The rising cost of traditional line based communications has led more and more businesses to look towards Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) as their preferred method of both internal and external communications.
When it comes to a VOIP system and equipment, one of the more pressing issues is to wether the office should adapt a software phone based system (softphone) or a hardphone based one.
A VOIP hardphone is similar to a regular telephone except that instead of a regular telephone jack, it has an Ethernet port that enables it to connect to the business’ internet connection.
A softphone is ideal for workers who have a need to be in the phone all day, such as call center agents or telemarketers. It is more comfortable to wear a headset and see the details of a call in a computer screen than to answer it using a physical telephone. The downside is that utilizing a softphone would be a new experience for many individuals. This would mean that the small business might have to invest in training sessions in order for them to maximize their usage.
On the other hand, a hardphone’s advantage comes with people’s familiarity with physical telephones. More often than not, people have already encountered and know how to use a telephone and while the connection method is different, a hardphone provides the ease of use that a normal telephone gives. However, these kinds of VOIP phones are usually limited in its features. Some capabilities that are standard in telephony software programs, such as video conferencing, and call recording, are not often placed in a hardphone.
Given these facts, selecting between the two is finding out how to balance between what the small business is involved in, costs, and the comfort and ability to learn for the people who would use them.