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Desk Phones vs. Soft Phones for the SMB

Posted by Michael Cromwell

May 16, 2019

Your cloud-based phone system works very well in the cloud, routing calls though auto attendants and voicemails.  But at some point you need to precipitate (incoming call from the cloud) or evaporate (outgoing calls to the cloud).  To do this you require an end-point of some type. Most commonly, these end-points are either a desktop phone or a soft phone client running on a wireless phone or a computer. Which is better for your small to medium business?  

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? This article will explore and answer these questions.


Desk Phones

Desk phones, from manufacturers like Poly to Yealink, are designed to provide a traditional feel to your communications. On the positive side as they are dedicated devices desktop phones do what they do very well. They are reliable, sound great, and don't run many applications that distract from the phone call itself. Working against them is that lack of versatile applications. It often seems like a desktop phone is a wasted space on your desk if you don't take many calls in a day. Long calls can be tiresome to hold a handset to your head, and dedicated hands free units are in additional expense. All in all it takes up space in your desk costs money but does what it does very well.

Workers who stay at their desk find a desktop phone to work best for them. Call center agents, customer care people, and even office workers with an assigned desk may find this most useful if they spend a lot of time on the phone.

Mobile Client

A mobile client runs on your Android or Apple operating system telephone. It serves often as a chat client as well as a telephone dialer. Depending on your application your corporate directory may even be loaded in. On the other hand minute for data usage becomes a factor if you use this as your primary phone. Also, some applications are interrupted by a incoming phone call for the telephone number itself, placing your business call on hold unexpectedly. While cell phone mobile clients are convenient and give you the ability to work away from the office they do have their drawbacks.

Outside sales professionals really benefit from the mobile app because of the professionalism of an office number routing to their cell phone, and they can always be reached.

Soft Phone Desktop Client

Finally a soft phone desktop client puts a chat and smartphone dialer as an application on your PC or Mac. Chatting is easy because you have a full keyboard, you can look at presence, and escalate phone calls easily from chats to calls to conference calls to video calls. Downsides here include quality of sound. Good headsets can take care of this but that's just another piece of equipment you'll have to carry with you. In addition as most laptop computers are not cellular ready, you will only be able to use this phone in a Wi-Fi area.

Office workers who do not frequently use the phone can benefit from a desktop client. Instant message might be a more reliable and common form of communication for them, but They can still make a call if necessary.

The best solution for managers and executives combines all three, with the ability to pull your calls from one end point to another. You can begin a call on your desktop phone at 4:50 in the afternoon, then pull a call to your cell phone and leave the office to continue the call on your commute home. Likewise, when you coming to the office you can move a call from your cell phone to your desktop client or desktop phone.

Topics: Mobility, Telephony

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