What is a Softphone?
A softphone (soft.ware phone) is the software based equivalent to a business desk phone or personal smartphone. A softphone, short for ‘software telephone’ is an application program residing on a PC or laptop, or even as a mobile app on smartphones that enables voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone calls from these computing devices. Most hosted VoIP phone systems nowadays will offer all three options as part of a single user licence enabling users to make and receive calls as an extension, anywhere, anytime. This opens up many permutations for remote and flexible working.
Softphones, also known as a VoIP Soft Client, can be divided into two main categories:
- Softphones for PC’s or laptops, with USB or Bluetooth headsets
- Softphones as apps on mobile devices. i.e. smartphones and tablets
Softphones are ideal for business travellers, remote workers or home workers who need access to their office business phone system from locations where they have their mobile, laptop, tablet, and access to reliable data via Fibre broadband, 3G/4G/5G, WiFI or fibre broadband services.
Key VoIP Softphone Features
When using a VoIP softphone users will have access to many options when it comes to hosted telephony features and functions. With an intuitive interface to the many inclusive call settings, all users, with the correct permissions, can individually customise it to fit their specific business needs. Most soft phones come with all standard business telephony features like transfer, mute, DND (do not disturb), hold, conferencing, voicemail and call forwarding as well as instant messaging and presence, along with full contact lists.
VoIP softphones are designed to be intuitive and to resemble an actual phone handset. Complete call history is available reflecting, missed calls, placed calls and answered calls making for ease of returning calls.
Other key benefits of softphones are all the additional features that users have access to. Hosted telephony software has capabilities like the transcription of voicemails, call recording on demand, and the creation of statistical reports, and monitoring of call queues.
Sending and managing calls through a pop up client instead of the full browser tab. Click to dial functionality to easily start voice calls from phone numbers found on websites or CRM systems add to the unified communications experience.
Who Can Benefit From using VoIP Softphones?
Softphones can be used by anybody with a computer or mobile by downloading an app. Employees can seamlessly migrate an ongoing call to their desk phone, computer, or mobile device. There are many types of users who can benefit from the features of a VoIP softphone:
- Heavy travellers
- Remote workers
- Call centre employees
- Home workers
- Distributed offices
- Temporary workers
Effectively a softphone app is a multimedia IP phone that is installed on a personal computer, mobile phone or laptop and delivers high quality voice via a USB or Bluetooth connected headset.
Take Your Deskphone With You
Available as an app on your mobile smartphone or computer, softphones can be used as your main phone or as an extension of your desk phone. Some businesses use USB headsets plugged into their computers to minimise their desktop clutter. Others companies use a blended approach with traditional desktop phones in the office and soft phones for the remote workers. Some use the combination of three, desktop phone, desktop app with headset, and mobile app. Newer IP office phones have USB connectivity, cutting down on headset bottom cable combinations.
Designed to meet the flexibility needs of any employee, the users extension can be used as a primary desktop telephone, a supplemental desktop telephone or a remote/telecommuting device, or any combination of the three.
Remote employees on Mobile Apps or Softphones
Today’s modern workforce requires and expects flexibility. Softphones have enabled companies to connect their remote employees in ways they have never before. Remote workers can now communicate with coworkers and the management team as if they are physically in the office.
With ‘presence’ functionality the ability to view the status of remote workers and know if they are available, out to lunch, or in a meeting, or on vacation makes for greater efficiency. Remote employees can reach customers, as if they are in the office, and respond to them more efficiently, which leads to a better external image for the entire business.
Cloud based hosted solutions are not location dependent. Employees of businesses that have a virtual hosted phone system can work from any location as long as they have reliable internet connectivity, through fibre, 4G or WiFi. Cloud hosted VoIP systems have opened up new flexible working options, with soft phones playing a significant role for remote working. Companies are saving on overhead costs by operating a completely remote workforce, and finding the dependence on office space is reduced. VoIP soft phones create new opportunities for businesses as they address the new world of remote working post Covid.
Integration with the desktop soft phone
Increasingly, soft phone products are able to integrate with other systems and applications in ways that traditional phone solutions could not. Integration between CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools such as Salesforce, Soho, Hubspot & Bullhorn and Voip phone systems are commonplace, and make for improved productivity when using softphone apps. All incoming and outgoing calls with customers are logged and documented automatically. Individually personalised call handling & settings with the softphone further enhance the user experience.
