Straight Talk with U.S. Risk About our ShoreTel Float Program
Inflow Performance Review Series
What is Straight Talk Series?
At Inflow, we’re always trying to set the bar higher for ourselves. That’s why we’ve developed a questionnaire to review with our customers – to make sure we are going above and beyond for them. We already have our live and unfiltered customer happiness metrics on our website but we thought, why not share these more in-depth views of what it’s like to work with Inflow? The Inflow performance review series will give you exactly that – find out what it’s like to work with us, straight from the horse’s mouth.
This round, we’re talking specifically about ShoreTel Connect with one of our early adopters. We learn a lot from our early adopters and know that you will too.
What is Float Program?
Our interview with U.S. Risk mentions one of our recent programs, the Float Program. Created to rescue ShoreTel customers who are stuck in a contract with a poor support vendor, our Float Program allows Inflow to support you at little to no cost until your support contract is up for renewal. This is a great way for us to help you now, so you’re not stuck at sea with communication issues that are negatively impacting your business. Read more about the Float Program here and read our conversation below to see how it worked for U.S. Risk.
U.S. Risk Insurance Group, Inc. is a specialty lines underwriting manager and wholesale broker headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Operating 16 domestic and international branches, it offers a broad range of products and services through its affiliate companies, which include U.S. Risk Underwriters, U.S. Risk Brokers, Oxford Insurance Brokers Ltd.(London), Advocate Reinsurance Partners, James Hampden International, Abraxas Insurance, and Unisource Program Administrators.
What were the major reasons you were looking for a new company to support your ShoreTel system?
I came on board here, and they were using a vendor that apparently was a little loose in the way they did business. For my senior engineer, he liked it because he was able to call directly to one of their engineers. The guy would usually manage to show up actually on‑site and do things.
I found that when I opened a ticket, and since I didn’t have this relationship with him, I couldn’t get any service from them. The last straw was when I asked the account manager to call me. After three days of trying to get hold of the account manager with no response, I said, “I’m done.”
So it sounds like lack of communication, from your perspective?
Lack of responsiveness. It seemed like they were disorganized, didn’t have systems in place.
They may have had a few good people, but apparently, even that was unreliable, because my senior engineer told me that there were a couple of good people that had left and he no longer had access to them. It was communication and they’re just being a little disorganized.
How did you find Inflow?
I actually went out onto the ShoreTel website, and I started out looking for places that had Dallas addresses and a presence in Dallas, and had good ratings. I called a few different places, and I went to your website, and I just liked the response I got from calling you the best.
When I started reading reviews, you guys look like the best bet. Then, when you gave me the quote and told me what your services entailed, that sounded pretty compelling to me. I was very glad that you did the initial assessment on the system and the information gathering.
Always good to hear. We get a lot of people that come from the ShoreTel partner finder looking for new people and use their search tool and find us.
Luckily, we’re in a lot of locations, and [laughs] we tend to pop up in those searches, so that’s always helpful. I’m super glad that they have that, because that gets our foot in the door of some people that may not know who we are.
Do you want to say anything about your thoughts on the Float Program?
The Float was great for us, because the price you charged us was pretty reasonable, considering that we had already, of course, paid for the year of support from our other vendor.
I was glad that we could make the change without waiting to the end of the year without paying out too much money. I thought that the price that you charged for the on‑boarding, essentially, was very reasonable.
Did the Float Program influence your decision in any way when you were looking around for new partners?
You know what? I didn’t get far enough to get anything but basic quotes without much discussion with other vendors. If I had gotten that far, it would have. If there were not a Float Program and you guys had it, it would have definitely made a difference.
Have there been any major fixes or enhancements that our team would have been able to help you with in your system?
We’ve had a lot of break/fix. Actually, since you came on board, we did add a VPN concentrator which we’ve been using, but beyond that, we’ve mostly had break/fix issues. We’ve been very pleased by the support, the responsiveness of your support and the quality of it, so we’ve gotten a good resolution.
Now that you’ve been with Inflow for a while, what are some of the main positive attributes that stand out about Inflow besides speed of response, etc.? Anything else you can think of?
What we are really looking for is a sense of confidence that the vendor is going to be giving us good advice, good engineering, and architectural advice, and going to be there for us when we have problems.
We didn’t do an upgrade, but we did have a phone hack, and you guys helped us through that. We had level three for our long distance, because of thousands of calls going to Somalia and the Middle East. You guys really helped us through that. I appreciate that.
It’s the quality of support, and the fact that I can get engineers on the phone, when I need advice to make decisions about what to do with the system in the future. I feel pretty good about the upgrade that we’re going to be scheduling to Connect.
Throughout your interaction with us, is there anything you think we could improve on?
Just like any service organization I’ve dealt with, you guys are not apparently aimed at selling things quickly. Sometimes, it’d be nice to be able to buy things quick, but other than that, that’s mostly because of our poor planning.
We usually don’t need anything until we need it yesterday, and I’ve put Corey through the wringer a few times trying to get quotes turned around really, really fast. The ticketing system is all right that you’ve got.
It would be nice to have an online ordering system, if I could do that, maybe, for small orders and items. Then, again, the reality is that I mostly need advice from Corey every time I order anyway, so I’ll probably still end up having to call him.
That’s something we talked about adding if people need them, and a phone. Maybe, we could add that to our website because you can grab a couple of phones to add to their systemware, some quick order items. There’s always so many other factors at play. That’s hard sometimes.
I know that that is a costly and difficult thing to do to integrate with systems, and the return for you guys is pretty small, probably negative. I don’t know that it makes enough difference to us that it would actually be something that would be a real sales item.
We do do some purchasing through Amazon, but when our main vendors, even though they have websites, we don’t use them either. We call the account manager, because IT moves so fast that ordering online is perilous. You need the person who knows exactly what you need to be getting, what licenses.
There’s a lot at play. You mentioned your other vendors that you’ve dealt with. How does Inflow compare to other IT vendors that you worked with?
First of all, you guys play a different role, because we use SHI as a reseller for most of our computer equipment and networking equipment, and Microsoft software, and such. We don’t get much support from them.
Not that we can’t, it’s that they support us on the Microsoft licensing, for instance, but we don’t call them up for support on a switch that we purchase from them.
Their account manager’s great. I deal with her very frequently. She’s out of Austin, and I still end up seeing her several times a year, but like I say, it’s always talking about purchasing or licensing or “where’s my stuff?”
We appreciate you sitting down with us. Glad to hear that everything’s rolling smooth for the most part.
We’ve had a very good experience. There are times when we run into multivendor things where we come back and forth a little bit, but your guys don’t really throw things over the wall when it’s multivendor.
They dig in deep and look, and if they honestly don’t see in the logs that there’s anything to do with the ShoreTel system, they tell me to look elsewhere. For the most part, they will go the extra mile to find out what the problem is before they make me try to hand it off to another vendor.
We have a lot of multivendors, because I’ve got some SIP gateways and SIP providers, and then of course we’ve got telephone providers. Anytime you interface a telephone system to a provider, you’ve got multiple vendors. You guys don’t pass the buck the way some vendors do. It’s been a very good experience with that.
I just talked to my team engineer today, and he mentioned that he was pretty happy with you guys, too, and he’s picky.
Inflow is #1 Shoretel Support Provider in the Nation
If you’re looking for some accurate, user reviews of what it’s like working with Inflow, then keep up with our series as we talk with more clients in the coming blog posts.