A softphone is a piece of software that allows users to make telephone calls over the internet via a computer or smartphone. It has all the features of a desk phone and typically expands the range of services you can access on a desk phone. Most importantly, a softphone allows you to take your work phone with you wherever you go. It can be installed on a laptop, tablet or smartphone which allows you to make (and receive) calls from your work phone number on your personal mobile, without using any personal mobile minutes.
How to Use a Softphone?
A softphone not only mimics the features of a desk phone, but it also brings a wealth of additional functionality, with the features you’re familiar with – transferring calls, hold, multiple lines and voicemail. It also comes with powerful new additions like presence, transferring calls to a colleague who might be in a different city or at home and notifications about incoming calls with rich information about the caller. You can also access a shared contact directory, keeping your personal contacts personal, but can share your corporate directory right in your softphone.
One of the core advantages of a softphone is portability. You can run a softphone on your desktop, smartphone and tablet and can enable setup rules that ring your desktop or your smartphone as per your schedule. For instance, you want your morning calls at your desk computer but during afternoon or over lunch, calls can come directly to your smartphone. This flexibility means that you can work from home or while travelling with all the powerful tools you have at your desktop. You can stay in touch while in a meeting and know what calls and messages are coming through with a quick glance to your smartphone. If there’s an important client call you’re waiting for, you won’t be stuck at your desk waiting on your phone to ring. Softphone can be a tool to empower your mobile workforce, as it allows you to take your workplace with you wherever you go.
If you have staff that travels, works from home or works from remote locations, the ability to take your work phone with you is a powerful advantage.
Softphones for Business
A key advantage of a softphone system is that you can keep your team’s mobile phone numbers private. Your team will no longer have to share their personal mobile phone numbers and use up their data minutes for work. They can install the softphone software on their smartphones to receive and place calls. They can also control their availability with settings to identify when it’s time to focus on family or personal time. When they set their status to away, the work phone won’t ring, but will go directly to voicemail, or be routed to another available individual. Using a softphone, your team can also place outgoing calls from their smartphone that display to your clients and partners as though they are coming from a work phone. So that your team not only leverages the convenience of their device or smartphone of choice, but also avails the security and professionalism of a work number.
Keeping Mobile Phones Private (Tracking and Compliance)
Another key feature of softphones is that they are typically provisioned by a central cloud based server system. As an employer, you can track calls and manage team communications from a single dashboard. If you’re bound by compliance to log when calls are made and how frequently, this can be easily done. This is because it takes away the rigorous manual data inputs that you’ll need your team to fill out. Instead these details can be tracked from the management dashboard. You can automatically log when calls are placed, track duration, numbers called and get enhanced statistics. Moreover, if you have a team member on a vacation or sick leave, or a situation that demands role change, you can capture all the incoming calls to their number and direct them to another team member who’s available for the task. This way you won’t have angry customers leaving repeated messages on the mobile phone of a team member who is enjoying some well deserved beach time or recovering from illness.
Softphone Installation (What you need)
The core requirements for a softphone to work are:
- A PC or laptop with microphone and speakers, or a headset. You can also use a modern smartphone or tablet.
- You’ll need a strong bandwidth or internet connection.
- You’ll also need to setup an account with a service provider like VTSL and download an app or software programme that enables your softphone.
Why You Need a Softphone
There are a number of features that a softphone provides that have a significant advantage over a desk phone.
Shared contact lists
You can subscribe to a company contact list, or share your contacts with coworkers. If you’ve ever tried to find the mobile phone number for a client that you know your colleague has, this is a tremendously useful feature.
Most softphone systems show when your team is online and offline, as well as when they are busy or in a meeting. Instead of sending a message and waiting for someone to respond – when they’re getting a coffee, away at lunch or in a meeting, you can quickly identify when someone is available or not. In addition, you can see when they’re in a meeting or on a call and reach out through instant message to see if they can respond to a quick request. Presence empowers you to make good communication decisions when reaching out to your team, thus boosting productivity.
There are many ways to send a text message, but centralising communication into one stream that is managed through your soft phone means it’s easy to find, search and collaborate. If you’ve ever browsed through tons of texts, emails and other services to find out the date someone sent you a file or a delivery number — you know they sent it yesterday, but can’t remember how they sent it to you, you’ll love having all your work messages and communication in one place.
Softphones allow you to take your communication with you wherever you go. You can run calls from your laptop, tablet or smartphone. You’re not tethered to your desk, waiting for an important call. You can head to the gym, get lunch or attend an important meeting or step out just when you need to address that important call.
If you’ve run multiple phone lines, ordered desk phone hardware and contacted support teams to get a new phone line installed and a new extension programmed into all your existing phones, the idea of a few clicks in a web interface to add a new phone line will seem like magic. The fact that a new phone line is automatically added to all existing contact lists on your system, with a searchable name will add to the experience. Configurations through a cloud server system can happen anywhere with the right login credentials. You can add or remove lines, update information from wherever you are – no technical team required.
VTSL is a leading cloud communications technology company, providing organisations across the UK and Ireland with the solutions they need to work smarter. From integrated telephony-CRM systems, to softphones, to video conferencing, to fibre connectivity and work-from-home solutions, VTSL is committed to helping companies use technology to get ahead. Find out more about VTSL's award-winning cloud business telephony system, network solutions and software integrations by emailing email@example.com or giving us a call.