For many years, VoIP has been the first choice for businesses of all sizes when it comes to modes of communication. The rich set of features like ‘Find me/Follow me’, ‘Call Screening’, ‘Call Analytics’, ‘Music On Hold’ and ‘Auto-Attendant’ make it hard for business owners to stick to traditional telephony services– especially when it costs a lot more than VoIP in the long run.
A softphone app is exactly what its name indicates: it’s actually an application that provides all the features of a phone, runs on your smartphone and doesn’t require the usage of GSM networks. There are a lot of free softphone applications available for Android and iOS platforms, but the real benefits of VoIP are only available with some of the paid softphone applications. (We will mention both our paid and free favorites below). Using these softphones, employees don’t have to stick to their desks in order to stay connected. They can communicate on the move or from home. Most of the time, all it takes is a simple download to get your VoIP set up on your smartphone or your laptop, and no other device or equipment needs to be purchased. In this article, we will talk about harnessing the maximum potential of a softphone and will follow that by mentioning some of the most beneficial softphone applications out there.
1. Make Use of Microphone, Headphones and Speakers
The voice quality over VoIP is primarily dependent on the service provider and the network health, but it’s also contingent on the robustness of the receiving and listening devices. Headphones, speakers and microphones should be used for both elimination of any ambient noises and to increase the quality of voice. The minimization of noise not only keeps things peaceful and professional in the office space, but also helps to reduce distractions for the caller. It goes without saying that when the call quality is substantially improved with the use of microphones, speakers and headphones, the overall customer experience is also improved.
2. Introduce Occasional Work-From-Home Days
Working from home is always an attractive offer of flexibility that can boost employee morale and satisfaction. A survey done by WorkFlexibility.org revealed that around 74% of surveyed employees in their 20’s and 30’s find flexible work schedules enticing and comforting. Flexibility was defined as being able to work from home during harsh weather conditions or when other urgent appointments had to be taken care of. Work-from-home is only a productive experience when the employees can stay connected with the rest of the network and are able to carry out their routine activities without any disruption. VoIP and softphones make that a possibility. Needless to say, happy employees are always going to be a source of enhanced productivity, efficiency and eventually revenue streams.
3. Throw the Desk Phone Away
We don’t urge throwing your desk phone away as soon as you get a softphone, but setting it aside after a few days of familiarization with the softphone app might be a good idea. It’s true (even if it’s a cliché) that old habits die hard, and initially, resistance to change may be a possibility. But to completely realize the benefits of softphones, desk phones will have to be rendered useless. Once desk phones are completely eliminated, softphones will truly start being used efficiently and effectively. Removing desk phones also means that employees will have more table space and less mess.
4. Employ Remote Workers
We have since long established that the world is a global village, and as businesses, we shouldn’t be geographically restricted when it comes to selecting people to work for us. Using softphones as the primary mode of communication makes hiring people located in other regions or states a possibility. If in the past, hiring someone located in a different city who was better qualified for a position was impossible, now it is anything but that. With the usage of softphones, now hiring this type of candidate is totally feasible. A remote worker will get added to your softphone network without any issues and can be connected with colleagues and clients at all times. Hiring possibilities are endless – extending around the world – when softphones are used to their maximum potential.
5. Encourage employees to take days off.
Often employees avoid vacations or are intimidated by the possibility of falling behind in their work if they do so. Fearing that they won’t be able to manage the workload when they return, they often completely skip vacations. Not only does this lead to unhappy spouses (which eventually leads to uneasy employees and productivity loss), it can also cause health issues. Hence, employees should be encouraged to take days off from work from time to time. If they are needed on those days off, employees can be accessed via their softphone apps during the hours of availability they set. Needless to say, all work and no play makes employees hate their jobs, sooner, rather than later. So, it’s of paramount importance that they are encouraged to take vacations whenever necessary.
Now that you know the benefits of using a softphone, here are some useful softphone apps to try:
Vonage is a credible company when it comes to softphone solutions and makes for one of the best VoIP services. Features like dedicated fax lines and selective call block make the small price for the solution a very justifiable one.
The softphone provided by 8×8 Inc. is another viable choice with features like caller ID, caller waiting and call hold/resume, and more.
Grasshopper makes for the perfect choice for small businesses where you can easily add or remove extensions, create voicemail and message rules as well as set up call forwarding with other useful features.
Using softphones not only offers unlimited and efficient communication, but also save a lot of business costs and can boost employee productivity and satisfaction. The move to softphones is growing and it’s time you jump on board!