Softphone (Soft Client Telephone)

illustration softphone

Make and receive calls seamlessly with Softphone – a software inevitable for every forward-thinking business. Use many features that desk phones lack.

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about this system.

What is a Softphone? 

Simply put, a softphone is a downloadable VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) softwarefrom which you can make and receive calls. It works inside of any device with an internet connection. Such as smartphones, laptops, tablets or office desktop computers.

The softphone interface looks like any other calling dial pads, including that of a smartphone.

Unlike a business desk phone, it requires no hardware. That gives it a strong competitive advantage over traditional desk phones. You are no longer tied up to your table, which gives you freedom to serve customers from wherever. It’s a huge plus, since Forbes predicts that the work market will be 50% remote in the near future. 

Further, it’s important to know that a softphone is not a standalone product. It is a component of complex VoIP telephony systems such as CloudTalk, with countless useful features.

Important

Don’t mistake a softphone with an internet phone that can be used solely in web browsers. These are two different tools.  

screenshot dialer softphone

How Does a Softphone Work?

All the features of Softphone are accumulated in a single VoIP software. We already mentioned that it allows you to make calls via the internet. 

Here is how: 

A SIP (session Initiation Protocol) client server initiates real-time VoIP sessions that converts analog voice signals into digital ones through internet connection. 

The further usage is fairly simple. As we said, you can call from wherever you are, as long as the place has a stable wireless internet connection. Alternatively, you may use a high-speed broadband connection with router or cable.

Pro tip 

Even a softphone system requires no hardware, if you are in the office or at home, you may benefit from a headset. It ensures you get the best possible sound quality. A headset minimizes the possible ambient noise.

Who Benefits From Softphone

Since it’s much more efficient than a desk phone, a softphone suits businesses that handle a high volume of phone calls and depend on customer interactions. Also, it’s a life saver for those people who need to be available anytime and anywhere. 

Industries that use a softphone the most are IT, real estate, retail, healthcare, telecommunication, manufacturing, education, banking, call center hubs and marketing or PR agencies. 

Here is a summary specific examples of softphone “personas”:

  • Call center employees or sale reps that handle business calls
  • Support agents who solve customer issues
  • Representatives that work from several locations
  • Businesses that depend on long-distance calling
  • Companies that need to record phone calls 

Try the best softphone on the market.

Ultimate Comparison: Softphone Versus Desk Phone

The most obvious difference between a softphone and desk phone is their appearance. A softphone is a computer software while a desk phone is a traditional hardware device. 

Both softphones and desk phones are VoIP communication systems, using the internet to make calls. Yet even though they work on similar principles and essentially serve the same purpose, these two are not necessarily competitors

Many companies use both solutions at once. You can have a few desk phones in the office for interactions that are done solely from one place. For example at the reception desk, in the executive office or in a conference room. 

Softphone systems are a practical tool for employees whose calling processes need to be effective and mobile. With a softphone, they can make and receive calls remotely and use all sorts of additional features. That is why it’s becoming more and more dominant in the business world. 

We came up with a comparison of both softphone and desk phone systems. 

Let’s find out which solution comes out on top: 

Costs

A softphone is undeniably much cheaper than a desk phone. According to “IT World”, using VoIP softphone solutions may result in over 45% lower monthly price than choosing traditional desk phone systems.

Why? Well, to use a desk phone, you have to set up dedicated phone lines and cables, as well as buy VoIP-enabled phones. Not mentioning a need for frequent hardware maintenance. 

A softphone requires no hardware other than the devices you likely already have – phone, laptop, tablet, etc. Not having to install complex infrastructure results in lower costs.

Softphones also provide cheaper international and long distance calls.

Winner: Softphone

Familiarity

There are companies who trust an old solution tested by decades over a modern technology. For businesses that favor tradition, standard desk phones are a more trusted and comfortable choice. 

