As a forward-looking business, you and your employees regularly reach out to your partners, vendors and customers to maintain relationships and ensure satisfaction. And chances are good that you utilize all different types of communication technology to achieve this task, including primarily phone and email. But how often do you actually consider your phone communications and the tools you use to support these discussions?
Currently, 92% of customer interactions still take place over the phone, despite news that calling is falling by the wayside in favor of chat, email and other communication channels. This is particularly true for sales teams: One study found it now requires an average of eight cold calls in order to truly reach a prospect, and that even after that initial call, it still takes an additional five follow-up calls to close a sale.
This makes phone discussions more important than ever in the business landscape. Your company has several options when it comes to its phone technology, one of which is a softphone. Let's take a closer look at softphone, and what advantages this communication technology can offer.
Softphone: What it is, how it works and what makes it different
First things first, it's important to understand what a softphone is and how it's different from the traditional desk or mobile phone.
You may be more familiar with the term VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, calling. SIP, or Session Initiation Protocol, is the protocol used to support VoIP phone calls, and enables the network to correctly format, transmit and receive data associated with internet telephony. In other words, you can think of SIP softphones as software-supported, digital phones that make voice calling possible over a computer.
In order for SIP calling to function, users need a softphone client, or application program, which provides the user interface for SIP and VoIP phone calls. The interfaces of these apps typically look a lot like the phone application on your mobile phone and include buttons to connect and disconnect calls as well as a dial pad. Users also need a headset and microphone to plug into the computer to allow them to easily speak, listen and use SIP calling features.
Benefits of using a softphone
Now that we have a basic understanding of what a softphone is and how it works, let's dive deeper into the advantages that a VoIP phone system can provide your business. There are a few reasons why many SMBs as well as large enterprises are ditching their traditional phones in favor of more advanced SIP phones or softphone applications:
- Reduce desk clutter: Now that 4.3 million individuals work from locations outside of the office at least half the time, there's simply no place for desk clutter in today's workplace. A softphone eliminates the need for bulky, traditional desk phones and handsets.
- A mobile, always-accessible professional line: In addition to removing the need for hard phone equipment, a digital softphone also enables workers to have dedicated professional phone lines. This is especially handy for those that work from home or other locations, as the softphone ensures that remote employees always have an accessible channel for their business calls and can take incoming calls and make outgoing calls just as they would from their regular desk phone, but through their laptop or softphone mobile app. This also means there's no need for workers to give out or use their personal cell phone numbers for anything other than personal calls, enabling better security and peace of mind - not to mention savings, as employees don't have to use their own phone plan data to support their business calls.
- Easy-to-use, responsive UI: Many softphone, like CounterPath's Bria, are accessible through desktop and mobile. Besides being easily accessible, the user interface is incredibly simple, user friendly and intuitive - if you can use a mobile phone, you can use a softphone! Best of all, solutions like CounterPath Bria softphones are incredibly customizable, and can include a wide array of unified communication features when paired with CounterPath's Stretto Collaboration solution.
- Secure communications: Products like Bria also enable all voice and video calls to be protected, using firewall and encryption to safeguard calls and server data. This means even users in particularly sensitive industries beholden to strict security guidelines can leverage a softphone for their voice communications.
This only scratches the surface when it comes to the advantages that a VoIP phone system can offer your business. In addition to providing a sense of professionalism through dedicated, accessible phone lines and supporting the user experience with a familiar and intuitive interface, solutions like Bria can also integrate with Microsoft Office to establish a fully unified communications system.
To find out more about how a softphone can benefit your organization and how Bria and Stretto fit in, connect with one of our expert consultants at CounterPath today. And to learn more about how softphone solutions can address your communication pain points, check out our eBook on the topic.