unavailable, the services that were not distributed would not function. The three services were Route Points, Account Codes and Workgroups. For example, if a user group was set to "forced" account code verification and the server was unavailable, that service would fail and the effected user would not be able to place a call. Continue Reading...
Recently, while working with a third party Call Accounting vendor, we had an opportunity to revisit ShoreTel CDR records. ShoreTel stores CDR records in two locations for two different purposes. Historically, the the first format is basically the "Legacy CDR Text Files" and they are stored in the Shoreline Data folder as log files. The log files are written to \Shoreline Data\Call Records 2 and are written out at Midnight to a file named CDR-YYMMDD.HHMMSS.log. Continue Reading...
Many Call Center applications have an Automated Attendant front end call tree. Typically, you might have an Automated Attendant that plays the familiar On-Hours recoding: "Thank you for calling our company, press 1 for technical support and 2 for sales support". The question asked in today's blog is: should the Automated Attendant be located in the PBX or in the Call Center? There are very interesting ramifications for each of these options. Continue Reading...
 One of the benefits of a successful blog, is the talented people you meet and the ideas that you exchange with other industry professionals. Through an earlier blog on the subject of connecting an Apple iPhone to a ShoreTel System as a SiP extension, I met such a creative talent: Matt Vlasach of Pacificswell! Matt was both an excited ShoreTel VoIP user and a iPhone aficionado. Thought Matt was happy to play with SIP his real interest was in creating a ShoreTel App for the iPhone! Continue Reading...
How many people hit the Auto Attendant and then dialed one for Sales? One of the most requested reports from ShoreTel clients is the analysis of Automated Attendant key strokes. With in the ShoreTel iPBX there are probably several ways to implement this, but we prefer the use of "route points" (see past blog). " Thank you for calling our company during our normal business hours. Continue Reading...

ShoreTel Route Point Configuration

November 2, 2009 1:10 PM | 0 Comments
 The ShoreTel IPBX "Route Points" are powerful configuration tool, generally used to enable third party applications. Using route points, an external application can gain complete call control. For example, when you configure a ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center, you will use route points to control call flow, media and routing options. The interaction with the route point is generally through TAPI and TAPI wave, but route points can be used to create other options for call control including call deflection and the creation of voice message repositories. Continue Reading...
You can hardly install a Automated Attendant with out creating the Audio files! If you have looked at any of our videos on setting up the ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center, you know that we urge you to create all of your audio files before you start setting up your Contact Center Services! Making recordings should be easy enough, but ShoreTel wants to have the wav file in a specific format: CCITT-mulaw, 8Khz, 8bit Mono. This is easy enough to create with something as simple as the standard Microsoft Sound Recorder, but the default wav format is some other format and you will need to "save as" clicking on the format change option! There are actually three other strategies for recording voice prompts in the native ShoreTel format. Continue Reading...

The ShoreTel "prefix" Option!

September 16, 2009 7:39 PM | 0 Comments
In this economy there are a growing number of mergers and acquisitions, or "marriage by shot gun". When companies combine they have the challenge of integrating their data and telecommunications systems. For example, we have witnessed an increased demand in companies seeking technical assistance in merging ShoreTel systems. There are two basic options for doing this and the choice often depends on resource requirements and "dial plan" conflicts. To illustrate these options let's assume Company A merges with Company B. Both companies desire the integration of their telephone systems if for no other reason than to enable extension to extension dialing.

The first option is the traditional single image option. Assume that Company A will become theHQ Server and the other Company B will become the DVM server. To accomplish this, the database of Company B will be manually imported to the HQ server and a new site is created.( Clearly, the WAN solution is in place and connectivity between the two companies exists).When you complete the database additions to the HQ server, adding all the new users, switches, workgroups, hunt groups and site details you are ready to convert the Company B HQ server to a DVM. You are going to have to reconfigure the site switches to point to the new Company A HQ server, but the process is manageable and you should achieve the desired result with limited down time.

The second option is less obvious and many ShoreTel field installation technicians will not be familiar with the option. Out of the box, ShoreTel supports site based Prefix Dialing. In our example, we would leave both Company A and Company B with a HQ server. They would appear to be two separate systems. The use of the Prefix dialing, however, makes it possible to enable extension to extension dialing between the systems. Through the ShorewareDirector web portal, you would select the Dialing Plan from System Parameters. The dialing plan would enable you to select a digit for extension dialing, with from 1-7 prefix digits.In our small example, we might make use of Digit 7 with a prefix of 2 digit, allowing us to create 99 sites. When you exercise this option, you will see a new field appear in the SITES definition in the ShorewareDirector portal. Entitled "Extension Prefix" the field enables you to assign a two digit SITE ID to each site you create. As you assign users to SITES, their extension numbers become the SITE ID + Extension number. Given that we have a WAN solution in place, we can then establish SIP Tie Trunks between Company A and Company B. The Trunk Group that defines the TIE LINE would have an OPX (off premise extension ) list that defines the extension range that "lives" at the other end of the TIE line. Company A might have a prefix of 77 and Company B might have a prefix of 78. Users in each system, even though they were previously defined with a three digit "dial plan" would now show 77-123 or 78-123 when you reviewed their individual USER configuration in ShorewareDirector. Assume further, that both companies had similar "dial plans" meaning that they had the same extensions assigned in both companies! The extension prefix option working as a site ID, enables both companies to keep their extension numbers.

(See blog.drvoip.com for graphic illustration) 

Arguments can be for, or against either option. A single image solution has real advantages in that there is a single point of administration, and a single VM system. Continue Reading...
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