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Softphones

Why the Softphone is a Popular Alternative to Traditional Handsets

Voice over IP (VoIP) technology has opened up many opportunities for businesses, allowing for affordable teleconferencing, chat, SMS, and phone calls over the same lines that power their internet services. While this functionality can be enjoyed through a desk set, many businesses are choosing softphones, which allow access to make phone calls using a computer or smartphone.

While the technology may be slightly different, it offers users the same features enjoyed with a traditional desk phone. Here are some features softphones offer:

  • Desk phones available - In addition to using a PC or mobile device to make and receive calls, users can access desk phones to make calls while in the office.
  • Call recording - Calls can be easily recorded using a softphone.
  • Call reports - With regular reporting available, users can gain insight into the calls being received and made each month.

Benefits of Softphones

While a softphone offers many of the same features as a traditional phone, it also has several benefits that make it a better choice for some businesses. Those benefits include:

  • Affordability - One of the biggest benefits of softphones is cost. The technology can often be accessed at a fraction of the cost of traditional phones.
  • One number forever - Instead of changing phone numbers every time an employee moves, softphones stay with the user.
  • Free long distance calls - Traditional phones still come with long-distance charges. Softphones eliminate this cost, saving businesses money.
  • Quick installation - Softphones feature plug-and-play functionality, allowing employees to access phone services using software installed on a PC and a headset plugged into a USB port.

Providers

Businesses have numerous options when choosing softphone service providers, including:

  • ZoiPer - Once installed, ZoiPer’s software scans a user’s PC for contacts and pulls those in, using them to display user IDs when someone calls. Prices start at £25.
  • CounterPath - Clients are available for PCs, smartphones, and tablets. Customers are welcome to try a light version of the client for free.
  • 3CXPhone - This free softphone client works on both a user’s PC or smartphone. From a smartphone or PC, a user can set his status to available, away, and out of office.
  • ShoretelSky - In addition to offering a full suite of phone options, ShortelSky can also connect with Contact Center agents, Salesforce.com, or a company’s CRM.
  • Cisco IP Communicator - Calls can be made via a PC or iOS device with a full suite of features including call waiting, call forwarding, and call park.

Requirements

For best results, businesses should have reliable, fast internet connectivity in the office. While many softphone clients are designed for PCs, some are available for Mac as well, including 3CXPhone. Many softphone providers also provide services for iOS and Android devices, including smartphones and tablets.

Business Use

Businesses of all sizes are making the move to softphones as they realise the considerable cost savings available through the technology. Bosch turned to CounterPath as a solution for its 30,000 employees, choosing a softphone plan that offered voice and video calling, messing, and presence. Novo Nordisk, a multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Denmark, upgraded its entire telephony system to Cisco’s softphone solution. In doing so, the company has gained a more flexible solution and reduced its reliance on costly mobile phones.

Whether small or large, the business benefits of softphones make it a popular choice for businesses in all industries, of all sizes. As businesses set up new phone systems or upgrade existing ones, softphones are increasingly becoming the best choice for affordability and range of features.

Softphones have given businesses the option of deploying full-featured phone systems without the cost. Phone numbers remain the same even when an employee changes locations and the ability to take calls from home or while travelling makes it even more attractive.