However, there are softphones that can be integrated with standard office phones. That way, business can blend tradition and innovation. There is no need to rely solely on technology you are not familiar with.

Winner: Desk Phone

Flexibility

Desk phones are everything but flexible. They tie you and your employees to one location. As we mentioned, in some cases, it may not be an issue. Yet on other occasions, this is a huge negative.

Once again, softphones are a huge help if you or your team need to frequently commute or be available for clients 24/7. With this solution, it doesn’t matter where on earth you are. Provided that you have an internet connection, you can attend to your clients anytime.

Winner: Softphone

Guaranteed Call Quality

There is no reason to fear the call quality of softphones, since the vast majority of them offer excellent coverage. For example in CloudTalk, if a call quality falls below a certain level, the software automatically changes the call route in real-time. 

Yet not every solution offers services of the same quality. Also, nothing in the world is perfect.  Therefore, if you have insufficient bandwidth space, a weak internet connection or an overworked system, you may confront connectivity issues. 

While desk phones also rely on internet connection, they have a slight advantage, since there is a dedicated device handling calls. That increases computing power and improves call quality.

Winner: Desk Phone

Business Size

When it comes to business size, desk phones are ideal for multinational enterprises with thousands of employees. These usually have a broader budget that can be used to frequently upgrade and maintain hardware. 

Yet softphones are fitting for businesses of any size. Since it’s cost efficient and comes within plans that broadly vary in prices, you can afford it no matter if you run a start-up or a large corporation. 

For example, CloudTalk plans start at as little as 25 USD.

Winner: Softphone

Features

While desk phones’ basic features may be sufficient for certain businesses, softphones offer a wide range of additional tools that make your job more efficient. 

First, it automates many processes. Further, you can utilize the power of integrations. Most softphone apps integrate with other applications, for example with CRMs. In CloudTalk, we also have an open API. Through this tool, you can connect our VoIP software to other external systems. 

Although desk phones can also be integrated with other apps, you’ll have to build custom integrations to do so. That takes money as well as your time. 

Winner: Softphone

Scaling Your Business Growth

Brief but important: softphones easily scale with any business. For example, you can add new phone numbers much faster than with desk phones. Acquiring a number to a desk phone involves IT team assistance, not mentioning purchasing more phones. That takes time and money. 

Winner: Softphone

Result of comparison evaluation 

The winner is the Softphone by a score of 5 to 2.

Standard Softphone Features

We’ve made it clear by now that softphones have advanced features which desk phones lack. Technology moves rapid steps forward, and so do our expectations. Businesses benefit when everything is on their fingerprint, and it makes perfect sense. Since competition grows, being fast and efficient is a must. 

Let’s take a look at tools beyond mute and hold that will give you a tremendous advantage over competitors. 

Advanced contact features 

If you want to provide first-class customer support, you need to know who your clients are and why they are calling your company. Complete customer interactions history automatically displays previous calls, orders, chats or notes, so agents don’t have to look them up in multiple systems.

Auto dialing

Predictive dialer automatizes dialing processes. It independently dials the next call in line when for available agents.

Smart dialer automatically compiles a list of numbers and lets you call through them with a single click. 
With a power dialer, you easily create campaigns with call scripts or surveys and let your agents focus on the prospects.

Caller ID 

Personalize your communication with clients from the very beginning. You can see the name of the caller, their phone number and much more even before the call connects. 

3 way calling

Sometimes an agent needs that little extra something to successfully provide a solution or close a deal, and oftentimes that extra something is the help of another agent or manager. With 3 way calling, you may easily add a third person to the line when circumstances call for it. 

Conference calling 

You can schedule conference calls easily in a couple of minutes and invite external contacts, e.g. your clients or suppliers.

Call forwarding

Your clients can always reach out to you. Call forwarding allows you to automatically forward incoming calls to external mobile or landline phone numbers. 

Call recording 

This tool allows you to record phone calls for whatever purpose you need. Whether it is training or a quality check.

