The following story and events are true, however, to protect the families of the innocent, all names have been changed. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or businesses, is purely coincidental. Enjoy and happy Halloween!
This is a transcript of a police interview with Stephen Corey. Taken by Det. Giles Gerald at 11:05 a.m. this morning.
Det. Gerald – Please state your name and title.
Mr. Corey – I’m the founder and CEO for North Shore Software Inc.
Det. Gerald – Tell me what happened.
Mr. Corey – We’ve been at the 1692 Osborne Ave location since May 10th. It was rainy, but it was actually pretty warm that morning, if you recall? I got to the office at 6:30; which is an hour and a half early as I like to have some time to myself before the staff arrives. I found it strange that there were several cars in the parking lot, but it’s not really unheard of to have cars in the lot from people that get a ride from the bar just across the street on Sundays this time of year.
I didn’t think much of it as I gathered my things and went up to the office, but the first real curious thing was that the door to the office was already unlocked. This is Monday, mind you, ya’know, and there have been maybe one or two instances in the thirteen years I’ve owned this company that someone has beaten me to the office on Monday. I’m always the first one there; especially on Monday. So, I suddenly got a very cold feeling and was extremely worried that we’d had a break in. So instead of just barging in and potentially putting myself in a bad situation, I decided to go back to my car and call the office to make sure that I was just being paranoid and that there was, ya’know, people there who were, um, ya’know, were supposed to be there.
The phone rang twice and then Sarah answered. “Thank you for calling North Shore Software, this is Sarah, how can I direct your call?”
Det. Gerald – This is Sarah Glanvill?
Mr. Corey – Yes, she’s our receptionist.
Det. Gerald – Continue
Mr. Corey – I was immediately, ya’know, put at ease when I heard her voice, so I hung up without saying anything and headed into the office. Mind you, this was a very brief stretch of time; less than a minute or two. I got back to the door and went to open it and it was locked. Obviously, this was alarming, but I thought that, ya’know, it being Halloween and all that, someone was trying to mess with me a bit. So my first thought was to pound on the door. At this point, I wasn’t so much scared or annoyed, but was trying to be a good sport. I thought that Sarah, who is one of my longest-tenured employees, was just having a little fun with me. After a few seconds, there was an identical pounding on the other side of the door.
I remember saying something like, “Okay, okay, this is fun,” as I went to unlock the door with my key. Mind you, the plan is to move over to electronic locks pretty soon, but right now we still have the wood door that came on the place with your typical locks, ya’know. Well I put my key in and it won’t turn. Now I’m starting to get annoyed, because all I want to do is start the day and I’m thinking this prank is going a little too far. I pound on the door again, and again the knocks are returned. You’ll see all this on the CCTV, but I tried to unlock the door a couple other times with no luck. I then call to end the charade and have Sarah, who at that time I’m completely convinced is doing all this to mess with me, unlock the door.
So, as I went around the back to get in the building, I’m annoyed. I call up and she answers “Thank you for calling North Shore Software, this is Sarah, how can I direct your call?” I’m like Sarah, “This isn’t funny anymore. Let me in the building!” I get nothing, but “North Shore Software, this is Sarah, how can I direct your call?” At this point, I’m at the back door. I hang up, not finding the humor in this whole thing, and I go to unlock the back door. I unlock the door and I get halfway in and the door slams and locks.
At this point I’m just standing there angry and dumbfounded. I try the lock and the key won’t turn. It’s as if the locks were magically changed. I start pounding on the door yelling and swearing. Just then I see headlights shining down the alley on the south side of the building. They are coming from the parking lot. I walk toward the parking lot and the lights go off and as I get to the front of the building. I hear: “Good morning, Mr. Corey. Happy Halloween.” It was Sarah. Even though I just saw her pull up, my blood is up, so I start yelling at her, asking her why she would keep the prank going so long? She has no idea what I am talking about.
I start barraging her with questions, and accusations, really. She starts to plead and cry, not only because she is being accused, but because she must have thought I was losing my damn mind. By now it’s 7 (a.m) or just after and I’m in a frenzy. I put my phone on speakerphone and Sarah, who is standing right in front of me, on the verge of tears, answers “North Shore Software, this is Sarah, how can I direct your call?”
I’m not so sure I’ve ever felt more insane and more sorry. She was as surprised as I was to hear her voice. I knew then that I was dealing with something I didn’t understand. I don’t believe in ghosts, but at that moment I thought for sure there was something paranormal going on, ya’know. I was, um, well, scared. Other employees began to pull up and I didn’t know what else to do so I called you guys and told them to go on home and work remotely until I knew what was going on.
