What is a Softphone?
Softphone is a software program on a personal computer or mobile device used for making voice calls over VOIP instead of using a handset.
Once a softphone application has been downloaded and installed on your smartphone or desktop, the screen will have a phone dialing pad that will look like a normal dialing pad of a hardwired telephone. Business users can place a call anywhere there is internet access, increasing mobility and productivity for in-house and remote employees.
How Does a Softphone Work?
Softphones function in the same way a typical smartphone does. Once you launch the program, use the virtual dial pad to dial a mobile number. You can also choose someone from your cell phone or computer’s list of contacts, then await connection.
VoIP telephone systems convey voice data to receivers through the internet. They use a codec, a software program that divides sound data into chunks and converts it to binary code. This code moves from one computer to another and are “decrypted” at the receiver’s end.
Following are the pre-requisites to make telephone calls over the internet:
- VoIP headphones
- A desktop, personal computer, and cellphone
- Internet connectivity
- VoIP Service like Skype, RingCentral etc.
Softphone applications are not limited to personal computers. You can download the programs on mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. Requirements will vary between hardware, but all of them require access to the internet.
How to use a SoftPhone?
Here are important steps that helps you to learn how to use Softphones:
Step 1) Download the Softphone Software
First, download and install the VoIP application from your business computer or mobile device. Once you complete the setup procedure and configure your device settings, the app will be ready to use in a few minutes.
Step 2) Ensure Your Internet is Stable
An unstable internet connection (DSL or cable service) can frustrate you when making or receiving VoIP calls. So, you need to ensure that you’re connected to a stable internet to prevent you from experiencing disjointed or dropped calls.
You can change your router’s quality of service to favor voice packets against less time-sensitive data. Most VoIP softphone providers can accomplish this virtually for you.
Step 3) Complete all technical requirements
There are a few more technical requirements that you have to fulfill.
- A minimum of one codec should be standard among both ends
- Softphones only interact with other devices that use similar VoIP protocol
- Softphones not only operate on desktops and smartphones but may work with a variety of platforms.
Softphone software provides a relatively simple user experience. It allows for phone calls to be transferred, held, and voicemail messages can be managed quickly.
Features of the Softphone
Here are important features of a Softphone:
- Shared Contact Lists: These lists share your connections with your colleagues or join a business contact database.
- Less Equipment: Softphones need far less hardware than traditional desk phones.
- No Dedicated Line: A significant expense reduction for your company is the absence of a dedicated line.
- Contact Directory: You should be able to see a contacts list on your Softphone.
- Extension Dialing: Company softphones are useful as desk telephones, so they should be able to connect to colleagues via extension dialing, particularly for teleconferences.
- Superior Call Quality: With more bandwidth priority and enhanced router technology, unintelligible speech and audio delays are non-issues, and you can enjoy superior call quality.
- Instant Messaging: You can use instant chatting via a softphone to coordinate faster and answer problems swiftly while significantly decreasing being accessible all the time.
- Video Calls: Video calls allow you to engage with your crew. To boost cooperation, team members can use tools like virtual whiteboarding, screen sharing, remote screen control, etc.
- Call Hold and Caller ID: Whenever an agent receives an incoming call while currently on the phone with anyone else, the call waiting feature alerts them.
- Volume Control & Mute: A softphone is good for taking calls when you’re not at a convenient place. You can mute and adjust the volume.
- Three-Way Conferencing: You can have a three-way conference call with two extra contacts while utilizing a softphone.
How Do You Set Up a Softphone?
Setting up a company’s hardwired phone network may be a time-consuming and overly tricky task. You may find the installation complicated and need experts to access your workplace. It may prevent your team from calling throughout a lengthy, disruptive installation procedure.
However, you’ll have a smooth experience while using a softphone system, as the setup on your team’s phone or PC can happen in minutes.
Here are steps to step up the Softphone:
Step 1) Follow the setup instructions with your IT team, then download the softphone provider file.
Step 2) Start the installation process by selecting the file icon.
Step 3) Finish activating the program by tapping the softphone to provide the symbol twice.
Setting up your Softphone and its associated features quickly can sound tricky, but after three simple steps, you’ll be able to offer a top-tier user experience.
Important Characteristics of Softphone
Here are some important characteristics of a Softphone
- Presence: Softphones reveal if a team is offline, online, in a meeting, or busy. You can call them once you know their availability times or move to a more appropriate channel, such as instant messenger.
- Portability: Remote employees, in-house office staff, and frequent travelers may carry their company cell phones everywhere. Employees don’t have to remain at their workstations to answer phone calls. They can make and receive calls from anywhere as if they were sitting at a desk.
- Privacy: Suppose you want to keep your details private you may use softphone software to respond to work calls from your smartphone, but leave your details and contacts separate. With a softphone, your entire organization communicates via a private connection.
- Efficiency: Softphones will help you use several features, including visual voicemails, drag-and-drop call switches, incoming call notifications, and voicemail-to-email setup, via the user interface (UI).
