What is a softphone?
A softphone is a computer program used to make phone calls over the internet from any device with a speaker and mic, including computers and mobile devices. A softphone allows users to make telephone calls without an actual, physical telephone.
How do businesses use softphones?
Many businesses choose to use softphones instead of traditional phones to save money. Since softphones are software applications that can be added to existing devices, there’s no need for an additional telephone hardware investment. Softphones are therefore seen as more scalable than other communication options. According to SearchUnifiedCommunications.com, “A desk phone is a relatively pricy piece of hardware that requires a company to pull additional cables to cubicles, and desk phones come with a certain amount of operational overhead for support and maintenance.”
Being able to install a software and get started almost right away seems like a much faster and less expensive onboarding process as opposed to the more manual setup of the “hardphone.” This is a big deal for small businesses that are growing quickly as well as medium and large businesses who save time by not keeping track of physical telephones.
Another benefit of the softphone is that it can move where the person who needs it goes. More workplaces are becoming remote or telecommute friendly. Having a softphone attached to an employee’s laptop means he or she can take calls at the office, while traveling, or working from home. Similarly, softphones give users a single phone number to take calls regardless of the device he or she is using. No more giving out personal cell phone numbers to customers. These benefits can make life much easier on businesses as small as single entrepreneurs to large companies with global locations.
Are there drawbacks to softphones?
While you do not need traditional telephone hardware to use a softphone, you might need a headset type of device with a microphone and headphones. Most softphones offer a speakerphone option, but not everyone wants to talk to their computers on speakerphone every time they take a phone call.
As softphones are reliant on an existing device and an internet connection, if either of those fails, users will be left with no way to make calls. If your laptop crashes or you lose internet connection, you’ll have to resort to a traditional phone device. There are softphone apps that use a smart device as the telephone, but constant use (as with any app) can run down a device’s battery quickly.
What is VoIP?
VoIP technology is required for softphones. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. Technology like email and instant messaging help revolutionize internet communication and pave the way for VoIP technology. Initially developed around 1995 by AT&T, VoIP was created to avoid the expenses surrounding long distance and international calling.
VoIP technology works by essentially breaking voice information down into small pieces of data to transmit them to the final destination. There, they are reassembled into the phone calls we hear. Once developed, Skype became the VoIP king of sorts, allowing users to call others in real time with voice and image technology.
The success of VoIP, Skype, and similar technology and products paved the way for the softphones we use today in business and at home. Softphones allow computers or smart devices to function as telephones.
How do softphones work with call tracking software?
CallRail’s Softphone technology integrates with our call tracking and analytics platform to provide SDRs and AEs with actionable data. Your agents can know the marketing source and location of the caller before they pick up the softphone. The softphone with CallRail also allows for real-time call monitoring for training and quality assurance. Users can take notes and add tags while on the call to give sales and marketing the information they need to do their jobs better.