Softphone vs. VoIP Phone: Which Is Right For Your Business?

Softphone vs. VoIP phone:  which one is better, and which one is right for your business?  Many companies are faced with this very same question as they take their first steps into the world of cloud communications.  We’ll walk through a comparison of softphones and VoIP phones to help you make the best choice for your business.

As your business makes the transition to cloud communications, you’ll face many critical decisions.  One of the most important steps is to decide whether you want to put hard phones on the desks of your employees, or if you would rather have them make and receive calls using a softphone.

In this quick reference guide, we’ll help you better understand each option and make the ultimate comparison, softphone vs. VoIP phone, so that you can make the right choice for your business.

What is a softphone?

A softphone is a program for making phone calls over the Internet that your employees will download to their computer or mobile device.  If your employees are using a laptop or PC to make and receive calls, you will also need to purchase a headset.  If you download a softphone to your mobile device, you can make and receive calls just as you normally would.

Most softphones are designed to look and feel like an actual phone.  For example, the Bria Counterpath has a dial pad and allows you to access voicemail directly through the program, just as you would with a basic desk phone.

What is a VoIP phone?

Today, most hard phones are designed specifically for use with VoIP communications.  Unlike a softphone, they are physical phones that come with a dial pad and a handset.  Some people also refer to VoIP phones as desk phones.

Softphone vs. VoIP Phone: A Side-by-Side Comparison

Many people prefer to use VoIP phones because they are more familiar, and thus seem easier to use.  However, these types of phones tend to be more expensive.  First, there is the initial cost of the phone itself, which can range from $50 to more than $150.  In addition, you’ll probably need to contract outside help to install and configure your equipment.

Since softphones don’t require any “hard equipment,” they are generally quick and easy to install.  They also allow you to be completely mobile; as long as you have access to the Internet, you can make and receive calls.

If your company employs remote agents, or has a primarily mobile workforce, softphones might be the ideal choice.  You won’t have to worry about hiring or outsourcing IT staff to install a softphone for remote workers or office locations; your employees will simply download the softphone client and configure their headset.

Softphones vs. VoIP Phones: The Verdict

Now for the real question: in the battle of softphones vs. VoIP phones, who is the winner?

Ultimately, the choice is up to you.  Both softphones and VoIP phones have their fair share of pros and cons.  VoIP phones are familiar, easy-to-use, and often the quickest way to make and receive calls.  On the other hand, softphones are more cost-effective and offer a unique benefit to companies that have a mobile workforce.  In order to make the right decision, you’ll need to take your business’s individual needs into consideration.

And in some cases, businesses are choosing not to pick one type of phone over the other.  Some companies aren’t ready to use both voice and data on the same device, so they choose to use both softphones and desk phones in different situations.

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