SUNNYVALE, CA, June 23, 2004 - Financial Perspectives Planning Services, Inc. (FPPS), a full-service financial planning organization, is using a distributed voice system from ShoreTel™, Inc., the innovation leader in enterprise IP telephony, to bring its three constituent businesses under one virtual roof while maintaining their distinct identities. One voicemail system and a single receptionist cover five sites in greater Boston, and an integrated conference bridge eliminates the drive time from staff meetings.
Streamlined communications, point-and-click dialing, and integration with client databases have boosted productivity and improved customer service at FPPS and its sister companies, Allocation Plus Asset Management and WBIX the Business Station. That's a real plus for a voice-intensive business that distinguishes itself by developing long-term client relationships.
"With the old Comdial systems, clients calling in got an auto-attendant, and had to know the extension of the person they were trying to reach," recalls FPPS IT Director Rich Bertone. "Now, they get a live operator, who can see which of the three businesses the caller is contacting and answer appropriately."
Financial advisors are aided by screen pops that display information about the client accounts before they pick up the phone. When calls do end up in voicemail, the information they contain is more easily accessed and managed, thanks to the converged ShoreTel5 platform's Outlook integration and unified messaging. Voicemail messages with Caller ID tags appear in the user's Outlook inbox, and subject lines can be added for easier referencing.
A browser-based interface lets Bertone and his staff manage the entire network from their Boston headquarters-or wherever they happen to be. Users can be moved, added or changed immediately, and new sites can be brought online in a matter of hours.
FPPS worked with ShoreTel reseller Datamart, in its 30th year as a trusted voice/data integrator, to implement the ShoreTel network in the Boston headquarters and Beverly and Braintree branch offices. Planning began in December of 2003, and the cutover came off smoothly over the long President's Day holiday weekend two months later. Users were up and running after a few hours of training, and the IT staff subsequently added new sites in Boston and Peabody without outside help.
"Too many VoIP vendors who have legacy voice or data backgrounds are trying to slap a coat of paint on the same old barn and call it a new house," said Keefe Bailey, Datamart's FPPS account manager. "Our goal as a reseller is to empower customers, not make them dependent upon us.
"Other systems take weeks, not hours, of training. The ShoreTel learning curve is very fast, and at least half the FPPS users have dropped their telephone keypads in favor of the Personal Call Manager interface. That smashes the 80/20 rule that has been in force ever since the first computerized phone systems came out in the late 1970s. (Four out of five users never break out of the old system's paradigm to start really exploiting the new one's features.) ShoreTel is changing that age-old rule; now 80 percent of users will be able to leverage 80 percent of the phone system features."
Bailey then offered the ShoreTel5 system the ultimate accolade. "After almost 30 years in this business, this is the first product we've sold that sold us. It's now our phone system, too."
About Financial Perspectives Planning Services, Inc.
Founded in 1986 by Bradford C. Bleidt, Financial Perspectives Planning Services is a full service financial planning company. Unique in its approach to both client and financial planner, FPPS has built a corporate climate that allows and encourages the development of long-term client/advisor relationships that clients can depend on throughout their careers and lifetimes. FPPS employs more than 20 credentialed financial planners backed by solid research and cutting edge technologies to deliver our services. More recently, Brad founded Allocation Plus Asset Management, Inc. in order to offer managed portfolio services to the clients of Financial Perspectives. Brad is also involved in the development and management of 1060 AM WBIX. WBIX is known as "The Business Station" disseminating financial and business information throughout the New England area.
About ShoreTel, Inc.
ShoreTel is the innovation leader in delivering IP telephony to the enterprise. The company has shipped its groundbreaking solutions since 1998 and continues to outpace the rapidly expanding VoIP market with technological advances and 100% year-over-year growth. ShoreTel voice systems are designed to make businesses smarter, setting new standards for usability and manageability while reducing telecommunications costs. A uniquely distributed architecture extends enterprise-class voice services to every office and outpost, keeping employees fully connected wherever they go. A select group of channel partners provide top-notch service and support. For more information, visit http://www.shoretel.com or call 1-877-80SHORE.