softphone benefits

As VoIP continues to expand and grow in the business world, softphones are quickly becoming the preferred choice over the traditional desk phone.

In the past, when starting a business or bringing on new employees, physical desk phones had to be purchased and would often become outdated, creating a larger business expense over time.

Even as softphones began entering the market, many chose not to make the change due to quality issues and concerns, however with improvements in VoIP and software technology this is now generally a thing of the past.

What is a Softphone?

A softphone is software or an application that allows you to make phone calls over the internet using your computer or laptop.

While many physical desk phones support VoIP (Voice over IP), softphones come with added advantages that expand the usual capabilities of a business phone system, i.e. video calling, presence information and instant messaging.

What are the benefits of using a softphone?

  • Lower maintenance & cost effective
  • Scalability
  • Connecting with employees on the road
  • Presence information
  • CRM integration
  • Improved collaboration & communication

Lower Maintenance & Cost Effective

The area in which businesses usually experience the benefits first is in the cost effectiveness and easy upgrading of a softphone.

While previously businesses would have to purchase additional hardware on top of their phone system, many IP PBX companies offer a free softphone along with their service. These softphones are updated often, ensuring you always have the latest features and security updates depending on the plan you have with your IP PBX provider.

Scalability

Building on the cost-effectiveness of using softphones over desk phones, the ease of scalability is also worth noting.

Due to the low cost of setting up new SIP lines and the fact a softphone is quite literally only a download away, a new employee (or 10) can start and have their extension set up and ready in no time.

Connecting with Employees on the Road

This is particularly helpful if you have employees that travel or go on-site often.

Most IP PBX’s have smartphone applications that connect to the phone system, allowing the user to make and receive calls as if they were sitting at their desk with a phone in front of them. Many of the applications allow for all the same features as the desktop version also.

Presence Information

Gone are the days of having to call a colleague to see if they were available to… take a call.

Not only does the concept seem rather pointless, the amount of time wasted by each employee having to do this can really begin to add up.

Presence information allows the user to display to the rest of the office whether they are available, on a call or busy.

With this information, calls can be efficiently and be easily transferred to the appropriate person (another great benefit of softphones not listed here!), or a message can be taken – all without the hassle of having to ring back and forth between people.

CRM Integration

Desktop softphones integrate wonderfully with 3rd party CRM software. A great feature usually offered by IP PBX/ CRM integrations is the syncing of contacts.

When receiving a phone call from a customer you’ve worked with previously, the softphone can display who the caller is, and even notes on previous interactions you or others have had with this person or company.

Your sales and customer relations team would thank you for this one.

Improved Collaboration & Communication

Collaboration and communication between employees is greatly improved when everything is found in the one place.

Video conferencing? Softphone.

Screen sharing? Softphone.

Instant messenger? Still softphone.

Regardless of the communication requirement that users may have, there’s a good chance that a softphone – either on a desktop or application on a smart phone – will remove the necessity of a 3rd party communication application.

Despite the benefits of softphones, there are many people that prefer to use the more traditional style desk phones. They are often more familiar, occasionally have better voice quality and most people would know how to use at least the basic features of a desk phone.

You can read more about our comparison of desk phones and softphones here.

Regardless of whether you decide on a softphone or a desk phone, VoIP is well and truly here to stay.

Your decision should depend on the features and functionality your business requires, however remember to think forward to the future and what you may need if and when you decide to expand!