Recording ShoreTel phone calls!

Call Center not Required!

Long the standard in boiler room call center applications, recording calls is often a requirement outside the call center.    There are any number of reasons to record calls for including compliance, clarity and certainty and just management of customer quality service.   There are a variety of recording solutions in the market and they all have very different feature sets.  Do you need the ability to annotate calls?   To search on more complex parameters that time and date?     If an employee is being recorded and transfers that call to the HR Director of the company, should that segment of the call be recorded?   Do we want to record inbound calls only?  Both inbound and outbound?  Do you have multiple locations in your deployment?   Do employees have the right to start and stop recordings?  Add notes?  You will also have to consider how recording are to be stored and for how long?  This can have a huge impact on hardware requirements.   Just some of the characteristics you might want to consider as you look for for a recording solution.  The list of features is long and there are many options to chose from.   It is best to get a solid requirements document together and to make sure that you fully understand that recording alone is not all there is!

Recording Server Applications

ShoreTel has an optional recording function that can be very effective!   It can be installed as a single server solution or as a multiple server, multiple site solution.   It can record all calls, or just in one direction only.   You can select who is recorded and you can also select the archive location and time frame.   The solution is deployed on a ShoreTel server, either HQ or DVS depending on the deployment model.    There are actually four modules that can be installed: the recording server; the client side, the web player and the administrative module.   The solution uses the integrated recording functionality of the ShoreTel phone system and most of the usual user group and class of service settings apply.

Generally you will create a route point with a call stack as deep as the number of calls you want to simultaneously record, and put it on the server that will host the recording application.   You will also need a route point for the player and you will need to create a user who will proxy the recording functionality.   The server install is very simple and conforms to the usual point and click install expectations of a Windows server application.  The configuration is very simple, just provide the route point extension number, note the port for recording and click install!

The Administration Application

The Administrative application enables you to configure the specifics of the recording server and  to create profiles.  This application can be installed on the server or on a PC that can reach the server.   The configuration options are very easy to understand and simple to enter.  Basically they deal with where files should be stored and for how long.  You also have the option of either saving the recordings to a file system, or saving them as a voice message.


You then create profiles that are used to customize different groups of extensions.   For example, you might want persistent recording for some extensions and not others.   This means that the recording continues even if the call is transferred.  Do you want inbound and outbound recordings?   And exactly who should be recorded!  The profile also dictates if recordings are to be made all the time, or sampled as a percentage or by a defined schedule.

Client Side Options

The client side application is installed on a pc and is optional tray icon.   You would use this only if your profile enables users to start and stop recordings and to tag recordings.   If this is not a privileged that you want to extend to those be recorded there is no need to install this optional application at each desk.  The use of the client is profile dependent.


The Player Application

The last application defines the player and is very useful for visually managing recordings.  You can use a phone to play recordings , but most folks find this web application to be more useful.   The application must be installed on a server as it uses IIS, but the recordings are played locally on a windows machine that has a sound card!   Each extension is listed and there is a time and date stamp on the recording file.  You have the option of storing other file information, like ShoreTel call properties to enrich the identification of a recording.

ShoreTel Recording Player


All in all, the ShoreTel Recording Application is a sweet suite!  It gets the job done and at a price point that compares more than favorably with the third party Recording applications found in the market place.   We recommend it for both call center and general recording applications when you are on a ShoreTel iPBX!   Give us a call and we can help point you in the right direction or get this installed and configured for you!





TEXT-2-AGENT Sending text and pictures to your call center?

Can you send a picture to your ShoreTel or CISCO Call Center

We have been integrating SMS to CISCO UCCX and ShoreTel Call Center deployments for customer service scenarios for some time.  The interface is very simple:  Login, pick a number from anywhere on the planet; assign a “keyword” and match it to an email address or list!   When someone text your “keyword” to your number, the text is converted to email and sent on to that address.   The email recipient can then hit reply and we convert the email back to SMS and forward it back to the original Cell phone.  Optionally, you can build a membership list with and auto response and the ability to send a bulk text to the list!


