A softphone is a type of software-based phone. That allows you to make phone calls over an internet connection without needing designated physical hardware. With a softphone, calls are placed using desktop software, mobile apps, or an internet browser–based application, rather than a physical dial pad.

Softphone technology relies on your device’s speaker and microphone system to transmit voice packets to the intended recipient. Softphones are able to operate entirely on the cloud, which makes them accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. Remote work and work-from-home scenarios are possible with browser-based, mobile, and downloadable desktop phone applications.

The Benefits of Softphones

Softphones can be very useful for businesses—specifically businesses with remote and hybrid teams—for a few reasons, and they do have a few advantages compared to traditional desk phones. Softphone technology increases workforce mobility, flexibility, and productivity while improving the customer experience and lowering operating costs.  

The top softphone benefits are:

  • Significant Cost Savings: Because VoIP calls take place over the Internet, long-distance and international calls are much more affordable than with a traditional landline–no need to purchase additional hardware
  • Portability and Mobility: Softphone technology allows team members to use mobile phones and mobile devices that are accessible anytime and anywhere, allowing for remote, blended, and mobile sales and support teams to access advanced small business phone system features anywhere with Internet access
  • Improved Team Collaboration and Efficiency: Softphone systems make it easier to host video calls and audio-only meetings while leveraging features like drag-and-drop call transfers, visual voicemail, voicemail-to-email configuration, and incoming call notifications
  • Stronger Privacy: Softphones allow agents to make/receive calls from their business telephone number, not their personal one, even on their own devices. Custom Caller ID options can provide further privacy

Ease Of Use And Fast Setup: Lack of required hardware virtually eliminates equipment installation time

Features and Operations 

The softphone application will have a dial pad (like the one you see when making regular phone calls on your smartphone)—the main difference is that instead of using your mobile phone network to make phone calls, you’ll be using VoIP technology and the Internet to make and take voice calls.

When evaluating potential softphone software providers, key VoIP features to look for include:

  • Audio conferencing and call bridge: Desktop, mobile, or VoIP phone service users can attend a conference call via shared link
  • Call recording: Automatic and on-demand voice/video call recording, recording transcriptions, and recording sharing
  • Remote call forwarding: Automatically forwards unanswered telephone calls to additional phone numbers in a predetermined order without disconnecting the caller
  • Voicemail transcription and visual voicemail: Transcribes voicemail messages into text.
  • Call routing: Call routing sends inbound calls to the ideal agent based on pre-set criteria and call flow path
  • Ring groups: Ring group members’ phone numbers simultaneously ring (call blasting), the call is assigned to the first agent to pick up
  • Call monitoring (Whisper, Barge, etc.): Admins/managers can listen in on real-time calls between agents and customers, provide in-call agent coaching without the caller hearing, or take over the call
  • Auto attendant: Automated call handling feature that lets inbound callers direct their own calls by responding to pre-recorded menu prompts via speech or touch tone keypad
  • Call transfer: Allows agents to send calls to one another in a single click, call transfers can be blind (directly passed onto another rep) or announced/warm (the new agent is automatically provided with key caller information)