The Internet has revolutionized the way individuals and businesses alike communicate. We rarely see traditional home telephones anymore, and even cell phones are changing to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services in some parts of the world.
Adoption of these “softphones” is becoming more common, especially in the business sector where the benefits of an accessible, efficient communication system are essential in an ever-competitive environment.
Softphones from third-party service providers allow you to tailor your VoIP experience toward the unique needs of your business. A reliable softphone is all any business today needs to streamline communication and operations.
How do softphones work, and are they a worthy investment for your organization? Read on to find out more.
What Is a Softphone?
The remote work trend has always been on the rise, and COVID-19 has only accelerated it. 4.3 million people in the US work from home most of the time as of mid-2021, so it makes sense that we want to modernize our workstations to accommodate this change in work culture.
For instance, why should we stay tied to our desks all the time? By replacing that bulky desk phone and incorporating that communication into your smartphones and other mobile devices, you can achieve a higher degree of productivity than before no matter where you are.
That’s where the push for softphones comes from. These are the software applications that fulfill the messaging and communication needs of a business over the Internet. Examples you might be familiar with are Skype and Slack.
Softphones vs Landlines: What You Need to Know
The cost to switch from a traditional landline to a softphone is well worth the investment for almost all businesses. The key advantages are:
- Better price efficiency: You not only get more features over a landline, but you often pay less for them too. To run a traditional phone line, you need to spend on installation, maintenance, and other services that add up. A softphone gives you lower monthly rates and doesn’t come with international calling charges.
- Lower starting cost: Building on the last point, you also don’t have to pay for the starting hardware. Smartphones and mobile devices are ubiquitous nowadays, and those are all you need to get started on streamlining communication with softphones.
- Security: While it may seem counterintuitive, online softphones can actually be just as secure as a phone line thanks to the cybersecurity features most providers have. You also don’t have to give away your phone number to use one.
- Updates: Technology doesn’t slow down, so why should your business? A softphone adds new features and modules quickly and inexpensively compared to a hard landline. For instance, the new 5G update for mobile data can be yours sooner with a softphone.
- Simplicity and ease of use: There’s no more need for those extra hardware phones and cables sprawled across the desk. A cleaner workstation means better productivity. And if you work with a softphone provider, then the maintenance and update work gets outsourced, offloading that cost from your company.
- Professionalism: A streamlined, unified communication system makes your business look more professional, and many providers of white label softphones even let you add your own branding to the solution for a more formal look.
The digital nature of softphone applications also means more features to use compared to a landline that’s restricted mainly to voice communication.
So What’s the Catch?
Like any major digital transformation, there are a few caveats to keep in mind. A new softphone system might run into:
- Reliance on the Internet: Softphones and VoIP in general obviously depend on Internet access, and not all areas have a reliable connection.
- Bandwidth usage: You probably have other online services too like file transfers and emails with attachments. A softphone would naturally have to use the same bandwidth.
- Compatibility errors: Softphone apps and programs need to be compatible with the hardware and operating environments they work in. Keeping your equipment up to date will continue to be necessary.
Still, most companies find the advantages of softphones too enticing to miss, even if a few new challenges follow. The overall communication experience, as many managers agree, is well worth it.
What Features Does a Softphone Offer?
Businesses choose to work with softphone providers because they can gain access to features beyond just voice and video conferencing. Those include:
- SMS messaging
- Call rerouting
- Speed dial
- Visual voicemail
- Smartphone notifications
- Status updates, such as “Do not disturb” and “Out of office”
- Applications for various computers and mobile devices
Who gets the most out of these functionalities? Everyone from regular people chatting online on Facebook to professionals working with B2B tools have plenty to gain from softphone technology.
For a company, a softphone especially helps call center employees, traveling staff, international workers who want to avoid long-distance charges, and businesses that operate in multiple nations.
What About SIP Softphones?
One term you might have run into regarding softphones is Session Initiation Protocol or SIP. It’s an open standard that allows users to make voice and video calls free of charge. Take advantage of SIP to conduct communications with no restrictions caused by national boundaries.
All you need to get started is a SIP address, a SIP client or application, and some time to configure a few settings. Keep in mind, however, that not all solutions offer SIP. Skype is one example that uses its own P2P architecture.
Should I Switch?
The short answer is “yes.” Making communication more efficient is a necessary step if you want to compete in the future market. The long answer is that choosing the right softphone provider is an important step in drawing the most value out of the digital transformation.
The right company to work with largely depends on your own needs and budget. Find a service that offers the right features and customizability at a price that works with your budget.
Find Your Next Softphone With Cloud Softphone
The way we communicate is changing. Whether you’re an individual, small business, or part of an enterprise, you need cutting-edge communications tools that can keep up.
Softphones are one of the easiest ways to transform the way your business communicates. Cloud Softphone currently supports desktop, as well as most Apple and Android devices.
Are you looking to make the switch to a feature-rich softphone? Get in touch with our team of softphone specialists today to book your personalized demo.
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Article written by: Rafael Torreblanca