Accessing call recordings is much easier with cloud based hosted telephony solutions. Links to an online encrypted audio file is automatically created after each call and can be stored or shared easily. This can be used for quality assurance or training and coaching purposes.
Which soft phone is compatible with my service?
Hosted PBX providers generally have their own version of soft phone which works seamlessly with their service. This is also the case with many modern on premise IP PBX systems. However, for those services or systems that do not have a softphone option available, a third party app may be the best option. such as Bria and Zoiper.
Benefits of softphone apps
Softphone apps offer many benefits, especially nowadays as business owners have increasingly high expectations for phone systems and they require flexible, reliable solutions that allow their workers to be available by phone at all times, irrespective of location. Some of the benefits business owners are realising with a unified communications approach including VOIP soft phones and mobile apps for their employees are:
- Softphones are readily accessible and can be set up in minutes
- Provide maximum portability
- Ideal choice for remote members of staff
- Varied choice of audio accessories, eg Bluetooth or USB headsets
- Less desk space clutter
- Never have to give out mobile phone number, so BYOD opportunities
- Easy integration, ease of use, easy upgrades
- They not subject to wear and tear, or collect dust
- Employee presence, visible to all
Softphones bridge the gap between the office desktop environment, home and travel increasing flexibility without sacrificing quality and features.
Why and when should I use a softphone?
Softphones give you maximum portability. As long as you have an internet connection over 3G/4G/5G, Wifi or fibre broadband, you’ll be able to make and take calls anywhere in the world with just your laptop or smart phone device. This gives you the flexibility to answer calls on the go, or when working from home, without the need to bring a desk phone with you.
VoIP softphones connect your employees – wherever they are
With softphones, it becomes much easier for colleagues on the move to stay connected. They can communicate with their team members and clients using the same phone number as if they were in the office, thus providing a seamless internal communication as well customer experience. Presence features, in real time, a key feature of unified communications systems shows whether colleagues are available or not available through presence e.g Busy, Do Not Disturb, Away, Offline and more.
A softphone also has a range of telephony features within one app view. With an excellent overview of your colleagues, you can contact them easily through chat, and get a notification when your fellow workers are available, or not, as the case may be. Enabling you so that you can guide your customers and provide them with the right answers.
A Unified Communication soft phone experience
Using a softphone means that there’s just one number for your business contacts to call and keep track of. This makes it easier to get in touch with you wherever you are, thus minimising frustration in the communication process. There is no need to give out your mobile number as the mobile softphone app uses the 3g/4G/5G network for data connectivity.
A soft phone is as much a key tool for your customers as for the business or the employee. One number across the desktop phone, laptop and mobile app delivers a seamless experience for all. Your customers deserve fast and reliable answers, and business owners desire a seamless experience when customers are contacting them. A VoIP phone system with softphones and mobile apps delivers many positive experiences including saving time and increasing customer satisfaction.
Contact Juno Telecoms to discuss your migration from previously less flexible office phone systems, and separate mobile phone estate, to a unified communications solution, that delivers key remote working, and cost effective flexible working solutions across office phones, desktops and mobile devices. We have years of experience in the industry and have become one of the leading softphone providers in the UK. If you’re looking for a soft phone deployment to address your flexible working requirements, be sure to get in touch with Juno Telecoms today.
Is a softphone different from VoIP?
No, to clarify, VoIP is the service that enables the making and receiving of calls, and the softphone is the software that provides a user-friendly interface on your smart device or PC.
What is the difference between a softphone and a IP phone?
An IP phone is a phone handset with VoIP software built into it. As such, an IP phone is similar to a traditional phone, but its VoIP ready. A softphone on the other hand is the VoIP software that is installed on any internet connected device, such as a laptop, PC or mobile smartphone.
What is a softphone headset?
Normally a USB softphone headset which will connect to your laptop or desktop computer that is running the VoIP soft client and will be able to accept incoming calls, and to make outgoing calls.This leaves the employee with hands free, to work on other desk based tasks.
How much do VoIP softphones cost with Juno Telecoms?
Our VoIP soft phone solution prices vary, it all depends on the type of usage that you need. At Juno Telecoms we have a range of VoIP business deals and packages available for you to choose from.
How do you install a softphone?
Soft clients are usually very easy to install. After downloading the software, it’s usually a case of logging with your unique user login details, then following the instructions and choosing the correct options for compatibility with your USB headsets and then you are live and ready to make calls.