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> Why You Should Be Using Softphones Instead of Desk Phones
Why You Should Be Using Softphones Instead of Desk Phones
Work from anywhere, and take your business phone with you when you travel
For a lot of the working world, travel is part of the job. But being away from the office often means you don’t have your phone with you, and you’re likely disconnected from your team. You’re always playing catch up with clients and staff, trying to stay in contact.
With a softphone you can essentially have your phone with you on both your laptop and your mobile. A softphone stores all your numbers, gives you the ability to transfer a call, or receive a transfer, and quickly check in via video or chat for immediate answers. You can update your presence status and let your team know when you’re available, and when you’re not. And with a softphone, wherever you are you have the same number, access to dial anywhere and reliable, predictable service. Having the full set of tools while you travel allows you to make the most of your time and be as efficient as possible.
Keep personal mobile numbers private
When you’re not at your desk, it’s easy to provide your mobile number as a way to reach you. However, that quickly gets complicated, as you can’t control when a client or coworker will call or text you, and the fees associated with long distance calls and texts all get piled onto your device. Also, if you take a vacation or shift roles or jobs, communication gets complicated. On the one hand, you don’t want clients reaching out to you anymore, but from a company standpoint you want to manage communications carefully. The last thing you want is a client or coworker calling you on your mobile phone while you’re on vacation. You don't need to feel pressure to follow up with them, just because you’ve used your mobile as a contact.
A softphone allows you to have a centralized number, meaning you can reroute calls to your mobile when you’re not in the office. You can also redirect calls to someone else when you’re at a conference for the day, or when you shift roles in the company. You can reroute calls to a coworker when you need to put your head down for the day and complete important tasks. The flexibility of a softphone means you control the flow of calls, whether they’re to your desktop, mobile or to someone who is covering that responsibility for you.
Control your work hours and check in when you want
Working in a modern office environment means you will often have to deal with time zones and international markets. You can’t predict when a customer, partner or colleague will want to reach out, and they may call when you’re in the middle of dinner, putting the kids to bed or trying to get some sleep. If your colleague is working late and needs to reach out to you, you may not be available, but want to follow up as soon as you are.
Softphones have the ability to help differentiate working hours from non-working hours. You can be available to take calls during the day, and when it’s non-working hours, you can set up a number of different options. You can configure your softphone settings such that if someone calls multiple times, you will get a notification, or the call will escalate to someone else.
You can also set your presence status to ‘away’ while you’re in a meeting or focused on other tasks. This allows you to focus on the task at hand, and not feel like you have to check your phone every time it rings.
Work efficiently with user-friendly enhancements
Softphones allow you to transfer calls quickly and efficiently. You don’t need to remember the three or four-digit extension of that person in accounting, you can see their picture, and their presence indicator shows whether they are online. You can even send them a quick chat message to give them a heads up. One click and the call is transferred.
Voicemail is also easier. With visual voicemail, showing the contact who called and details like the time and date of the call and the length of the message are also displayed. You can also send your voicemails to email, which helps you prioritize your messages and potentially consult someone else before you respond. Just forward the voicemail in an email, ask a question, and then you’re ready to follow up on the call when you get a reply.
Softphones also allow you to control how you are notified when a call comes through. Your can set up ringtones, set bouncing or flashing alerts, or get notifications with caller ID and options of how to respond to the call. You can also set up different alerts for different scenarios - so a loud ringtone is played when you’re in traffic, but if you’re in a meeting, you get a notification with call details instead. That way you can decide pick it up if it’s urgent, or let it go to voicemail.
Clean and tidy office
Desk phones require power, a connection, and involve a tonne of messy cables. With the simplicity of a laptop and notebook on your desk, adding a desk phone feels clunky. The simplicity of a phone you install through software means you take it with you everywhere, but it doesn’t take up any space on your desk.
Video calls and conferences
There are many moments when a text or email is too brief and communication is unclear. The ability to start a video chat and connect with your team, without expensive and specialized equipment, wherever they might be is a tremendous strength. Softphones allow you to transition from chat to call to video - depending on the conversation thread you’re on, and where you are, all in the same tool. You don’t have to set up a new account, install other apps, or schedule a service. You can simply select your colleague, and spark up a conversation. For internal meetings or working with 3rd party contractors, a video call can clear up confusion and ensure you’re aligned to solving the problem or task in front of you quickly.
Set up conference calls easily
Have you ever sat on a conference call waiting for your team to join? Only to realize a few minutes later you were on the wrong one? Conference calls can be frustrating. Setting up a conference call with consistent tools allows your team to connect quickly, ensuring your team has the right information. It also reduces the costs associated with multiple services.
Show presence and chat
Have you ever had a client on the phone, tried to transfer them to someone else, only to have them bounce back, sometimes multiple times? Then you know how valuable it is to know the availability of your team.
Presence relays the availability of the people in your contact list. Identifying if you’re online, offline, on a call, busy, away or do not disturb is very helpful. Real-time visibility into your status allows you to actively communicate your availability, so your team only reaches out when it makes sense to do so.
Just like eye contact in face-to-face communication shows where your attention is, presence allows you to communicate your status, no matter where you are.
For example, if an inside sales person sees an engineer has their status set to ‘away at lunch’ they can direct a client call to a product manager to solve a problem.
Chat is also a powerful communication tool. If someone is available, you can reach out and get a quick answer while you’re on a call, in a meeting or traveling. You can also leave someone a chat message if they’re set to away, so they see it right when they get back to their desk or look at their phone. It’s both a useful and considerate way to reach out to someone, and allows you to actively communicate with someone, while respecting their timelines. Someone can get back to you on their schedule, not on yours, responding as soon as they’re able to.
Share file and office documents
Part of good communication involves documents. Some ideas need to be written out, or numbers need to be represented in a spreadsheet for context and comparison. Ensuring everyone on your call has the current version of a document can be complex. Sending a document through email means everyone on the call gets distracted and focuses on that, and not the call itself while they wait for your file to come through.
Softphones allow you to send files directly through the same tool, and confirm they were delivered successfully. So whether it’s a spreadsheet, a quick snap of a whiteboard or a sketch, sending files through a single tool reduces distraction and keeps everyone on the same page.
Share contacts across the company
Implementing a shared contact database for your company can be complex. People get contacts through meetings and sales calls, and they end up on their mobile phones. How do you collaboratively share those contacts, and make sure you have the most up-to-date information. When someone changes their information or role, and one person from your company gets the update - how do you share that with everyone?
Shared contacts allow you to sync the contacts you want, and keep your personal contacts private. You can download the latest updates, and contribute the changes you have picked up from your meetings quickly and easily, ensuring you have the right contact information when you need to reach out.
Tracking, reporting, analytics
If you’re responsible for managing a team, or hitting sales or project targets, then understanding what your team is working on is critical. Having clear metrics on how often your team is calling clients, connecting with each other, and where they’re spending time helps you respond well.
You need the tools to ensure everyone is getting an excellent level of service through the available tools. Reporting and analytics give you the tools to follow up on a customer concern, identifying when they called in last, and who they talked to. You can follow up on an audit or compliance request and ensure that the quality of your service is high. How often is your team calling customers vs. how often customers are calling in? These are questions you can answer by installing a softphone system.
There are many advantages to using a softphone system. Convenience, power and presence are just a few of the important ones, but cost is another key decision-making factor. Your team will have the flexibility to connect and call how they want, and management will have the tools and lower cost of ownership they desire to remain competitive.
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