The Many Faces of ShoreTel IVR

By Chris Recio, Inflow Communications Director of Contact Center & Advanced Applications

There are a lot of vague ideas of what IVRs are capable of in general but few know its full potential. And this is especially true of ShoreTel’s IVR system which has many out-of-the-box features that are often misunderstood or under utilized. ShoreTel IVR is a bit of a multi-purpose tool in the contact center’s tool box. So many ask, what is ShoreTel IVR and what does ShoreTel IVR do?

Let’s start off with brass tacks – IVR is, basically, an automated process that can both route calls and allow user interaction with an application. Most people have historically thought of IVRs as a process where, for example, you call your bank, enter you account info and the system magically reads back your account balance, payment due dates, etc. But with ShoreTel’s IVR system, there’s a lot more features involved, and ShoreTel’s IVR system can do a lot more heavy-lifting than you might expect.

There are some common uses for ShoreTel IVRs, which include:

Auto Attendant. Auto Attendant simply offers menu options. Most people think Auto Attendant is PBX but IVRs can also be configured to be an auto attendant.

Call routing decision maker. This is something we’re all familiar with – a call is routed based off of a user’s selection from a menu by selecting options 1, 2, or 3 on a keypad.

Set call priority. This simply means that you can prioritize the types of calls coming in to your contact center. For example, if you think tech support calls should be handled ahead of customer service calls, you can configure your IVR to prioritize tech support calls before other types of calls.

Plays music and messages in queue. Because IVR is directly connected to the ATV seamlessly, messages can be changed based on the information that is read in the database. So, you can set specific messages for specific callers – if you want a particular message played for tech support, customer service, etc., you can configure your IVR to do this quite easily.

Connects to a database. IVR is also used to connect to a database. It’s one of the greatest features of the ShoreTel IVR, I think, and really should be an available feature out-of-the-box of all IVRs.

DTMF (dial tone multi frequency) entry and capture. This means an individual can use a keypad to make a menu choice, enter account information, or enter any digit for making a routing decision.

Other uses and features for ShoreTel IVR include:
Agent Login/Logout Primary Groups. There are some contact center environments out there that do not want a desktop interface, and want their agents to be able to dial digits to login. This feature allows for this type of contact center to do just that.

Track user selection. This is getting into ShoreTel IVR Applications. Inside the IVR, you can create small widgets or applications that will track how many callers pressed option 1, option 2, etc. This is an oft misunderstood application in ShoreTel’s IVR but it is worth its weight in gold. When you’re trying to navigate IVR which is usually not depicted on desktop in real time, this allows you to peer inside IVR and really see what’s happening.

Callbacks. This feature of ShoreTel IVR can look up the caller information and help the agent know why the caller called previously. This includes for callback-n-queue, scheduled callbacks, and abandoned callbacks. I point this out because when a system is used for callbacks, you might want to use IVR to look up information about that caller so when the agent connects with that individual, they will know who they are speaking with and why they called previously. This is tremendously helpful in gaining customer insight and developing a better customer service experience.

Dial List for Outbound Calling. This is an added feature which can be part of a dial list for an outbound campaign. This feature can be utilized either agentless or with a live agent.

Handle Call surveys. This feature is also used for outbound dialing, and a great, simple option for getting customer feedback.

Provides chat messaging – I.e. sending messages to individuals using multimedia channel such as web chat. This is an increasingly utilized function for both customers and agents. So if someone is waiting in queue in a web chat, an agent can send messages intermittently.

Has a built-in capability to read date, time, money, and numbers. Plus, it can read information from a database (in relation to date, time, money, and number).

Basically, ShoreTel is an extremely flexible system and has many functions and capabilities. But here’s what I think are the MVPs of IVR.


1. Drag-n-Drop configuration tool. 90% of the tool is drag-n-drop – there are pieces that need to be filled in but it’s easy to configure.

2. Connects to a database native to ShoreTel’s IVR. This is a huge win because many contact center IVR providers require an inordinate amount of professional services to connect to the database. ShoreTel has this ability out-of-the-box. If you’re not sure why the database is such a vital piece of your customer service story, check out our previous blog posts (here’s a few good posts to start with) and whitepaper. We at Inflow never tire of telling our customers – your data is the key to your customer service success!

3. Ability to create user specific call profiles. This allows you to custom define the information that is associated with a specific call. It provides call details and information and can also flag calls with information.

4. Provides simple logic. Meaning, it provides a simple logic of true/false or yes/no. When you can look at this simple information, you can make a clear decision with ease.

Interested in learning more? Make sure to keep up with our on-going educational series in our blogs and keep tabs on our events. We offer several free ShoreTel training webinars every month where we share our insights on using ShoreTel products to their fullest potential.

About Inflow

Founded in 1997, Inflow is one of the nation’s top Unified Communications and Contact Center consultants in today’s market. Pioneers in cloud unified communications and cloud contact center success, Inflow is the first company to provide contact center consulting and training focused solely on helping you elevate your customer experience.

With over 200,000 endpoints supported under Inflow’s innovative success programs around the world, Inflow built its brand and reputation around providing unrivaled customer support. Inflow is in Mitel/ShoreTel’s top 2% in global customer satisfaction, and quickly acquiring a top spot with RingCentral, Genesys PureCloud and NICE inContact.

By partnering with Inflow, you can expect the highest level of strategic consultation, execution, and optimization available in the industry.