What Is a Softphone: How It Works & Why You Should Use One
By Silvana Lucido-Balestrieri
| 25. June 2024 |
Call Center
By S. Lucido-BalestrieriSilvana Lucido-Balestrieri
| 25 Jun 2024 |
Call Center
    By S. Lucido-BalestrieriSilvana Lucido-Balestrieri
    | 25 Jun 2024
    Call Center

    What Is a Softphone: How It Works & Why You Should Use One

    Remote work is here to stay. In fact, it has grown globally by 21% from 2015.

    Since traditional landlines mostly limit you to the office, the modern workforce has started to look for an alternative. That’s where softphones come into play.

    In this article, we cover everything you need to know about softphones: what they are, their benefits, key features, and how to choose the right provider.

    Key takeaways:

    • A softphone is an application that allows you to make and receive phone calls over the Internet using devices like smartphones and laptops.
    • Softphones offer cost savings, flexibility for remote work, advanced features like voicemail transcription and CRM integration, and easy scalability without additional hardware.
    • Implementing best practices, such as using high-quality headphones and ensuring a reliable Internet connection, can help you achieve optimal call quality and streamlined operations.

    What Is a Softphone?

    A softphone is an app that lets you make and receive calls on any Internet-connected device, including smartphones and laptops.

    ​​Unlike a traditional hard phone, it doesn’t need special equipment like a dedicated phone or a SIM card. Instead, it just needs a good Internet connection.

    This way, employees can make and receive calls on the company’s number no matter where they are, promoting remote work.

    YouTube video

    How Does The Softphone Work?

    A softphone is an application or software that uses VoIP technology to make and receive calls from a computer or mobile device. Essentially, it’s a virtual phone that operates using VoIP.

    It works like this: The device picks up your voice, divides it into small parts, and transforms it into binary codes using codec software.

    Then, it sends the packaged data across the Internet to the recipient’s device, unpacks it, and transforms it into audible sound again.

    Differences Between Hardphones and Softphones

    The main difference between hardphones and softphones is that hardphones rely on physical devices or hardware, while softphones work thanks to an app installed on your computer or smartphone.

    However, they both need the Internet and use VoIP to work.

    But apart from that, what are their differences? Let’s explore them in detail.


    • Hardphones typically have fixed features that can only be modified by altering the physical device.
    • Softphones can often be easily updated or upgraded through software or configuration changes.


    • When we talk about hardphones, we’re referring to traditional desk phones or office phones that are typically fixed in one location, such as an office desk, and cannot be easily moved around.
    • On the other hand, softphones offer high mobility because they can be installed and used on smartphones, laptops, and other portable devices. This means that users can make and receive calls from anywhere with an internet connection, whether in the office, at home, or on the go.


    • Hardphones are more expensive because they involve installing physical hardware.
    • However, softphones are cost-efficient because they don’t require any new hardware installation. Costing in this case only covers licensing and service fees.


    • Setting up hardphones requires physical installation, involving tasks such as laying cables and configuring hardware.
    • In contrast, setting up softphones is simple and requires minimal technical know-how, usually just downloading an app or software.


    • Hardphones have limited scalability, requiring the purchase and hardware installation when adding new phones or lines.
    • However, softphones are highly scalable, as users can add phone lines and more phone numbers just by requesting them from the app.






    More advanced.



    Easy setup

    High scalability

    Why Should You Use a Softphone?

    If you haven’t started making calls with a softphone yet, here are 5 compelling benefits to convince you:

    #1 Work From Anywhere

    You aren’t tied to the office since you don’t need physical equipment to make calls. As long as you have a device with the installed application and an internet connection, you can make and receive calls everywhere.

    Therefore, it’s ideal if your team works remotely or in a hybrid model.

    #2 Save Money and Time

    Expenses are reduced as you don’t need to continuously buy, install, and maintain hardware. In fact, by switching to softphones, companies can save up to 50%.

    As a result, you also save the time you would spend buying and setting up the equipment.

    In addition, installing softphones is seamless. Engineers don’t need to come onsite and disrupt operations.

