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Thursday, 18 May 2023 | 8 min read

What is a softphone and why should your business use it?

A man sitting at a desk looking at a computer screen and holding a computer mouse. He is wearing a headset with a microphone and appears to be talking into the microphone.

Overview

Softphones bring essential mobile connectivity to your business phone system. Here's everything your business needs to know about softphones: What they are, how to set them up, and why they'll be a valuable tool for your business.

Technology has allowed businesses to run in ways that seemed unimaginable only a short time ago.

But the more things change, the more things stay the same. That saying could not be more relevant to the humble telephone, and its place in businesses around the globe.  

Since long before the internet was even a thought, telephones have been how businesses connect with employees, customers, and the outside world.

And the internet didn't stop the telephone. It has, however, modernised it to meet the needs of a connected business world.

The rise in mobile connectivity and remote work has left business owners wondering if there's any point in owning a landline phone. After all, you can easily make your mobile phone your primary work device.

Yes, mobile connectivity is the new standard. Chances are you're among the 60% of Australian households that don't have a landline phone or number.

However, a landline phone number is still essential for businesses. They help you maintain credibility and professionalism.

But what if you had the best of both worlds? Mobile connectivity to a landline phone number - without owning any landline hardware.

A softphone gives your business exactly that!

So in this article, we will cover everything your business needs to know about softphones: What they are, how to set them up, and why they'll be a valuable tool for your business.

Softphones from $25/month*

Elevate your business communications. No hardware required!

Customise your phone system

*Including GST | min. total cost $25

What is a softphone?

A softphone is a software application that lets you make and take calls on a landline phone via the internet. You can use a softphone on a computer or smartphone. Softphones come with all the features of a typical phone handset, as well as additional features that expand your phone’s capability.  

You access a softphone through an app. If you've used RingCentral, Zoom Phone or 3CX, you've used a softphone before.

What is a softphone system? 

A softphone system is a phone system that’s run using softphones. All VoIP phone systems are hosted in the cloud, and work via the internet. That means there’s no difference between a VoIP phone system that uses handsets and a VoIP phone system that uses softphones (or a combination of both). 

How does a softphone work?

A softphone works through the internet. It’s made possible through Voice over IP (VoIP) technology, which allows all telephone calls (not just softphones) to be placed via the internet. 

How to use a softphone

To use a softphone, you'll need to download a softphone app to your smartphone or computer. Then, you'll need to connect the softphone app to your business's phone system.

Here are all the steps to set up softphone capability for your business phone system.

How to set up softphone capability  

  1. Download a softphone application and install it on your device.

  2. Once you've installed the softphone application, start it and follow the prompts to set it up and connect your phone. To connect to your business's phone system, you must know your Session Internet Protocol (SIP) server address and the port number your VoIP service provider gave you. 

  3. Once you've done all that, you should be able to make and receive calls through the softphone app. 

What are the benefits of softphones for businesses?

1: No physical hardware

 A mobile-only business is more than just cost-effective. It's an efficient choice too. That's why many businesses don't bother with landlines. After all, these days, most people take calls on their mobiles anyway - so why overcomplicate things with a clunky phone handset?

 Softphones don't require your phone system to have any physical hardware. Since everything works via the internet, there's no need for handsets or any of the other hallmarks of a traditional phone system.

2: Flexibility

You can probably think of a time when someone called your business looking for you, but you couldn't take the call because you weren't in the office. The caller would have had to leave a message or call you again on your mobile to reach you. Either way, being hard to reach on the phone is not a good customer experience. It could even result in lost business.

Your customers, prospects and partners expect you to be available when they need you. But that shouldn't mean you're chained to your desk. With a softphone, when someone calls you on your business landline, the call will come to you on the softphone app, and you can answer it just as you answer a call on your mobile. That way, you'll never miss a landline call again.

3: Makes remote work simple

These days, remote work is the new standard. Employees expect the ability to work remotely. But remote work shouldn't come at a cost to business productivity. With a softphone, your remote employees can set up a business phone wherever they work. That means your team will have the same access to their business phone, whether in the office or working remotely.

4: Advanced features

While a softphone lets you access all the features of a desk phone, such as call forwarding, call transferring, call holding, voicemail, and conference calling, it doesn't stop there.

