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What is a Softphone? Definition and Benefits

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In the modern world, it’s very important to always be in touch with people so you don’t miss anything that can be valuable to you. A softphone provides solutions for easy and effective communication. 

Reach out to a colleague, client, or your whole team through an audio or video call, regardless of the user’s location and type of device.

Learn all about softphones to find out how they can be beneficial for your business.

What is a softphone?

A softphone is a phone-based software that allows users to make phone calls over the internet. It gives colleagues and teams an opportunity to communicate without using an actual telephone.

It`s compatible with almost any device that has a microphone, camera (optionally), and stable internet connection. 
A major benefit of the system is that it’s great for individuals who don’t want to be stuck in one place and prefer to work remotely. They can use all the benefits of VoIP (voice over internet protocol), such as IVR, call routing, and CRM integration, making calls from anywhere.

How does a softphone work?

The software works pretty much just like any other phone. You open the application, dial a number and wait for it to connect. Then you can speak through the installed mic or a third-party mic.

If a softphone is something you have never used, you can be sure that you will adjust to it very quickly. The interface usually looks similar to a traditional phone, with the same icons and buttons. You will also notice classic functionality with such recognizable features as call waiting, call forwarding, and call transfer. 

Unlike traditional calling systems, softphones fully rely on the internet. Basically, the analog signals are converted into digital ones. All you need is a PC or mobile device.

In addition, a softphone offers users a lot of features most desk phones don’t have, including:

  • Video calling;
  • Status;
  • Team messaging;
  • Call recording;
  • Visual voicemail.

Basic Requirements

To start using a softphone, first, you need a computer or a mobile device.

We recommend using a VoIP headset for better performance and quality of conversations, but if your device has a microphone and speaker, you are good to use the software too. 

Remove unnecessary sources of noise that can interfere with the call. 

Remember that a softphone fully depends on the internet, so make sure the connection is good and stable.

Softphone Software

Now you’re only a step away from making your first call. Download the application that is located on the main page of the software provider’s website on your PC or mobile phone. Run the installer, register, and start communicating. 

DSL or Cable Service

VoIP can be installed using both DSL and cables. 

Cable installation requires a modem and high-speed cable connected to your office. It is a much more expensive option but sometimes has a solid advantage: faster speed.
DSL uses phone lines and costs less, although some providers offer the same speed as cable service. 

It is completely up to you whether to use DSL or cable technology for your business. Softphones work great with both.

How to set up a softphone

Setting up a softphone is much easier than, for example, a business phone. Follow these simple steps to succeed:

  1. Choose a provider.
  2. Install the application.
  3. Launch the service.
  4. Connect third-party devices (speakers, headphones) if desired.

For correct software installation and smooth operation, make sure your internet connection is good enough through the whole process.

How do businesses use softphones?

A softphone is a great choice for businesses where calls are a priority. It covers most of the needs satisfied by other communications systems and more, such as audio and video conferences, calls recordings, voicemails, etc.

It can save companies a lot of money, as it is significantly cheaper. You don’t have to invest in additional hardware and service. The software can be downloaded on already existing devices.

Moreover, the application gives the whole staff an opportunity for remote work. Also, employees can take calls from anywhere on a dedicated business number.

The biggest advantage of a softphone system is privacy. You don’t need to share your or your employees’ phone numbers and don’t have to dial unknown ones.

Top Softphone Features

To get the best communication results, businesses usually use more than one tool: emails, video calls, voicemails, etc. Softphones have everything at once! That includes:

  • User presence;
  • Call hold and call waiting;
  • Instant chat messaging;
  • Video calling and screen sharing;
  • Call recording and transcription;
  • Remote call forwarding;
  • Visual voicemail;
  • Call routing;
  • CRM integration.

Some of these features will be familiar to you, as they were adopted from traditional phones. However, some of the new ones may impress you!

User Presence

A softphone indicates user status, so teams and colleagues will know if a person is reachable at the moment. This significantly saves the time that you spend guessing when you will get a response. Typically, all systems provide such statuses as:

  • Available;
  • On a call;
  • Do not disturb;
  • Offline.

Call Hold and Call Waiting

If a user is already on the line and receiving a priority call from someone else, they can take it, and simply put the other call on hold. This way, both calls will remain active, but the holding one will be muted.

Call waiting allows users to see incoming calls while they’re online with someone else. You won’t miss any important inbounds.

Instant Chat Messaging

Instant messages are designed for real-time communication that allows users to answer and receive messages in the shortest time. It is a huge advantage, because you don’t need to follow time-consuming procedures like using a regular email.

