First off, what actually is a softphone? Surprisingly or not, a softphone isn’t — strictly speaking — a phone. Business News Daily describes a softphone as “software that allows you to use a computer, phone or tablet to place internet-based calls.”
In this sense, then, a softphone can at least operate similarly to a traditional, physical phone. Nonetheless, you should think carefully about when exactly, as a business owner, you should turn to a softphone rather than resort to more traditional means of making phone calls.
Would a softphone be more relevant for the modern age?
At least theoretically, yes. A softphone basically provides you with the control panel you need to tap into VoIP, the service where users can make and receive calls online rather than over a landline.
However, the softphone software — which would usually be available from a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) — would also leave you with a wealth of extra features besides simple calling. You would, for example, be able to mute, hold and transfer calls as well as use voicemail and do-not-disturb functions.
As you can use a softphone on any online-connected device, you can take your softphone with you when you are traveling, such as to attend a conference or other corporate meeting or visit another office your business might run. So, even nomadic businesspeople don’t need to miss crucial calls!
Is there still a place for the humble deskphone?
Yes, even if that place might rarely be anywhere other but — ahem — on a desk. Consider the fact that, according to statistics mentioned by UC Today, roughly 80% of office workers around the world typically remain desk-bound but many deskphones still incorporate an element of portability.
Some deskphones are cordless, meaning that people who use them can at least do some wandering around the office with them. Furthermore, as desk phones use their own hardware rather than piggyback on other hardware, the call quality with deskphones is often incredible.
None of this is strictly to say that softphones can’t deliver stunning call quality, too — it’s just that, in practice, the actual quality can depend on that of the speaker and microphone used.
How should you choose between a deskphone and a softphone?
If you work for a department functioning wholly around phones, such as a tech support or customer service department, a deskphone may be the better choice. This is because call management features tend to be a lot easier to use on a single, dedicated hardware unit.
However, if you anticipate needing to switch between various physical places quite often as part of your work, a softphone could be the only practical option. Even if you currently lack a softphone, you could cost-effectively source one, as you might not need to buy any extra pieces of hardware.
You could get access to a softphone as standard when investing in voice, data and mobile services by Gamma, a specialist provider of business-grade telecoms solutions. These could form your connectivity ‘toolkit’ for when you are out on the road!