What is new in Version 3.1

We have released Version 3.1 and it now makes it possible to send not only text (SMS), but pictures (MMS)to the “next available agent” in your Call Center.    The application now supports:

  • Inbound SMS to email Address based on “keyword” match with REPLY ability; – this enables you to use one number and many different keywords that point to different email addresses.  The recipient can hit reply like any other email and send a response back to the sender of the SMS, usually a client who has a cell phone!
  • Inbound MMS to default email address – enables a cell phone to send a photo or picture into the customer service organization which will route to the default email address.
  • Inbound SMS to outbound SMS; – Stealth mode, you can forward an incoming SMS to another SMS.
  • SMS to List based on “keyword” match – This enables you to build an SMS marketing list.   Each list is built by “keyword” match and you are able to send auto responds and “bulk” SMS
  • Outbound email to SMS;
  • Email to SMS – enables a customer service representative to send a text from an email client.   The address can be a keyword group list or an individual cell phone number.

Each transaction has a unique “ticket” number, all transactions are searchable, logged and archived for HIPPA and PIC compliance.

We are finding that Insurance, medical, auto and tech support applications in particular are receptive to the concept of enabling clients to send a picture by text to a customer service representative.


Want A demo?

We can easily set you up with a demo account. A basic single number solution with 500 SMS credits is about $25 a month!  Send the word “DEMO”   (all ONE word, watch that auto correct) to 424-348-4000 and include your email address for an example of how this could work on a ShoreTel ECC or CISCO UCCX; or just create an account!

Note – Your do NOT need a formal call center to implement this technology.   An email distribution list to works just as well!

Customer Service by the Numbers – brightmetrics!

In business what is measured gets done!

We subscribe to the business adage that what is measured gets done! For this reason key performance indexes are absolutely essential to the success of any customer service environment. How many contacts did we manage today? How long did a contact have to wait on hold before we were able to engage them? How much time does an average customer engagement actually take? What is the rate of abandonment and how long did a caller tolerate waiting before they gave up and hung up the phone? Sometimes we have to refer back in time and search “historical” records to locate a specific caller and verify the fact that they actually called! Other times, we have to be aware of “real time” data and be alert to what is happening right now! How many callers are waiting to engage us? So where do you obtain this type of information no how easy is it to obtain?

ShoreTel Call Accounting

In a ShoreTel solution there are at least three separate databases that keep this kind of information. The ShoreTel iPBX can generate historical reports out of the internal Call Detail Records log using the integrated report generator that you access through the ShorewareDirector administrative interface.   A great solution if you want to generate total trunk activity reports showing the aggregate number of inbound and outbound calls. It has detail reports that can even list every phone call made by every extension user in the system.  Ask it a simple question like how many phone calls did we receive this month from 202-555-1234 and you will quickly learn the limitations of this system solution.

The ShoreTel ECC has an internal historical data repository and a primitive report generator that has mystical templates that you can modify to create performance reports. You can not however, directly access the data in that database! The internal historical report generator has some serious limitations however. For example, do you want to generate a Group Activity report, showing all the desired metrics for all Groups in your deployment?  You would have do to this one Group at a time using the ShoreTel provide tools.

The ShoreTel C2G is a veritable cesspool of disjointed data elements or “events” like, extension 123 went off hook;  IRN 155 received an incoming request for service and Agent 789 logged in. Not very useful unless you are an accomplished SQL programming genius and want to spend your career figuring out the ShoreTel data dictionary while writing custom reports that assemble all of these events into meaningful record.

Though ShoreTel has some “standard reports” the fact is, you will want to generate custom reports unique to your environment. No matter how many templates are provided, we have yet to encounter a call center that did not have unique one off requirement when it came to reporting performance metrics.   Where is the data?  Is it in the PBX? or the call center?    How do you track a call that came into the PBX, connected with the call center and transferred to an offsite backup answering service?  Do I have to retain a SQL programmer to figure this all out? (Fortunately brightmetrics has already done that for you).

BrightMetric Illumination!

brightmetrics has created a powerful, yet very simple to navigate report generator available as a hosted solution. Connecting with the various databases internal to your ShoreTel deployment,  brightmetrics can sort and integrate data from the PBX side, the Contact Center side and that cesspool of events that contain information from both sides of the data equation.  Are you running ShoreTel Workgroups?  BrightMetric puts wheels on the information that would otherwise require professional application software add-ons from ShoreTel.

