What’s the Difference Between a Softphone and a Hard Phone?

The concept of being “at the office” might soon become a thing of the past.

Over 40% of America is now working remotely. Thanks to continued innovations in technology, conducting business without a physical office is now easier than ever.

While there are obvious benefits to having a remote workforce, it is not without its challenges. One of the standout shortcomings is that it makes communication more difficult, whether it’s between staff or with customers.

To overcome this obstacle, many businesses are switching to the softphone for a communication solution. Unlike hard phones, softphones enable seamless communication between your staff and customers, no matter where they are.

If you’re switching to a remote platform for your business, softphone technology will help eliminate any hiccups in communication. But what is a softphone and how does it differ from a hard phone?

Keep reading to learn more about the remote communication solution of softphone technology.

What is a Hard Phone?

The term “hard phone” refers to in-office business phones. If you picture your standard everyday desk phone, that’s essentially what a hard phone is.

The key difference between what you’d call a “hard phone” and a traditional phone is that a hard phone dials over an IP network. While this enables helpful functions such as conferencing, software integrations, and call monitoring, it tethers that phone to the physical location of its IP address. When you’re working with a staff who does not physically come to the office, this hard phone technology comes up short.

What is a Softphone?

Unlike a hard phone, a softphone isn’t a physical phone at all. Instead, the softphone is a software program that is capable of being downloaded onto any device, from any location. Once it’s been added to the device, that device can now make and receive calls through the softphone program, along with a number of other advanced calling features.

If you’re interested in all the capabilities of VoIP, a softphone is a great way to integrate this technology into your remote workforce. With a single, user-friendly interface, your staff can make and receive calls, hop on video calls, forward calls, record calls, and do a ton of other phone-related tasks with ease.

How a Softphone Works

A softphone works with VoIP technology, allowing you to make and receive calls over the internet rather than a phone line. All you need is a device with speakers and a microphone, along with an internet connection. You can choose to take calls back and forth from your hard phone, or you can use only the softphone: either way, you’ll enjoy the same advanced features.

The Key Benefits of Softphone Technology

With so much of the workforce going remote, businesses are struggling to adapt. A softphone helps ensure that you get all the benefits of your office phone (without the actual office phone).


With softphone technology, you can run the software from any compatible device, wherever there’s an internet connection. You can use this technology to switch back and forth between a hard phone, or even to replace that hard phone entirely.

With the flexibility and portability of a softphone, you are able to work anywhere, whether it’s at home, in a coffee shop, or even traveling abroad. Plus, if you’re waiting on an important call, you won’t be stuck sitting near your hard phone and waiting for that call to come through.

Ease of Use

Softphone technology is easy to install and run from any compatible device. Its user-friendly interface is designed to mimic the hard phone you’re already used to using. Plus, it boasts even more features designed for ease-of-use, including a built-in business directory and simple call monitoring tools.


You might think that softphone technology is limiting when compared to your traditional hard phone, but this isn’t the case. In fact, your softphone can do everything your hard phone can do, with the added bonus of being remote.

Here are some of the key functions of a softphone:

  • Conference calling
  • Call waiting
  • Call transferring
  • Personalized greetings and call menus
  • Voicemail
  • One-touch calling
  • Caller information and history with your business
  • Muting and volume control

Despite its lack of physical buttons, a softphone is designed to mimic the full functionality of your desk phone. This allows you to get all the features you need without being tied down to a physical office location.

Employee Privacy

Many businesses rely on cell phones to keep their remote staff members in touch with other staff members as well as customers. However, especially when personal phone numbers are being used, this isn’t the ideal solution.

One of the most notable advantages of softphone technology is that it keeps your employees’ cell phone numbers private. Plus, they will not have to eat up their personal data or call minutes for work purposes. Instead, they can download the softphone technology straight to their mobile device and do everything through an easy-to-use interface.

Keeping Your Business Number Consistent

Your clients and customers are bound to be a little confused if they see multiple numbers popping up on their caller ID whenever they’re interacting with different members of your staff. For consistency, clarity, and a better overall look for your business, softphone technology is the way to go.

Advanced Tracking Features for Remote Staff

It’s not always easy managing a staff that you can’t see. If you’re sending calls to your remote employees via cell phone, then that leaves you with a lot of blind areas.

A softphone can monitor and track calls from your remote staff, creating a call log on your dashboard. This simplifies the process of call tracking for managers and employees alike.

Integrating Softphone Technology Into Your Workflow

If you’re still using cell phones to conduct business remotely, then you’re missing out on all the benefits a remote phone system has to offer. Now that you know more about what a softphone is versus a hard phone, integrate this technology into your remote workflow today!

Contact us now for a free consultation to get started!

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