Det. Gerald – What happened when the responding officers got there?
Mr. Corey – Obviously, I’m upset. At this point I was convinced there is someone in my place of business who isn’t supposed to be in there…or ya’know, something…There weren’t any lights on that I could see, but someone is actively trying to keep me out of the building. Officers Mather and Cotton came pretty fast and asked Sarah and I a bunch of questions about what was going on. I told them what I told you and they said if I let them in the building they would go in and see what is going on. I told them that the door was unlocked when I got there and then was locked and that someone slammed the back door on me after that.
We went up to the door and the door unlocked fine. They went in and it was quickly pretty evident that no one broke in. They returned in minutes to say that there was nobody there and the place was clear. By then more officers had showed up and Sarah helped me by sending workers away as I looked around to see if I could figure out who the hell was there. The officers said the back door was not locked. Obviously, this surprised me.
Det. Gerald – So who do you think was there?
Mr. Corey – That’s the thing, nothing is missing. I looked through the CCTV footage and I didn’t see anyone entering or leaving. The only thing I saw on those tapes was me struggling with the doors. Someone broke in; I’m sure of it, but I can’t tell you for certain who it was.
Det. Gerald – Maybe you imagined it. Have you been dealing with more stress than usual?
(Just as Det. Gerald asked the question, an unknown number called Mr. Corey’s phone).
Mr. Corey – No.
(Mr. Corey ignored the call)
No. I can’t really explain any of it, but I…
(Phone rings again)
Can I take this?
Det. Gerald – Yeah.
Mr. Corey – (into the phone) Hello? (inaudible; Mr. Corey then presses the speaker button on his phone)
Phone – “…this is Sarah, how can I direct your call?”
Mr. Corey – Who is this? Who is this??! (hangs up).
Det. Gerald – What was that?
Mr. Corey – That was Sarah the receptionist, but it obviously wasn’t.
(Just then the phone rang again: Unknown number)
Det. Gerard – Give me the phone.
(Mr. Corey handed the phone to the officer and he answers it and puts it on speaker)
This is Detective…
Phone – “…North Shore Software, this is Sarah, how can I direct your call?”
At Point North Networks, we offer enterprise business telephone systems that have all types of features, including virtual receptionists that can help your business direct your calls to the people you are looking to talk to. You can gain the peace of mind that you will get the end-to-end telephone service your business needs without the chance of being haunted by a human or specter.
Frequently Asked Questions About North Shore Software
What is an enterprise phone system?
An enterprise phone system can be defined as an assortment of various services, including but not limited to office telephones, mobile devices, and audio conferencing. This phone system is aimed at enabling office employees to communicate with customers and business associates, by way of speech instead of the more impersonal mediums such as email or the web.
What is the need for an enterprise telephone system?
When implemented efficiently, a telephone system can enable a business to offer improved communication facilities to its customers and partners alike. In addition to being more personal and impactful, telephone communication is also faster than email – making it the preferred choice for all involved.
How can a Virtual Receptionist Help my Business?
A virtual receptionist is essentially software and not a person. This implies that the efficiency with which a virtual receptionist function is unmatched. Right from fielding incoming calls, to resolving simple customer needs such as appointment scheduling, offering access to required information, and routing calls, a virtual receptionist can do it all with ease. Most importantly, a virtual receptionist can function 24/7, thus ensuring that every customer’s call is well-received.
What are the most important features of a Virtual Receptionist?
When it comes to a virtual assistant, some of the noteworthy features that make the assistant worth the cost include –
- Auto attendant
- Live answering
- Message taking
- Patching and call transfer
- Appointment scheduling
- Answering frequently asked questions
- Offering 24/7 availability
The software you choose to use for your business largely defines the capabilities of it. When it comes to communications there are some very standard options that you probably already have and then there are some more innovative options that can have significant benefits for your staff. Let’s take a look at some of the standard communications options a business might use and how they can use technology to crank it up a bit.
Standard Communications Tools
Most businesses today give their employees multiple options on how to communicate with other members of the staff, prospects, and customers. Some are typical of every business, while others are a little more advanced and come with larger price tags. Some of the most utilized communications tools for business include:
- Instant messaging
For most businesses, communications are split into two categories: Written and Verbal. Most businesses should have systems in place to cover both types of communication. As for written tools the most utilized, by far, is email. It presents you with an accepted and respected way to communicate with almost anyone that you would need to contact.