- Connectivity: The ability to carry your Softphone anywhere is a significant advantage. You can install your application on a new PC and include it on multiple mobile devices. The best part of it is that you need to be concerned about the expense of transferring and replacing equipment.
Benefits and Drawbacks Softphone
Here are the pros/advantages of using a softphone:
- Calls can be made or taken from anywhere
- Employees can hide phone numbers and personal information
- Offers additional features like voice-to-email calling
- You can download it onto multiple devices
- It shows the availability of the team and whether calling them the most time-efficient method
Here are the disadvantages/cons of using a softphone:
- The quality of your internet connection affects making and receiving calls.
- You can incur extra upfront costs depending on your VOIP provider.
- Mastering how a softphone works may require a lot of time.
Softphones vs. Desk Phones
You could be undecided on whether to go for a traditional phone or a softphone. Here are the comparisons to help you choose:
- Substantial upfront costs: Traditional phones require expensive handsets, fees to establish phone lines, and possibly some rewiring in the building to accommodate the system. These initial expenses do not consider the amount you’ll have to spend to sustain or substitute them over time.
- Limited base features and functionality: A traditional landline only handles audio calls and requires an upgrade for conference calls.
- Unified communications: Having a single phone system for all your personnel is beneficial. It not only improves how the team interacts with one another, but it also makes speaking with your customers easier.
- Provides limited information about callers because you can only see the basic caller ID.
- Low upfront costs: Softphones only require headsets for all users, and it comes with conferencing and video features at no additional expense. Moreover, you don’t have to purchase additional software because softphones are compatible with existing CRMs.
- Extensive base features: Softphones still include sharing instant messages during critical calls, scheduling teleconferences quickly, and voicemail-to-email possibilities offer a new realm of connectivity that rooted phones cannot match.
- Remote capabilities: Softphones might be helpful if you’ve staff who work remotely. Your team may activate call forwarding to their smartphone, access the softphone app from any part of the globe, and modify settings by just pressing a button. With the ability to call from anywhere, even remote team members will attend conference calls.
- Provides useful information: It provide important information about callers, including data on previous calls.
What’s the Difference Between VoIP and Softphones?
Here are some major differences between VOIP and Softphones:
- VoIP allows a physical IP phone to operate and connect to a network.
- A softphone is a software program that provides the usual telephone experience using your smartphone, handheld device, or personal computer.
- A Physical VoIP phone plugs into an Ethernet port and requires a physical handset.
- Softphones are cheap to use, and any team member can access them without needing to be physically there.
How To Select the Right Softphone Provider for Your Business
Here are important things to remember while selecting the right Softphone provider for your business:
- Integrated Mobile Applications: A softphone should be based on an integrated, user-friendly softphone program. It should include communication routes, such as calling, video meetings, and instant messaging. It will allow you to keep connected with coworkers.
- Sufficient Phone Lines: Determine how many telephone lines your company will want and also ensure that the softphone supplier you pick can deliver that number of lines.
- Determine The Adaptability: A softphone should be able to offer personalized contact information and adapt to the culture of the business it’s working in. Adaptations include being able to operate under pressure and during peak times.
- Operating System Compatibility: Not all softphones work with every operating system (OS), and you must select a softphone compatible with your current OS. (Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
- VoIP Protocol Compatibility: Check that your softphone uses the exact protocol as your preferred VoIP service. Protocols determine how data is handled and moved over any network. So, verifying that the new softphone will meet VOIP compliance is essential.
- 24/7 Troubleshooting:You should also make sure that your preferred supplier provides adequate technical help. You’ll want to make sure that someone will be there to guide you, no matter what happens.
- Security: It’s critical to investigate the security precautions used by each particular supplier. Even if there are attacks, the security threat is not any bigger than download managers, instant messaging, or internet explorers. Certain softphones are prone to hacking. Ignoring the Softphone’s security mechanisms can lead to frustrations later. Find out what security measures the softphone supplier has implemented. The result can be a significant exposure of your sensitive data, resulting in massive losses.
- Pricing Structure and Payment Options:Softphones are inexpensive. Every supplier offers different pricing plans and payment choices. Research and evaluate the rates of various suppliers and their services and features. You should consider the pricing levels for the number of connections and if there are upper limits to the number of minutes the business can use. You should ask for a testing period in the contract and check if the service meets your expectations.
- Local and International Coverage:To keep in touch with your consumers, getting your phone numbers and Softphone in one location and from a single service supplier is advantageous. It could help save time and money spent on two separate suppliers and systems.
- A softphone is a software program that runs like a traditional phone on a personal computer, tablet, or smartphone.
- It offers integrated features like instant messaging, caller ID, conference calling, and shared contact lists.
- Businesses may prefer a softphone over a desk phone for remote workers to reduce initial setup costs.
- You should opt for a softphone software provider that offers a trial period.