Is a Softphone Approach Right for Your Business?

Customer Service

Companies and small businesses that want to upgrade to a VoIP communications model have many options. One major choice is between a “hard phone” or “softphone” system. The first involves buying specific hardware units with phone receivers that can be integrated into an office environment. Another way to go is to get software systems that provide the same kinds of functionality through existing devices like desktop or laptop computers.

Softphone products are popular with a wide array of businesses for several reasons. These systems use SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) and related technologies to provide audio and video connectivity over the web. These setups can be a key part of handling inbound and outbound calls, and generally building a better model for office telecom organization.

Low-Fee and Freeware Softphone Systems

Business leaders can choose from a handful of different low-cost softphone options. XLite and ExpressTalk are two popular examples. Many of these products offer advanced support for installation and more. Buyers can find out more by asking vendors for promotional materials that may show what a particular softphone interface looks like and how it works.

Using Existing Hardware

One of the prime reasons to go with a softphone system for VoIP is that many businesses have already invested in PCs or other devices that can handle softphone voice traffic. Installing a softphone client can be a great way to get more out of existing hardware assets, rather than chasing additional hardware pieces and duplicating some functionality.

User Training

While some hard phone devices may require additional training, the average computer-savvy user will quickly adapt to using a softphone interface. Business leaders can work with vendors or others to provide simple instructions for outbound calls or other projects. Most businesses will be using a softphone within a Microsoft operating systems environment, which is familiar to lots of users. The softphone can be pulled up as a windows-based application, and with a good interface offering clear cues, there shouldn’t be quite as much of a learning curve as with a system relying on brand new hardware. Buyers can get key customizations from vendors that allow for clearer instructions on how to use these resources in a call center environment or in other business operations with specific project goals.

Using Softphone Systems with CRM and Telecom Tools

Ringio’s Customer Relationship Management or CRM resources can be synced into a softphone setup. These sorts of “visual caller i.d.” give frontline users a better picture of who they are talking to, be it a client, co-worker or some other party such as a contractor or a consultant. Ringio CRM allows the business to build detailed data sets into telecom to have key details at the user’s fingertips. This kind of resource is a big part of what’s driving a more “sentient” business model where small to midsize businesses are getting better at collecting and keeping customer data, to really “know” their customers and serve them better, while planning for better and more informed growth and expansion down the road.

Justin Stoltzfus is a freelance writer covering technology and business solutions at Techopedia and Business Finance Store, as well as Ringio’s blog, focusing on emerging trends in IT services.

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