Dare to ditch the desk phone?


As a growing business, you're constantly seeking ways to streamline operations, improve productivity, and cut unnecessary costs. One area where significant progress has been made is in telecommunication with the advent of Voice over IP (VoIP) technology, and it's time to reevaluate whether your trusty desk phone is keeping up with the pace of modern technology. Let's explore the numerous benefits of that VoIP systems can offer over traditional desk phones:

Why change?

Maybe those tangled cords are enough of a reason to give your phone the permanent boot, but if you need more, there are plenty.

  • Less switching, more doing: Traditional desk phones offer a limited interface with few options for customization. This often requires users to navigate through complicated menus and multiple applications leading to reduced efficiency and poorer customer service. A softphone brings all your features into one interface that is more visual and intuitive than the screen of a desk phone.
  • Flexibility and Mobility: Traditional desk phones tether you to your desk, limiting your communication options. By adopting modern alternatives, you can seamlessly switch between desktop and mobile devices and take calls from anywhere. Whether you're in the office, at home, or on the go, you’re able to stay connected and maintain productivity on your terms.
  • Seamless Integration: VoIP solutions integrate with other business tools, like customer relationship management (CRM) systems, email clients, and productivity software —providing better, quicker, more personalized customer experiences because agents have information and tools easily accessible in one place.
  • Cost savings: Running a business isn't cheap, and traditional desk phones can add to the expense. VoIP phone alternatives eliminate the need for costly hardware and maintenance, reducing your communication-related costs significantly. Your streamlined tech stack and workflows will also save you and your team time and time saved is money saved.
  • Multi-Channel Communication: Let’s face it, your desk phone is a ‘uni-tasker’. It’s really only good at one thing and one thing only – handling phone calls. In today’s multi-channel world, businesses are working to engage customers across many different channels including email, SMS, webchat, and even social media. Worried your desk phone may not be up to the task? Adopting an alternative may open the door to multiple channels in a single tool allowing you to meet your customers where they are.

Now that I’ve opened your mind to the shortcomings of that old box on your desk, you may be asking yourself “What, then, should I use?” When considering cloud-based phone systems or ‘soft phones’, there are a number of different options to consider:

  • Computer-based soft phone: If you already have a computer, you already have almost everything you need to dump that desk phone. This version of soft phone can come in the form of a desktop application which you install, or it could also work through your web browser eliminating the need to install any software at all. I would suggest using a desktop application when possible because it can allow for closer integration with your computer, giving you better experience with things like headset control and notifications.
  • Mobile-based soft phone: Very similar to a computer-based soft phone but scaled to fit the screen of your mobile device. This option offers the most mobility and is great for field employees since you can receive calls anywhere your device has connection to the internet (cellular data or Wi-Fi). But beware, this option also opens the door to receiving calls at times and at places where you may not want to be taking work calls, so make sure to familiarize yourself with your scheduling options to prevent unwanted calls at unwanted times.
  • Integrated soft phone: Technically this option is also used on the computer, but the difference is that it may be integrated directly into another application that you already use such as a CRM. Integrated soft phones will differ based on your provider and the application it is integrated with, but they might offer some of the following advantages in addition to basic dialing functionality;
    • Click-To-Dial: This is the ability to click on a phone number within your application, such as the phone number on a contacts page, and the integrated soft phone will dial the number automatically for you saving you time.
    • Call Logging: Because the phone is functioning inside of your application, it allows for the automatic logging of calls you make and can post them to relevant records and reports. For example, your CRM can show you the details for every call which was had with a particular contact including when it occurred and who spoke with them.
    • Incoming Call Screen-Pop: When receiving a call, your CRM can identify a known caller and open a particular page allowing you to not only see exactly who is calling but have their contact page open and ready for you before you even answer the call giving you valuable information without having to search for and navigate to it.
  • *Honorable Mention* Click-to-Dial browser extension: A form of integrated soft phone built into your browser allowing you the ability to click phone numbers on any web page initiating a call to the number. Often times this works in conjunction with another device (desk phone or soft phone) by routing the outbound call right to it.

Everybody can benefit from adopting one or more of the soft phone alternatives listed above, but there may be cases in which you may want or need to keep a desk phone in use. Let me cover some of those considerations.

  • Sidecars and physical buttons: Somebody in a reception-type role who is fielding and transferring many calls may find an advantage to having many physical buttons at your fingertips for quick transfers and call controls. This is often accomplished with a sidecar which is a piece of hardware connected to your desk phone and just serves to add more buttons. As convenient as software is, I think the press of a physical button will always come out ahead of mouse navigation when it comes to speed. Some softphones may include a specific design to accommodate this need, sometimes called a ‘receptionist console’, but not all soft phones will have this design.
  • Integrated Paging and Door Phones: In some cases, you may have overhead paging speakers in your building that are integrated into your phone system allowing you to press a button to broadcast a message. Or you may have a door phone which allows you to speak to somebody at the door and let them inside with the press of a button on your phone. In some cases, this type of integration is only possible with a physical phone. Consult a technician to understand your hardware needs in these cases.
  • Accessibility Features: Teletypewriters (TTY), Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) and Text Telephones (TT) are special devices used by people who can’t use a regular desk phone due to hearing loss or speech impairment and allows for conversations to be typed or displayed as text on the phone. There may not be a sufficient soft phone alternative to meet the needs of these users and care should be taken that users have access to a device that meets their needs.
  • Conference Phones: Physical conference phones incorporate special hardware designed for use in conference rooms where the users may be further away from the phone than with a standard desk phone, such as microphones capable of picking up speech from everybody in the room, and speakers which can clearly project the conversation for all to hear.

If these are not important to you then you are probably one of the many people who can enjoy the extra space on your desk where your phone once lived. How about a desktop water feature?

Ditching your desk phone in favor of modern communication and collaboration tools can lead to enhanced mobility, cost savings, and improved productivity. By embracing desktop and mobile soft phone apps, software-integrated solutions, and click-to-dial browser extensions, your business can stay connected in a more efficient and flexible manner. And while some roles may still benefit from retaining desk phones, wireless headsets and call forwarding options can still provide helpful mobility solutions.

As you contemplate the future of your business communication, remember that modernization is the key to staying ahead in the competitive landscape of today's business world. So, ask yourself if it’s time to wave goodbye to your traditional desk phone and say hello to a brighter and more connected future!

Related Posts

  • How to port an existing number to VoIP

    By Valerie Hulon
    Read Article
  • 8 must-have features for your business phone system

    By Meghan Brisson
    Read Article
  • What’s new: Smarter and easier features to improve productivity for GoTo Connect

    By Ankita Dasgupta
    Read Article