Call routing 

For example, with skill-based routing, inbound calls can automatically go to a specific agent based on their fit and skills required by the caller. There are also tools like VIP Queues or caller-based routing.

Call tags and notes

Apply customized tags to your contacts. Sort them into categories and quickly find what you’re looking for. You can further add notes during or after your call.

Click to call 

Dial any phone number on the web with a single click. 

Callback 

If there are any unanswered phone calls, this feature can automatically call your customers back.

SMS/Text messages 

Send your customers personal messages or general notifications and make your contact center much more effective. 

Desktop notifications

When a call comes in, notification automatically alerts you and informs you who is calling.

Voicemail 

The tool enables customers to leave a message when your agents aren’t currently available.

Benefits of Softphone

Now, let’s look into some advantages of softphones that we haven’t mentioned yet.

Privacy

Softphones use SIP client addresses, which allows you to answer work calls from your mobile device but still keep your personal number private. Any calls you make from a softphone application only show your business number. 

Cloud Automation 

Since softphones are a part of cloud based softwares, all team communication is automatically stored in a single dashboard. It can log cases, track various data (like call duration), or create detailed statistics.

Further, integrating takes away repetitive, time consuming tasks of manually transferring data from a VoIP system to CRM. With a cloud-based telephony solution, everything is done by itself

Another advantage of automation: if someone from your team is out of office, you can capture all the calls coming to their number and direct them to another employee. This way, you avoid angry customers or a team member working while on holiday. 

Presence Tracking

A cloud-based VoIP system shows you who is currently online or offline. Not only does it help you with tracking employees’ presence, you also see who is currently available for handling ad-hoc tasks. A softphone therefore enhances your productivity.  

Boosted Data Accessibility

Another advantage of a softphone is centralized communication which provides clarity. Thanks to that, you can easily find all the information. For example, when you scroll through tons of text messages or emails in order to find data someone sent you a long time ago, having all customer interactions in one place is a life savior. 

VoIP Softphone Software Success Story 

CloudTalk and CoachHub: Here is a practical showcase of advantages a VoIP softphone system brings to your business. 

Find out how we helped the leading talent development platform to enable effective communication away from office tables, but also beyond state and national borders. 

Choose the Right Softphone Provider

Now that you know everything there is to know about softphones, it’s time to discuss how to choose the right one for your business. 

Here are criteria to consider:

Features 

This is perhaps the most important one. A softphone will be of no use to you if you don’t have all of the other tools that you need. Look for a plan that fulfills your needs. Check out additional features or choose a plan which you can customize. 

Mobile application

Desktop app and browser extension are great tools, but with a smartphone application, your business becomes truly mobile. You can easily put it into your pocket and go wherever, anytime. For example, we have our CloutTalk Go remote call center app.

Sufficient phone lines (check up on a provider)

Consider how many phone lines you need and mainly, how many your provider supports. Will it be possible to scale during busy periods? 

Further, it’s ideal if a provider offers custom phone numbers, so you can build a desired brand identity. Such as creating a local presence with international numbers.

Compatibility with operating system 

Not all softphones work with every operating system. Check if the one you chose corresponds with the OS you are using. 

A quality customer service 

You may not need it, but it’s always a good thing to have 24/7 access to technical support. If something goes wrong, there should be someone who can help you fast and effectively, with a smile on their face.

Security

Softphone itself is not that susceptible to attack, not more than an internet browser. Yet it’s a part of a VoIP system, which stores a lot of confidential client information. Security is something you should definitely keep in mind. 

For example, CloudTalk is ISO 27001:2013 certified, undergoes third-party independent audits on a regular basis and can provide the certificate upon request.

If you want a truly top-class softphone, try our VoIP telephony system. It has plenty of add-ons, 70+ features and around 40 integrations

Sign up for a 14-day free trial or schedule a 1-on-1 demo with a dedicated customer success specialist.