What is a softphone?

What is a softphone?

A softphone is software that allows users to make phone calls over the internet from any device as long as it has a speaker and mic. Computers, tablets, and mobile devices are all commonly paired with softphone technology. Softphones connect to Voice over IP (VoIP) systems.

A softphone allows users to make telephone calls without needing to find a 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.

Benefits of using softphones

Businesses can enjoy several benefits from softphone software compared with traditional telephone systems. Using softphones allows businesses to:

  • Save money over "hard phone" (standard physical desk phone) systems
  • Simplify call routing and call forwarding
  • Monitor calls in real time
  • Record and transcribe calls
  • Integrate phone systems with customer relationship management (CRM) platforms
  • Allow employees to access softphone system from anywhere through a softphone app

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.

What businesses benefit from using softphone technology?

Softphone technology can benefit a wide range of businesses, from single-owner small businesses to global enterprises with expansive call centers. Any organization that handles calls can benefit from the accessibility, flexibility, and capabilities of these systems.

Entrepreneurs

Investing in a softphone system can empower small business owners to scale their ventures without large capital investments in expenses like office space. Small business owners can take calls from anywhere on a dedicated business number.

Softphone also opens up the option to hire employees who can work remotely.

Home services providers

Companies that provide home services like pest control, lawn care, or house cleaning are well-suited for softphone systems. These businesses often have employees deployed all over their local areas.

Often, no one is in the office to take phone calls as they come in. Softphone software can instantly forward calls to mobile phones, ensuring that the company won't miss out on leads. The technology also allows each employee to have a dedicated business line instead of answering calls on their personal phone numbers.

Healthcare providers

Softphone gives healthcare providers remote capabilities, which is beneficial to healthcare professionals who work as home health aides and other positions outside a medical facility.

Some softphone companies also offer services like HIPAA compliance tools. These features can help healthcare providers maintain their legal obligations around patient privacy.

Sales-based businesses

Today's sales and marketing teams are increasingly driven by data insights into customer behavior. Softphone technology can automatically collect and categorize call data as it comes into the desktop softphone system, providing these teams with information about call types, customer satisfaction, and other key metrics.

Midsize and large companies

The cost savings of switching from an interconnected, wired, traditional phone system to softphone is one reason larger companies are making the switch.

Many companies discovered unexpected benefits of cloud-based phone systems during the shutdowns created during the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. Employees were able to work from home and continue performing phone-related tasks because of the built-in remote capabilities and unified communication of softphone.

For some businesses, the move to digital telecom services may be inevitable. In many parts of the world, copper landlines are fading into history as they are taken out of commission by local phone companies and replaced by optical fiber.

At this point, 20 states have allowed AT&T to stop servicing copper landlines. This move paves the way for telecom companies to develop VoIP phone systems and other modern communications tech.

Call centers

Call centers are investing resources in softphone systems for several reasons. Customers feel more engaged with companies and satisfied with service when they can reach agents quickly and have their needs taken care of efficiently. Call center agents using a softphone system can simply click over to other systems like the company's CRM to find answers and solutions for callers.

Softphone technology enables companies to offer global, 24-hour call services without investing in real estate and infrastructure. Agents can work from home connected to their own computers thanks to the cloud-based nature of softphone.

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.

How do softphones work with call tracking software?

CallRail’s Lead Center provides softphone technology that 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.

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