The brightmetrics user interface is easy to understand and navigate. The portal has video based help files and report templates for almost every type of data assembly.  You can generate reports on demand.  Save reports and schedule reports for future delivery.  The administrator can setup user accounts that provide access to specific report profiles and easy to understand “dashboards”.

Call Flow Diagrams can save an Admin’s life!

One of the most useful none numerical feature of brightmetrics is the ability to diagram your call flow.   Have you every wondered about your automated attendant options, Hunt Groups, Route Points and IRN’s?  Where do all the options lead?   If you press 1 for customer service, where does the caller go and what are the possible outcomes for that caller?    Do you have a complex SQL data dip over an OBDC connector from you ShoreTel ECC?  Want to see where all the routing options might point to?  This feature will map and diagram call flow from an Automated Attendant, IRN, Workgroup, ECC service and even an ECC Script!



How about Real-time Reports?

Historical reporting is extraordinarily important to both customer service and employee productivity.     Real-time information is also very necessary and important.  brightmetrics has introduce a new element to the product mix and now offers Real-time displays suitable for framing!   If you have ever tried to make a Wall Board out of ShoreTel supervisor desktop, you now how frustrating getting status information in front of the Call Center team can be!    Using a real-time event feed, brightmetrics can display comprehensive  status information formatted for legibility and clarity!



The brightmetrics team!

brightmetrics has been making incremental improvements in the product from day one and post all of there progress, both features and bugs!  Today the are generally recognized as the only viable solution for ShoreTel call accounitng accuracy and flexibility.   More importantly, the company behind the brightmetrics product family is an astonishing group of people.  Usually, pre-sale is about as good as it gets in American business!   Not the case with brightmetrics!   The real story begins after you sign on with them.   The folks in this company from Jim Lewis the founder and CEO through each and every person you meet on the team, will  treat you with a level of commitment and customer focus, that in this day of “Internet shopping carts” is very rare.   Ask a question, open a support ticket, make a suggestion even offer a criticism and these folks will overwhelm you with not only time  but focused attention.    We have worked with many clients who use the brightmetrics solution and we have always had the most positive and productive experience.   Technology is great but its people who make the difference!

Want a Free 21 day trial?   Just text the word STATS to 630-GANDALF or 630-426-3253

Call, Click or Text your Contact Center?

Mobile devices are the most ubiquitous devices on the planet! Text messages are read almost instantly, never miss their target and are high impact, high content messages. Why continue to increase the number of incoming telephone lines to your call center? All you will do is cause more people to wait on hold, lowering your customer satisfaction scores while increasing your operating costs. The call center market is moving toward “purpose built” communication solutions through smartphone aps that pinpoint customer solutions and map directly to customer satisfaction solutions. Why not allow your clients to send a TEXT message to your call center? Chances are the Caller ID will have a higher match rate to client records in your CRM system then that of a land line! You can automated the reply, or route the text to the next available agent! Your client either gets an immediate call back, or is offered a scheduled call.

Why call an 800 number, self-navigate through a maze of Automated Attendant menus only to hear the ever present “please hold for the next available agent and your call will be answered in the order it is received”. A simple text message or smart phone ap, could automated that entire process! Your client never has to wait on hold! You agent has all the contact information and can instantly reply with a return text confirming wait time or suggest a scheduled call back time. After all it is a mobile phone, we don’t have to worry about where they might be when we do call back!

Call, Click or Text! A truly unified contact center needs to offer customers a text option. If your contact center is already routing email to the next available agent, we can bring up a TEXT solution in hours, not days. Compare the cost of a text message to the cost of a phone call! Compare customer satisfaction scores with immediate text feedback when compared to and increased wait time. The benefits are astonishing!

Text the keyword DEMO to 424-348-4000 include your email and we will send you a demo account for an automated demo.  SMS numbers can be provided Internationally.  Optionally open an account at and we can get your ShoreTel ECC or CISCO UCCX setup for SMS and MMS!