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Team Communication Apps: 5 Benefits of Desktop Softphones

by Kevin Bartley

Team communication apps, like a desktop softphone, increase staff flexibility and offer video conferencing, contact integration, presence, and more.

Desktop softphone applications have become more commonplace, not just as third-party solutions, but also as integrated apps provided by hosted VoIP service providers. They offer several advantages, including affordability, easy contact importation and seamless integration with the service provider’s call features.

But first, what is a softphone? It’s software that has the capabilities of a physical desk phone. It can run as an app on a device like a PC or mobile phone, or even in a web browser. In other words, it’s not a dedicated desk phone, which many people have on their desktops. In this post, we are focusing on desktop softphones that run on your computer.

Desktop softphone applications provide benefits that many physical phones, and even some softphones, can’t offer. These include geographic flexibility, video and messaging, contact integration, employee presence and other features that enhance team communication. Let’s dive in and take a closer look.

5 Benefits that Team Communication Apps Offer to Professionals

1. Geographic Flexibility: Work from Anywhere

A desktop softphone allows users to make and take phone calls from any computer with an internet connection. This means employees can stay connected while away from the office. It doesn’t matter if they’re in a home office, coffee shop, airport lounge or poolside cabana. You can also save on hardware costs because you don’t need a dedicated desk phone. Instead, users can invest in a good laptop headset for better call quality.

Because you can use a desktop app to conduct business anywhere, the world can become your office. For example, a business executive can easily join a conference call, transfer an inbound call to another department or even check to see if a certain employee is available for a chat easily—all while sitting at a café waiting for a Lyft.

2. Video & Messaging: Enhanced Collaboration

Desk phones are built for audio, but a softphone opens up more possibilities and the two key ones are video and messaging. Video capabilities allow employees to participate in one-to-one and multi-party video conferences. Messaging capabilities are either built into the app or integrated with third-party platforms.

By grouping together features such as messaging, voice and video conferencing over a bedrock of cloud phone system functionality, employees can stay connected to each other on a single application. This means they don’t have to keep tabs on a bunch of third-party team communication apps.

3. Employee Presence: Team Efficiency

Presence relays the availability status of contacts: online, offline, on a call, busy, away, or do not disturb. This real-time visibility allows team members to contact people who are free to answer the phone, diminishing phone tag and missed calls. It also makes transfers and hot hand-offs between employees much smoother.

For example, a receptionist can quickly glance at his softphone app to see that the product manager’s status is "Do Not Disturb", indicating that he should ask callers to leave a message rather than transferring them over.

Presence can also reduce friction among employees. For example, if someone sends an email and is waiting for a response, they can check presence and see that the employee is occupied or busy in a meeting. The employee who sent the email then knows that they’re not being ignored and they’ll get a response when the person becomes available.

4. Contact Integration: Save Time & Effort

Some PC softphones can pull contacts from outside sources, such as a user's email account, .csv file or a computer's contacts app. This saves employees the time and effort of manually entering contact data when setting up their softphone. Most apps automatically display the entire company directory and allow employees to add and edit contact lists within the app interface. This customization allows employees to keep their contacts organized and curated.

Contact integration is beneficial not just for coworkers, but also for outside contacts as well. For example, a manager of a car dealership can import a list of vendor and manufacturer support numbers to his contact directory. This saves time and ensures that he can access both internal and external contacts in one interface.

5. SMS Capabilities: Engage More Contacts

Sending and receiving text messages are some of the most common communication activities performed on a mobile phone. Marketing texts have a 45 percent response rate, compared to only six percent for email. The high success rate of SMS makes it an essential frontier to conquer for sales, marketing and support.

Incorporating SMS into a sales and support operation is a great way to reach out to prospects, nurture leads, offer technical support, and engage in just about any customer-facing interaction.

Some desktop softphones allow employees to send text messages to prospects and customers from individualized phone numbers. These texts tend to feel less like spam than others, increasing engagement and opening up a new channel for customers to get in touch.

Desktop Softphones: More Features, More Mobility

A desktop softphone application is a solid solution for a company that wants a feature-rich and on-the-go business phone. Portability is only one benefit—video calling, contact integration, presence, and voicemail management all put softphones ahead of their traditional office phone counterparts.

Softphone apps are often associated with remote working, and rightly so. They increase the reach of a business phone system and open the door for a more geographically diverse workforce. However, employees can also use a team communication app not just as a temporary substitute for a desk phone, but as a complete replacement for one.

Desk phones certainly aren't going anywhere. But with remote and hybrid work here to stay, a phone system that supports desktop softphones, or even webphones, is definitely something to consider when looking for a communications solution.

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