There are private and public channels available. You can transition from messages to an audio or video call in seconds. 

Chat messages include such tools as file sharing, whiteboarding, instant notifications, etc. 

Audio Conferencing and Call Bridge

Audio conferencing allows teams and agents to sync together in one single call without using a bunch of different desk phones. They can attend a session from any place, even far away from the office, using almost any device. 

Normally, anywhere from 10-40 users can join a conference by clicking on a link, dialing the phone number, or using “Call Me” (attendees receive an inbound call that connects them to the session).

Call bridge links all participants of a conference on one line. 

Video Calls and Screen Sharing

When it comes to situations where not only hearing, but also seeing a person is required, a video call is an option. This is one of the most popular features of a softphone; that’s why almost all providers have it.

Screen sharing is designed to simplify collaborative work. All the participants are able to see the exact same content at the same time.

Call Recording and Transcription

A recording feature helps if you need to review previous calls or video conferences. It can be set automatically or manually. There is also a sharing option if you want to send a recording to someone else.

You don’t always have time to check all the missed calls. Transcription turns recorded calls into text, so you can easily get what the call was about. 

Remote Call Forwarding

Call forwarding redirects calls to the current available phone numbers if the dialed number isn’t answering. It is beneficial for both sides: the caller won’t have to wait long till somebody answers, and the team won’t miss a potentially important call.

Visual Voicemail

Visual Voicemail transforms received voice messages into text and sends them via email or push notifications to a user. It is a great addition for situations when listening to an audio is not possible (for example, in a meeting).

Call Routing

Call routing sends inbound calls to preformed groups of agents. It helps administer the load, giving less calls to the busy agents and redirecting them to the available ones. 

These groups are based on the knowledge of the workers, so the caller will get the most relevant response. It saves a lot of time for both sides.

CRM Integration

CRM integration is syncing your CRM software to your software application, so all your data and CRM information are unified and kept in one place. That means fast and easy access to several tools without switching apps. It simplifies and speeds up any task.

Softphone Benefits

A softphone has a lot of benefits that will make your business work better, starting from serious money savings to more well-coordinated teamwork.

Less Equipment

Forget about huge desks with old telephones. All you need to make a phone call now is your device and network. High mobility brings businesses new possibilities for remote work.

No Dedicated Line

Softphones don’t require installing a dedicated phone line as a traditional phone. You can add as many workstations as you want and not worry about the cost.

Video Conferencing & Calling

No wonder video conferencing is growing in popularity. It provides amazing effectiveness for teaching and presentations. 

Video calling is an effective communication method that has lots of functions, such as muting a mic or an image, chatting, and screen sharing.

Additional Lines

You can add new lines easily without tons of new hardware connected to your office. 

24/7 Employee Connectivity

A major advantage of a softphone system is how easy you can move it wherever you need. Switching between a desktop and a mobile device, you will always be online.

Softphones Vs. Traditional Phones

Businesses require the newest technologies to stay relevant. That’s why you need the smartest and fastest tools. A majority of businesses prefer a softphone as a modern technology that covers all their communication needs. Traditional phones are time-tested, but lacking in important features needed nowadays.

Upfront Costs

Softphone software doesn’t require any hardware to connect. You can install it on existing devices and you don’t need to pay for anything else like you would with traditional phones.

Remote Capabilities

Using softphones, your employees can make calls and join conferences from home. Furthermore, they can keep almost all the advantages of office work.

Unified Communications

With the application, you can keep all your business communication channels in one place. Switch between important tools faster, unlike on traditional phones.

Summary

A softphone is an absolutely necessary tool for any business that wants to increase its mobility and efficiency. 

It can save a lot of time and money, making the working process simple yet productive. 

Large groups of people can join conferences and watch screen sharing. Teams don’t have to be tied to an office anymore and can do their jobs from any place. 

With call recordings, you can be sure you won’t miss anything important.

FAQ

What is a Softphone Headset?

A softphone headset is a special device that is made for better quality and performance of calls. It usually comes with a noise canceling feature to avoid any distractions. It’s highly compatible with downloaded software. 

What is a SIP Softphone?

A SIP softphone is software that provides calls using SIP (Session Initial Protocol). That means you can make phone calls from your computer or other device instead of a traditional phone. SIP allows you to share voice and text messages, documents, video chat and much more.

What is a Mobile Softphone?

A mobile softphone is software that allows you to make phone calls over the internet on mobile devices. It is highly efficient for any business that is linked with communications.

Portability and accessibility make it really useful for anyone who works or wants to work remotely.

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