Seamless and uninterrupted communication stands at the heart of a high-functioning organization. Be it for better cross-functional collaboration or meetings, communication in the workplace—physical or virtual—is much more than just verbal communication.
You need to establish a face-to-face rapport with video communication, get tasks done through instant messaging, and need collaboration features to efficiently work with someone in the far corner of the world. What’s the best way to connect the dots?
Enter softphones—a Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology that enables you to dial or receive a call from anyone, anywhere in the world, through the internet.
This article will discuss what a softphone is, how it can benefit your business, and how to choose a softphone that caters to your business needs.
What is a Softphone?
A softphone is a software system that allows you to call any telephone number and speak to the person on the other end through the internet. Apart from being a telephonic software system with call forwarding and conferencing features, softphones often allow video calls, screen sharing, call recording, and many other features.
As long as you have access to an internet connection, you can call anyone through a softphone installed on your desktop, laptop, browser, or mobile application.
Softphones vs. Hardphones—What’s the Difference?
A hardphone is a traditional desk phone system with a receiver, dialing system, buttons, or even a touchpad. However, it’s a stationary system, often attached to your office monitor, that complements other features like video calling, conferencing, and screen recording.
With a softphone, you don’t have to be at your desk all the time. It gives you the flexibility to work from anywhere and still be connected with your team to communicate and collaborate.
What Are Some Standard Features of a Softphone?
While a softphone considerably reduces the scope of stationary communication, that’s not all it does. With the rapid change in the working culture and the shift from in-person to remote organizations, the need for a unified communications system is greater than ever.
Besides the standard features of calling, receiving, and call-forwarding, here’s what a softphone offers:
- Caller ID: You can see the caller’s name and phone number. This helps avoid spam phone calls and pick up only priority calls.
- Instant messaging: Email isn’t the fastest mode of communication, and sometimes you can’t make telephone calls for simple queries in the middle of a working day. Instant messaging through a softphone is a great way to collaborate faster and address concerns quickly while significantly reducing the scope of being available all the time.
- Video calling and screen sharing: The pandemic has made video calling a staple for most professional meetings, as it’s one of the best ways to establish a rapport with the team, see how they’re doing in real-time, and keep up with the company culture with one-on-one conversations. With a softphone, you can do all this plus screen share while discussing reports, delivering presentations, and even pitches through features like virtual white boarding and remote screen control.
- Call recording and transcriptions: If you want to revisit a meeting, you can record it by taking the attendees’ permission. You can also transcribe the recorded video calls to get meeting notes and repurpose them into internal content or company documents.
These are just some of the many features that softphones offer. Others include remote call forwarding, contact list sharing, integration with major CRMs, and call monitoring.
How Can Softphones Benefit your Business
Now that you know what a softphone does, let’s explore how it can help your business.
While the nature of a softphone allows team members the agility and flexibility to organize their workday, communicate, and collaborate with internal and external team members seamlessly, other larger business benefits are attached to its usage.
Let’s look at some prominent ones:
→Significantly Cuts Down Costs
A softphone only has VoIP technology license, installation, and internet costs, which depend on the service provider you choose. Because of this, it’s cheaper than the traditional phone system—you save money on physical handsets, wiring throughout the office, a separate conference room, and the equipment that goes in it.
→Allows Remote Flexibility
Softphones are a perfect investment for remote companies that rely on online apps to communicate with their workforce. There is no need to be stationed at a desk all day—as long as you have internet access, you can use a softphone. Thus, softphones truly provide you with the flexibility to work and collaborate wherever and whenever you want.
→Maintains Privacy and Data Security
With a softphone, your entire business communicates through a private line, and no public wires are involved. So, your data stays within the organization, and there’s lower risk of a security breach. You can even transfer the information, like call recordings, voicemails, and messages, to your hard drive or another software without hassle.
→Integrates With Your CRM To Create a Single Database
Without a softphone, you’re likely using various methods to communicate with the team, internal and external stakeholders, customers, and even prospects. However, a softphone easily integrates with your home CRM, like Salesforce, Skype, or Microsoft Outlook, so you can collaborate faster and centralize your data for better working and analysis.
3 Things to Consider While Choosing the Right Softphone Solution for Your Business
While softphones are a low-cost investment option for a business, you shouldn’t choose one entirely based on the cost savings. There are several other factors you should consider while making your pick.
Here are three things you should consider while choosing the right softphone VoIP service provider for your business:
As you look for the right softphone option for your business, it’s important to keep in mind the features that are most important to you. Begin by assessing your business needs and drilling down on which features will help you fulfill those needs best.
For example, if you’re looking for a softphone solution for the sales team at a SaaS company, you’ll want to invest in a softphone that allows you to talk to customers and prospects comfortably and across borders. You should prioritize finding a softphone that’s compatible with call transfers, multiple calling options, caller ID, call recording, advanced call routing options, and even international calling if applicable.
Knowing your needs will help you pick a softphone service provider that caters to your unique business needs, sits well within your organizational structure, and assists team members with operating more efficiently.
It’s important that your softphone VoIP provider is compatible with other devices in your organization. This will ensure that your employees can sync their data across systems and seamlessly transfer and work without hassle.
You’ll also want to consider if most of your employees use iPhone or Android, Mac or Windows, or if you want a softphone that works on desktop, mobile devices, or both. You should also keep in mind that many—but not all—softphones don’t have to be downloaded or installed but can be used in a web browser.
Next, identify if most of your team works in-office or remote and whether this is likely to change in the foreseeable future. Organizations which have declared a fully remote transition would be better off with a softphone compatible with virtual communication. However, if you have a mix of in-office and remote employees, it’s better to look for a provider that can accommodate both.
Softphones are often a cost-effective solution, but it’s still important to price shop. Make sure to look into various pricing plans to see what works well with your business processes and payment structures.
Consider factors like:
- Are there different pricing plans for distinct business types?
- Is there a difference between features offered in various plans? If so, which plan suits your needs best?
- Is there a free trial that you can use to see if the solution fits well within your systems?
- Do they offer additional add-on features that you can buy later as your needs change?
- Do they offer monthly or yearly pricing plans? Which one fits better with your payment processes?
- What kind of support do they provide with your preferred pricing plan? Does that cater to your needs?
Consider all these factors while deciding on a softphone solution for your business. You can also create an eligibility checklist with pricing factors to help you compare different solutions and choose the ideal one for your business.
Step Into a New Way of Communicating with Softphones
Investing in a softphone solution is more than just adding another item to your list of things to pay for. You’re introducing your entire organization to a new way of structuring their communication process. There are tons of options out there, so it’s important to choose a solution that’s a great fit for your needs and will enhance overall business performance.
Use the tips in this article to understand the benefits and features of softphones and you’ll be well on your way to better results with easy-going communication.