Today’s hosted email solutions tend to have a litany of great and useful features that can not only provide a construct to clearly get your message across, but also manage incoming and outgoing messages. Most modern business email platforms include the following features:
- Daily backup of emails
- Virus protection
- Spam filtering
- Push mail
These options typically provide users with everything they need to do business using email. Not only do modern email platforms have features to make the process of sending and managing email easier, many of them have started to integrate a fair amount of security features. A business’ email system is extremely important and a well-maintained and managed email system can go a long way toward giving an organization a great business tool.
Instant messaging is one of the more utilized written communications tools. Not every instant messaging application is created equal, that’s to be sure, but for the most part the convenience and speed of instant messaging can be a major benefit for any business looking to outfit themselves with one. Some hosted email platforms will come equipped with one, while other stand-alone IM platforms are also available. Recently, there has been a big shift in the development of collaboration tools that feature instant messaging as part of a larger platform designed to keep your people on the same page.
One often overlooked communication tool your business may have is the ability to provide employees and customers with written resources like pamphlets, white papers, and other documents. Most businesses today want their staff and customers to be as educated as possible and creating a repository of useful information, whether they are in the form of pamphlets, FAQs, or some other useful documents can save time and be very valuable.
Probably the most important communications platform your company has is its telephone system. The traditional telephone system that you would get through a dedicated telephone provider has some functionality, but if you really want to make strides with your business’ communications platform, consider switching to a VoIP system. VoIP can be hosted onsite or in the cloud and can provide a lot of powerful features that the traditional telephone system simply cannot.
One of the features you can buy through any VoIP provider is seamless video conferencing. For remote teams, or even extremely busy teams, a powerful video conferencing solution will give you access to a tool that will allow you to spin up meetings in seconds and provide you with integrated options in line with standalone video conferencing tools. This will help you save money and standardize the entire calling experience. Some other VoIP features you can take advantage of include:
- Automated attendant with advanced call management
- Caller ID
- Call queuing
- Call following
- SMS and MMS integration
- Mobile device integration
…And many more.
If your business needs help going over your communications options or if you simply need help getting the platforms you already have to function as you need them to, give the technicians at Point North Networks a call today at 651-234-0895.
Communication solutions are especially important in today’s world of remote and hybrid work, and we are here to tell you that the traditional telephone solution you’ve known and loved for all these years is simply not viable in today’s business environment. Thankfully, a viable replacement is widely available, and it’s all thanks to Voice over IP technology.
What is VoIP?
Your traditional telephone solution involved working with your local telephone company to run lines and cables all over your business’ office and installing handsets for your employees to use. There was a lengthy implementation process that heavily relied on the physical setup of your office and the number of employees your company employed.
VoIP, on the other hand, uses a service you already have—your Internet connection—rather than your traditional telephone infrastructure. Through the use of smartphone or desktop applications, VoIP helps to eliminate barriers of entry for telephony solutions and instead focuses on making services accessible to all types of businesses, regardless of infrastructure or current setup. Since VoIP is a software solution rather than a hardware solution, it is more dynamic and flexible than your traditional telephone system.
What Benefits Does It Bring?
VoIP is notable because it offers comparable services to your traditional telephone system but without the limitations that come with it. Here is just a short breakdown of what you can expect from a VoIP phone system:
All the features you know and love:
VoIP is capable of all the features you use for your traditional telephony system, plus some that you might not normally get, such as video conferencing and instant messaging.
Instead of running cables and knocking down walls, you just download an application and set up your accounts. Because of this, it’s an easy and efficient way to leverage telephone solutions to your benefit.
Accessibility and flexibility:
Since VoIP applications can run on smartphones or desktops/laptops, you have control over how you choose to use VoIP.
Oftentimes you might encounter telephone providers who try to lump together services in an attempt to squeeze as much out of their customers as possible. With VoIP, you don’t get any of this—you purchase the solutions you need and nothing more.
Don’t Wait Any Longer!
If you are ready to take your business’ communications infrastructure to the next level, we are confident that VoIP will help. To learn more about what VoIP can do for your business, reach out to us at 651-234-0895.
What kinds of communication tools does your business utilize on a daily basis? Chances are that your communication infrastructure can benefit from some of the latest and greatest solutions on the market. Communication is one aspect of your business that you definitely do not want to skimp on, as failing to implement the proper tools can bleed into other aspects of your organization, including operations and, in return, your bottom line.