    Furthermore, softphones work with key business tools like CRM, letting you access important customer data without wasting time switching between apps.

    #3 Boost Efficiency

    Softphones offer features like Click-to-Call and Power Dialers for fast call handling. They automatically retrieve numbers from web pages, allowing agents to focus on delivering great customer service instead of searching for information.

    Moreover, softphones are flexible and easily scalable to meet business needs, whether adding more seats or upgrading capabilities. Automated Call Recording and Call Transcription features help teams enhance their performance as they grow.

    #4 Simplify Your Team’s Communication

    Softphone systems allow you to centralize communication without using different devices for each function. For example, you can record an audio, or even write text messages from your computer without wasting time switching between devices.

    Furthermore, you can integrate them with your CRM applications like Hubspot or Pipedrive to have all your call data, customers, and potential clients in one place.

    #5 Make Smarter Decisions

    Softphones use Artificial Intelligence, allowing you to identify trends in customer topics, create automatic call summaries, and even analyze how customers felt during the call.

    This way, you automatically have access to very valuable data, allowing you to make data-driven decisions rather than intuition.

    Best Practices for Using a Softphone

    Now that you know the benefits of softphones, it’s time to maximize their potential. Here are key tips to improve your communication experience.

    #1 Use high-quality headphones with a microphone

    For a great softphone experience, consider these headphone types:

    • USB headphones: They offer reliable connections and are compatible with most softphones. They also feature noise cancellation and high-quality audio.
    • Mono headphones: They are perfect for multitasking, allowing communication with colleagues while on calls by keeping one ear free..
    • Stereo headphones: They provide better sound quality, ideal for focusing on single clients without needing to communicate with colleagues.

    #2 Ensure a stable internet connection

    Since softphones depend on an internet connection to make and receive calls, it is important to have a stable and reliable internet connection.

    To do this, ensure you have a reliable internet service provider with sufficient bandwidth.

    For example, CloudTalk uses up to 100 kbps per call, and it’s recommended that each person have at least 1 Mbps download and upload speed, ideally 5 Mbps.

    #3 Customize your softphone features

    This includes personalizing your voicemail, configuring the call flow, and setting your availability statuses (available, busy, away, etc.). 

    This way, you will maximize your softphone’s functionalities and be more productive and efficient.

    #4 Quickly troubleshoot audio issues

    If you experience audio quality issues or interrupted calls, troubleshoot them promptly. Here are some steps to follow:

    • Check your internet connection. For example, you can run speed tests to ensure you meet your VoIP provider’s bandwidth recommendations.
    • Test your network for issues: High latency/jitter or packet loss can cause choppy audio during calls. If you experience these issues, consider router firmware upgrades or contacting your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
    • Enable Quality of Service (QoS) on your router. This will help calls sound smoother.

    8 Must-have Softphone Features

    Softphones offer a range of features that improve your daily work life, allowing you to make calls from various devices using the internet.

    Among all of these, you can’t miss the following features:

    #1 Text Messages

    Did you know that the average open rate of SMS text messaging typically exceeds 90%?

    In addition, sending  SMS to your customers with your softphone lets you communicate with them easily, from their initial inquiries to post-sales support.

    For example, when a customer orders online or by phone, you can send them a text message confirming their order details (product, price, and expected arrival time).

    With the softphone, you don’t need to pick up your mobile phone to send a text message, and you can also use templates and set up automatic follow-ups after a call or after a missed call.

    #2 Extensions

    Extensions let you quickly connect customers or employees to departments, so it’s also a must-have in your softphone.

    Agents don’t need to remember and manually type phone numbers, streamlining the communication process.

    #3 Voicemail

    Make sure that your softphone application has a good Voicemail function.

    For example, Cloudtalk’s voicemail allows you to access voice message transcriptions through the app and choose which ones you want to respond to.

    This way, you don’t have to waste time listening to voicemails one by one and responding to them.

    #4 Integrations

    Connecting it with your tools or CRM helps you centralize all your customer data and automate tasks such as follow-ups.

    This way, your agents respond to and resolve issues faster and are more productive.

    #5 Call Transfers

    Transferring calls lets employees redirect calls quickly to the appropriate person or department.

