Professional communication has become more important for organizations than ever. In fact, 40% of customers prefer talking to a real person over the phone for complicated issues, such as payment disputes.
That’s where softphones come into play. They ensure consistency throughout the call, are reliable, secure, and agile. Besides, they provide your support team with geographical flexibility.
So what exactly is a softphone? How does it work? In this article, we will discuss these things along with softphone features and how they can benefit your business. Let’s get started!
What is Softphone?
A softphone is a software program that empowers you to make or receive calls using any internet-connected device. It is usually provided by a business phone system provider and has an easy-to-use interface (similar to a mobile phone).
In other words, a softphone is a virtual phone that works as an IP-PBX using VoIP technology and offers advanced features like drag and drop call transfers, call bridges, etc. In fact, softphones can enhance all of your VoIP features.
It is also worth mentioning that a softphone is not a standalone product. Instead, it is connected to your business VoIP system.
How Does a Softphone Work?
When you make calls using a traditional desk phone, the voice signals are transferred over a network of wires. When you use mobile phones, they transmit electrical voice signals over cell phone towers.
Softphone, on the other hand, uses VoIP service communications technology to transmit sound. This means you will need high-speed broadband or a wireless connection to make or receive calls.
A SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) server begins real-time Voice over Internet Protocol sessions, thereby converting analog signals into digital ones over the internet. And, you are ready to talk over the phone.
Having said that, there are certain requirements of a softphone.
Basic Requirements of a Softphone
To use a softphone efficiently, you need:
- A desktop or a smartphone
- A VoIP headset (to ensure voice clarity)
Though a headset isn’t necessary, we recommend using it to get the best possible sound (while minimizing surround noise). Also, make sure to pick a noise-cancellation headset.
Now that you have the device and a headset in place, you are ready to get started. Download your softphone software (or app) on your device. For instance, business phone service providers like CallHippo have an app that can be installed directly on your device. Follow the setup process, and the app is ready to go within minutes.
As I have mentioned before a few times, you would need an internet connection. Choose a reliable provider to ensure you get enough bandwidth to minimize dropped or disjointed calls.
Critical Softphone Features
When it comes to features, softphones offer a wide variety of functionalities. From an easy-to-use interface to built-in caller settings, you can customize everything to cater to your business needs.
Most softphones come with standard calling features, such as mute, hold, transfer, and instant messaging. However, they do have several advanced features that make them completely worth the money, such as:
- 3-way calling
- Multiple Call Appearance Lines
- Blind, Warm, and Voicemail Transfers
- Caller ID
- Call Waiting
- Remote call Forwarding
- Instant call bridges
- Caller and Calling Line Information
- Call Log
- Auto dialling capabilities
- Contact list sharing
- CRM integration
- Call Hold/Resume
- One-click Calling
- Mute and Volume Controls
- Employee presence (to check availability)
As you can see, softphones come with plenty of features that can help you serve your customers better.
How Does a Softphone Benefit Your Business?
Now that you know what a softphone is and its features, let’s look at the top softphone benefits for your business.
1- Saves Money
A softphone helps save a lot of money in the long-run. There are a variety of areas where you can save money, such as hardware costs, updates, maintenance, etc. The price of the softphone software can go all the way up to $50 per month or as low as CallHippo’s $14 a month plan.
2- Provides Virtual Numbers
Softphones allow you to buy virtual phone numbers for the countries you operate in. This will enable you to create a local market identity to improve the connection with local customers.
3- No Dedicated Line
Neither you nor your team has to stick to a desk to attend to customers’ calls. They can be far away from each other (maybe in different countries), it won’t matter. With softphones, you can give your customers a seamless experience irrespective of where your team operates from. And, it is another major cost savings for your company.
4- Shareable Contact Lists
Have you ever been in a situation where you need a customer’s contact number which you know your colleague has but you can’t reach him/her? We’ve all been there.
With softphones, you won’t face this situation ever. It has a shared contact lists feature that gives each of your team members access to each other’s contact lists.
5- Allows You to Manage Employee Presence
Softphones show when your team is online and offline. This feature can come in handy, especially when you manage remote teams. Instead of sending messages and waiting for them to respond, you can quickly identify if they’re available or are on a break (or meeting).
6- Improves Engagement
Need to talk to your team? A softphone has got you covered. It allows you to centralize communication and collaborate with your team. It also allows you to do video calls (just in case you manage remote employees (or are on a business trip).
7- Supports Voicemail
Don’t miss any of your customers’ calls. Get voicemail pushed directly to your inbox or as a push notification on your phone. You can even get a transcription of the audio file, enabling you to skim through it to determine its urgency.
8- Ensures 24/7 Employee Connectivity
As mentioned above, one of the major softphone benefits is that you can operate it from anywhere. All you need is access to the software (which you can do from your smartphone). You don’t have to worry about the cost of moving and reinstalling equipment, thereby saving you money and time to set up the business.
A softphone is a software program that changes the way you run your voice operations. You can use softphones to reduce operational costs, improve customer satisfaction, and ensure 24/7 connectivity.
Have you used softphones before? Or are you looking for one? Let us know in the comments, and we might be able to help you with your softphone requirements!