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What is a Softphone & How Does it Work?

By: SmallBizClub


Desk consultant talking on hands-free phone. Smiling call center operator with headset working on support hotline. Busy call center agents working in a modern office, offering customer care service.

When reaching out to a business’s help desk, you might have encountered the term ‘softphone.’ For starters, you might be asking yourself questions such as, “what is a softphone?” “What does a softphone do?” or “How is it different from traditional phone services?”

If you find yourself getting bogged by these questions, then you’re in the perfect place! Everything you need to know about softphones will be tackled in this blog. Without further ado, let’s start with a brief description of what a softphone is.

Softphones Defined

A softphone is a software-based phone application that enables you to make phone calls using an internet connection. Since it is a software program, it can be easily installed on both desktop computers and smartphones. From a layman’s perspective, softphones allow you to make phone calls without an actual telephone.

FAQ: Is Skype a type of Softphone? Yes, aside from providing VoIP-based videotelephony, video chats, instant messaging, and debit-based calls, Skype is a popular communication software integrated with softphone functionalities. However, since Skype contacts are identified using custom usernames and not actual phone numbers, its dial pad feature is seldom used.

How Does a Softphone Work?

A softphone functions like a real, physical telephone or landline. But since it is a program, it offers functionalities that are way more complex and advanced than that of a standard desk phone. These functions include, but are not limited to video calling, recording, bulk messaging, IMs, and SMS.

Since this modern-day telephone allows users to make phone calls through an internet connection, then it is easier to reach a broader group of people regardless of the differences in time and location.

What are the Key Features of a Softphone?

Indeed, using softphones is the new way to strengthen the connection between a company and its audiences. Going beyond its basic features, softphone technologies present a plethora of features that highlight convenience, especially for businesses. 

So, how does softphone work?

Below are some of the best features you can get using a softphone.

Caller ID — Softphone applications require users to provide their personal information (name, location, birthdate, etc.) before using it. This greatly helps agents to identify their contact details much easier.

Call Transfer — This feature allows easy transfer of calls to ensure that the caller is being accommodated by the right personnel. Some softphone applications streamline this process by adding a “drag & drop transfer feature”.

Advanced Mailing — Compared to traditional hard phones, softphones allow users to send not just written emails and voicemails, but video and visual mails as well. This makes it easier for users to add a more personalized touch when sending information.

Call and Voicemail Notifications — This is particularly useful for people who mostly use smartphones. This helps users to keep track of incoming calls and voicemails all the time.

Video Calls — This bridges the gap between agents and callers by allowing them to see each other face-to-face through video calling.

Instant Messaging — Instant messaging is useful when providing after-sales assistance. Agents can send follow-up messages regarding a caller’s concern or provide updates about your products and services.

How Can You Benefit From Softphones?

Admittedly, transitioning into the digital version of desk phones can be tricky. If you are still skeptical about the wonders that softphones can do for you and your business, perhaps these additional softphone benefits can convince you!


A stark contrast to traditional telephones, softphones highlight ease of use. It doesn’t require the tedious process of assembling and configuring telephone parts. Once it is installed on your computer or smartphone, you can use it right away. All you need is a stable internet connection and a well-functioning microphone and headset.


Another difference between softphones and hard phones is the price. Phone lines can be quite expensive especially when your business will need tons of them. Also, using traditional phones charge you on a monthly basis, making it an impractical choice when you’re on a tight budget.

Softphones, on the other hand, are incredibly cheaper than that of using desk phones. Softphones run through internet bandwidth, meaning that once your softphone program is installed, you don’t have to pay per call duration regardless of the number of your phone lines. This makes softphones an effective way to cut costs. Also, most VoIP software communication features are free!


Using a softphone leaves you untethered from your desk and allows your customer support agents to maintain a fluid communication at all times. Monitoring each call or conversation becomes easier, too. You can easily respond to clients or to your team regardless of your location.

Easy Tracking of User Presence

With softphones, users can notify other contacts about their availability. They can customize and toggle their active status between, online, offline, away, and busy. This may be a surface-level feature but it is the best way to heighten productivity as this lets your teammates know whether you’re available or not. In other words, softphones for business are a viable option to improve overall business workflow.

Platform Compatibility

Softphones run on most computers and mobile devices. You can run a softphone app on iOS, Android smartphones, newer versions of Mac, Windows, and other phone and computer operating systems. As long as there’s an active internet connection, you ensure that you stay connected to your business and clients.

Say Goodbye to Messed-Up Telephone Cords

Technology is constantly evolving, and so you wouldn’t want to be left behind. That said, if you want to provide the best phone service, softphones can come in handy!

With tons of features and advantages at its disposal, it is safe to say that softphones are the future of phone services. The key to making the most out of its advantages is to know everything about it, its definition, how it works, its unique features, and its benefits. In turn, you get to improve your overall business productivity. 

Yes, transitioning from traditional to digital phones will definitely need some adjustments for your staff and your business in general. Looking at the bigger picture, however, it proves to be a small sacrifice once you consider the level of convenience, portability, and cost-efficiency that it can bring. Think of how today’s setup has gradually made remote work into the new norm.

Are you using softphones for your business? How did it help you improve your productivity?

Published: October 22, 2021

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