What is a Softphone?

A softphone is technology that allows users to make or receive phone calls using VoIP (voice over internet protocol) on their computers or handheld devices. The call functions are controlled by clicking or touching commands on the user interface, which activates typical features such as making and answering calls, transferring calls and putting callers on hold, as well as unique features like call recording. To use softphones, a caller just needs a device such as a computer, tablet or mobile phone and a high-speed internet connection. Special softphone headphones are usually recommended, as well. With softphones, a device takes the place of a physical telephone and the internet becomes the equivalent of the phone line.

Softphones appeal to businesses because they don't have to buy business-grade telephones or run lines for new employees. Additionally, using softphones can eliminate the need for a costly PBX. Softphones also support mobile or at-home workers, as they can make and receive calls wherever they are located. However, if the internet connection goes down or the device runs out of battery power, for example, then users have to revert to other methods of making calls.

Softphones in the contact center

Contact centers are increasingly using softphones. Some of the benefits include:

  • Unified communications and data backbone - contact centers can use the same provider for phone and data transmission.
  • At-home agent support - softphones enable an at-home agent model because calls can be answered anywhere, given the right equipment and connectivity.
  • Integrations with CRM applications - with softphones, computer telephony integration (CTI) is easy. For example, an environment can be quickly set up in which a sales agent can initiate a call just by clicking on a phone number on a CRM screen.

Whether or not softphones are the right option for an organization depends on their unique situation.

How NICE is Redefining Customer Experience

NICE CXone is the industry’s only interaction-centric platform where channels, data, applications, and knowledge converge to improve customer experience at scale.

It is the leading, most complete and unified CX Platform on the market, used by thousands of organizations of all sizes around the world to help them consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences. CXone is a cloud native, unified suite of applications designed to help you holistically run your call (or contact) center operations.

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