Free vs Paid Windows Softphones: 5 Top Features You Should Look For (2021 Update)
There are many programs that provide useful functions for free. This can encourage users to avoid paid products. But we all know that free and high-quality do not always go hand in hand. Therefore, we will present a few factors that should be considered when choosing a softphone, regardless of whether it is paid or not.
Not so free
Most free softphones provide basic functionality for successful customer communication and call center management. This may actually be enough at first. However, if you need additional features in the future, such as advanced data analysis or the automation of some calling processes, you will have to pay for them to be added. So, as your company grows, your softphone costs can increase as well.
Therefore, before introducing something new, it is important to clearly understand what is needed now and what may be useful in the future. It may be worthwhile to implement paid functions from the start, in order to avoid data loss during the transition and time spent on reconfiguring the program.
Consider the Long Term
In this case, choosing the free option will be a mistake, since sooner or later you will need a more extensive list of functions to analyze the work of your operators. Therefore, in our opinion, it is better to immediately implement the paid version, so as not to waste time on this later.
Paid programs, as a rule, offer a range of different tariffs, with different sets of functions, which are suitable for any business and are assembled for each specific case. By choosing the option that best meets your requirements, you will avoid unnecessary costs.
In addition to purchasing licenses in the process of product adaptation, you will need expert help
After purchasing and installing the program, users often have problems with personalizing the softphone to fit their needs.
Technical support can help you in solving these issues. As a rule, free programs do not provide this. This is another advantage of paid softphones over free ones.
It is the technical support specialists who will be able to help you troubleshoot softphone problems, and advise on the functionality and customization of the program.
And while we are talking about the choice between paid and free software options, we will explore some useful, in our opinion, functions in modern paid softphones.
Function 1: Automated setup and ease of use for Windows softphone
The very first and one of the most difficult stages of working with a softphone is its installation and configuration. Often, in order to launch the program and ensure its correct operation, it is necessary to set the parameters of the SIP account so that it can connect to the telephony server. For an unprepared person, it even sounds difficult, not to mention trying to figure it out and set it up correctly.
Here is an example of SIP account settings in a popular free program:
And if you have to change the settings, then the user will be completely confused:
Therefore, advanced paid softphones have a centralized configuration function.
How this function works: the user downloads the program, launches it and logs in, and the settings are automatically loaded from the server.
Learn more about this feature in our knowledge base.
Function 2: Call transfer in softphones for Windows
This is one of the most popular features, but most free software doesn't offer it.
Call Transfer allows you to transfer a call from the original recipient to another person. For example, this feature will save time if the customer initially contacts the wrong department. Or, if the operator does not have the necessary knowledge, he or she can immediately redirect the caller to a more knowledgeable colleague.
You can read more about this feature in Softphone.Pro in the article Call Transfer.
Function 3: Presence indication (BLF)
This function will show the statuses of colleagues, reducing the time for dialing in, if you need to transfer a call. The operator immediately sees which of the employees is online, who has left, and who is busy with ACW.
In Softphone.Pro, it looks like this:
For more information on settings, see here.
Function 4: ACW
This is another feature that the free versions do not have.
As a rule, after the end of the call, the operator needs to enter information about the conversation in the CRM, so that colleagues can quickly navigate and help the client next time. This is called after call work.
And so that the operator is not distracted and does not make mistakes, a special status has been developed for post-processing. It helps not only to disconnect the softphone from the call distribution system for a while, but also when collecting statistics on the work of the call center.
This status eliminates two problems:
- Frees the operator from incoming calls during ACW.
- Allows you to effectively distribute incoming calls to operators and reduce the average response time. When this status is in operation, the system will only direct calls to free operators.
Function 5: Call Recorder & Operator Screen Capture
These are two features that not even all paid programs have.
Call recording allows you to listen to the conversation between the operator and the client at any time after its completion. This is useful when you have a dispute, a complaint, or when evaluating an employee's performance.
Capturing the operator's screen will show what actions the operator took during the conversation with the customer. It will also help in assessing the quality of work or addressing questions from the supervisor.
Function 6: Time tracking
These are the very detailed reports that were discussed at the beginning of the article. The most common among them are: distribution of calls by operators, call duration, total load on operators, post-processing time. However, others may be included, depending on the client's request.
Such comprehensive reporting helps to qualitatively assess the work of the call center, adjust the workload on operators in order to avoid burnout, or track why a particular employee has problems with the plan.
Softphone.Pro Team has 15 types of reports that collect information about work from all sides.
Function 7: Integration with CRM and Helpdesk in softphones for Windows
This is perhaps the most useful feature for call centers.
Call processing always leads to a certain result: filling out a customer card or entering an application into the system. And this result is always recorded in the CRM system or Helpdesk.
However, no one except Softphone.Pro has instant integration functionality, even in paid versions of popular programs.
Softphone.Pro is the only Windows softphone that has this mechanism built in.
Instant integration makes it possible to set up integration with any CRM or Helpdesk system, quickly and without the participation of a programmer:
- Pop-up customer card.
- Display the name of the client, downloaded from CRM or Helpdesk, in the softphone and quick transition to his or her page directly from the program.
- Save call information, audio recording and screen video.
- Save statistics of working hours.
- Call by click from CRM or Helpdesk.
- Call management directly from CRM: completion, translation, playing audio messages and so on.
Learn more about this feature in our Knowledge Base.
The list included here is far from complete. This is just our selection of the top features for call centers provided by paid softphones. They provide more opportunities for the analysis of team robots and department management, as well as allowing faster call processing, reducing the client's waiting time.
Free softphones are ideal for short-term use, in order to understand what features you need specifically. But for permanent, long-term use, we recommend choosing the paid option with advanced features.
And if you are put off by the fear of losing data when switching from one softphone to another, then we suggest you try our Softphone.Pro right away. It has a free two-week trial period, so if you make a positive decision, you do not have to transfer data from one program to another.