These are some of the other handy features of softphones :

Video conferencing:

Today, video calls are essential to doing business. However, setting up a video conference through a third-party app can add a layer of complexity when compared to organising a call through your landline phone. Softphones make it easier to start a video conference through your landline. With a softphone, you can easily set up a video conference call and better engage with your clients, partners and team.

Call recording:

Plenty of valuable information changes hands during business calls. Often, that means scrambling to write or type notes during the call so you can reference them later. With a softphone, you can record the call to ensure you've got everything down - so you can rest assured you're getting everything important.

Status indicators:

Calling a team member is often a guessing game. Are they available to take the call? Will they pick it up? Wonder no more. Softphones come with status indicators. When you open your softphone app, you can see whether a team member is offline, on a call or online and free. That way, you'll know when to call them and stop wasting time playing "phone tag".

These extra features help your business use phones efficiently, bolstering productivity.

Manage your business phone from our simple MyPhone portal.  

Complex phone features such as auto-attendant and call queuing don’t need to be difficult. So we’ve made it simple for our business phone customers through our all-in-one management solution - the MyPhone portal. 

The MyPhone portal lets you access and manage your phone system anywhere, at any time. It lets you easily configure the powerful features that VoIP phone systems have to offer. 

The myphone portal home screen displayed on a computer screen

If you’d like to find out more about how the MyPhone portal can help make managing your phone system simple, contact our team of business phone experts

How much does a softphone cost?

An Aussie Broadband softphone costs $25 a month per softphone. That includes a $0 setup, unlimited calls to Australian numbers, and ongoing support from our 100% Australian-based business phone experts.

You may also choose add-ons for your phone system at an additional cost, such as:

A dedicated voice over nbn® service: 

A dedicated voice nbn® service gives your phone system its own internet connection. That means it isn't competing with your primary internet for bandwidth. If you rely on bandwidth-intensive internet applications, a dedicated nbn® service ensures your internet use won't impact your phone system. That way, your calls will stay crystal clear, no matter how you use the internet. A dedicated voice over nbn® service with Aussie Broadband costs $89/month.

Accessories: 

Some accessories that enhance your softphone experience include headsets that work with your smartphone or computer and an expansion module that lets you bring additional lines and features to your desk phone.

Handsets: 

Yes, you don't need a physical phone handset to run softphones. But there's always the option to add a handset for your business. The great thing about a phone system that uses softphones is that you don't need to give everyone a handset.

For example, it might make sense to give handsets to your receptionists and front office staff to maintain a professional image. You can also add softphone capability to those handsets so that they can have both options. Handsets** start from $30/month with an additional $5/month to enable softphone capability.

Another additional cost to consider is your softphone app of choice. However, many great softphone apps are entirely free. So whether you pay extra to use a softphone app will come down to your business's needs or preferences.

*Note: Prices correct as of the date of publishing and subject to change in the future. 

How to get a softphone

To get a softphone, you'll need a business phone system. Our business phone systems are hosted in the cloud and managed for you by Aussie Broadband. So, all you'll need to do is connect to the internet, and you can enjoy all the benefits of your softphone on the next generation of phone technology.

Looking for clarity on what the perfect phone system will cost your business? Head over to our voice plan builder. There, you can select the number of softphones you need. You can also add anything else you might want, such as accessories, handsets and a dedicated voice over nbn® service.

Once you've done that, the plan builder will give you an instant, customised quote. After you get your initial quote, you can instantly adjust it by adding and removing features.

Want to keep your business phone number? Don't worry! We'll port your existing number to your new phone system at no charge.

Are you ready to bring next-generation softphone capability to your business?

Whether you're getting too big to be mobile-only or looking for a better deal on your existing business phone system, we can help. Our business phone experts will get to know your business's unique needs, so they can help you make the switch.

Give our team a call on 1300 480 905 and get started today.

Need more data to access softphones on the go? Connect your team with our range of great-value business mobile SIM-only plans and mobile broadband plans.

Disclaimer - **Aussie Broadband ships via Australia Post mail with the option of either standard ($15), express ($20) or courier delivery ($25). Hardware remains the property of Aussie Broadband. T&Cs apply.

Tags:Phone systemsPhoneBusiness

Written by

Michael Hayman Headshot

Michael Hayman

Content Writer

Michael is Aussie Broadband's marketing copywriter. Michael is responsible for content marketing within Aussie's growing business segment, which includes writing and editing web content, marketing collateral, and business editorial blog art...

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