    This reduces customer wait time and improves the customer experience, so you must have this feature.

    #6 Agent Status

    If you know the status of your agents, you can quickly redirect calls to available agents.

    Moreover, knowing whether your agents are available allows you to distribute tasks fairly, ensuring that no one is overloaded or underutilized.

    #7 Virtual Caller ID

    Caller ID technology allows the recipient to see caller information before answering.

    It allows you to increase response rates by generating a virtual outbound caller ID with a local area code.

    #8 3 Way Calling

    More complex situations may require other colleagues to be present to assist and understand the problem.

    Therefore, 3 Way Calling  is essential. With Cloudtalk, you can even join and leave phone calls silently to assess agent performance.

    How to Choose the Right Softphone Provider for Your Business

    Have you decided to use a softphone for your business? Now it’s time to choose the right softphone provider.

    But with so many options, what can you base your decision on to choose the best one? We give you some advice:

    #1 Check Compatibility With Devices and Tools

    Not every softphone works on every device or operating system, so make sure it’s compatible with your current system (macOS, Windows, iOS, or Android).

    Also, check if it integrates with the tools and CRM you use daily.

    #2 Ensure You Have Enough Phone Lines

    It’s important that the softphone provider offers the phone lines you require and provides flexibility to add or remove lines as your business needs change.

    #3 Look for a Provider With 24/7 Support

    This guarantees that any issues will be promptly resolved, giving you peace of mind without waiting.

    #4 Security

    Since softphones operate over the Internet, they are susceptible to security risks such as phishing or malware.

    Therefore, verifying what kind of security measures are implemented is essential.

    For example, at Cloudtalk, we offer end-to-end encryption so only the intended recipient can access them. We also take other measures that are compliant with GDPR to protect user data.

    #5 Scalability

    Look for a softphone provider that can scale with your business as it grows. Ensure the provider offers flexible pricing plans and can easily add or remove users.

    #6 Reporting and Analytics

    Choose a softphone provider that offers robust reporting and analytics capabilities. This lets you track key metrics like call volume, duration, and missed calls to optimize your communication strategy.


    In summary, as remote work becomes more popular, there’s a growing need for flexible communication tools. 

    And this is where softphones come into play. They are a budget-friendly and adaptable option compared to traditional phones, empowering employees to work from any location with internet access.

    Ready to upgrade your phone system? Handle high call volumes effortlessly and provide top-notch customer service with Cloudtalk. 

    Switch to Cloudtalk’s softphone solution today.


    How much does a softphone cost?

    The cost of a softphone varies depending on the provider and the features included. At Cloudtalk, we offer affordable pricing plans for our softphone application while delivering high-quality solutions. Our plans start at $25 per user/month, billed annually.

    Is a softphone the same as VoIP?

    No, a softphone isn’t exactly like VoIP. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) lets you make and receive calls over the Internet. Meanwhile, a softphone app lets you use VoIP on computers, phones, or tablets. In essence, VoIP is the tech behind internet calls, and a softphone is the app that is used for talking.

    What are the disadvantages of a softphone?

    The cons of softphones include:
    Reliable Internet connection requirement: Softphones may not work well or at all without a good internet connection.
    Device dependence: To optimize softphone performance, it is crucial to ensure that employees’ devices are up to date and working properly.
    Power Dependency: Softphone software can drain the battery of mobile devices, requiring frequent charging.

    How do I get a softphone number?

    Follow these 6 simple steps to get your softphone number easily:

    – Understand your business priorities and select features based on criteria such as price, security, reliability, and quality of service.
    – Select the best provider for your business needs; CloudTalk offers 4 plans — Starter, Essential, Expert, and Custom. 
    – Get your softphone number. You can choose a local, toll-free, or international number when getting your number, or even transfer your existing phone number. 
    – Get started by setting up your voice-over IP phone number and configuring VoIP devices for seamless call-making and receiving. 
    – Deploy the necessary software on your devices or set up VoIP-enabled phones based on your intended usage.
    – Conduct thorough testing of your VoIP number to ensure its functionality and place a few test calls to assess sound quality.