Here are three technology solutions that all small businesses should implement for their communication infrastructures.
Email & Instant Messaging
We know what you’re thinking—obviously a business needs email to communicate properly both internally with its team and externally with clients and vendors. However, we urge you to reconsider the way that your email solution is currently set up. Do you host it yourself on-premises? Is it properly secured? Can you access your work email on any approved device? Are you able to access it through the cloud? These are important questions to ask for the sake of productivity and efficiency. We at COMPANYNAME recommend that you work with us to set up a cloud-hosted email solution so that your business can focus on maintaining operations rather than managing an email server.
Instant messaging is another great tool that modern businesses can leverage to great effect. It’s perfect for moments when you don’t want to wait for a response to an email or for more urgent matters. That said, you need to be careful with how you implement instant messaging, as improper setup and training can turn this great productivity tool into a distraction.
Consider this scenario: have you ever been neck-deep in a project only to find that important documents detailing the process for a certain task simply cannot be accessed for some reason? Unfortunately, this is often the case; documents can get scattered all over, and some employees simply won’t know the needed workflows or how to access certain accounts. This is why an intranet solution is such a valuable tool.
An intranet solution is a great place to house internal documents for helpful information such as workflows, portals to various services or tools you utilize on the regular, and more. Don’t discredit the value of having a single place you can go to locate just about everything your employees need to succeed in their day-to-day duties. Think about it as the “single point of contact” for any resources your employees need.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
Similar to email, all businesses have a phone solution that they use for both internal and external communications. The unfortunate truth, however, is that the landline is a tool of the past. Whenever you have to add a user to the network, you have to run new phone lines, hook up new hardware, assign extensions, and so much more. This makes for a solution that is not growth-friendly and can work against your business’ interests.
VoIP has the potential to change the way your organization handles telephony in the workplace. Essentially, it takes your entire phone infrastructure and shifts it to the cloud where it can be accessed on any device through a desktop or smartphone application. This allows you to use your work phone number to make calls on a personal device through the Internet. All of the features of traditional telephony solutions are present here (and completely scalable), including call forwarding, routing, conference calling, and even some features that might not be present in your ordinary landline, such as video conferencing, IMs, and more.
Not sure how to get started thinking about your own business communication infrastructure? Point North Networks, Inc., can work with your organization to implement the best tools for its specific needs. Don’t wait any longer; get started with a phone call to Point North Networks, Inc., at 651-234-0895.
By now you’ve heard of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), the telephone system that runs through your Internet connection rather than a phone line. VoIP can save your business up to 60 percent off your current phone bill. What many people don’t know—even ones that utilize a VoIP platform—is that there are many available options that can have major benefits for your business. Companies that have VoIP typically only use between one-third and one-half of the available options. Today, we wanted to showcase five VoIP features that you may not be taking advantage of.
Of course, nobody will ever really admit that they are screening their calls, but most people are guilty of it. Whether you just don’t cop to it or not, it can keep you from having to have conversations that you just don’t have time for. With VoIP, you can send the call to voicemail, disconnect it without giving the caller the chance to fill up your email with solicitation, or you can push it to your mobile phone. Either way, you have complete control.
One useful feature is the auto attendant. It’s basically a simple automated receptionist that can facilitate call transfers, send callers to voicemail, or even provide basic information and support. A lot of businesses completely forego having an actual receptionist and use the call attendant feature as a call hub to direct calls. It’s extremely useful.
Find Me, Follow Me
Some members of your staff are always on the move and it can be difficult for clients and other people to get them on the phone in their office. The find me, follow me feature is a sophisticated form of call routing. It provides a person to go where they are needed and still get the calls that come through for them by calling multiple phones at one time.
Many VoIP platforms don’t just make the people you put on hold listen to the same ol’ elevator music, you can pick your own. This may be a completely aesthetic feature, but it can be a benefit and fit in nicely with the company culture you are trying to cultivate. Insert marketing messages, promotions, and helpful advice for your callers.
Do Not Disturb
This is a feature that is not used enough. If you want to stay productive you need to be able to eliminate distractions. Nothing is more distracting than your phone blowing up constantly. In fact, studies have shown that people take over ten minutes to get back into the flow after a call. If you want to shut it down and focus on the task at hand, using the do not disturb feature can help you get in the headspace you need to be truly productive.
With other features like text messaging and video conferencing, VoIP can add a lot of value to your business’ roster of communications tools. If you would like to learn more about VoIP or other productivity-boosting tools, give us a call today at 651-234-0895.