In this article we cover: ― what a virtual phone number is; ― four aspects which a cloud phone system can improve; ― who will benefit from implementing a virtual phone service. Why my business needs a virtual phone number? In contrast to conventional phone numbers which are strictly bound to landlines or sim-cards, a…
VoIP Desk Phone: Does Your Team Need One?
Some things are meant to be together. Things like peanut butter and jelly, bacon and eggs, office desks and phones. Walk into any modern office and you’ll find employees paired up with their good old desk phones, just like they have been for decades. But is there more to it than meets the eye?
What you won’t see at first glance is that in place of a standard office desk phone, those employees may be using a modern, cost-effective calling solution – a VoIP desk phone. Though the unsuspecting onlooker may fail to spot the difference between a VoIP desk phone and a standard office desk phone, it’s what’s on the inside that matters.
Even at its most basic, a VoIP desk phone provides unparalleled communication and eliminates the need for costly PSTN landlines that can be a dealbreaker for any mindful business owner. Add the fact that VoIP phones are extremely user-friendly and demand no change in tech habits from your employees, and you have a natural complement to your VoIP phone system for business.
Here’s what you should know when getting a VoIP phone for your team:
- What is a VoIP desk phone/hardphone?
- When do you need a VoIP desk phone?
- How to choose the best phone for your business
- VoIP desk phone/hardphone alternatives
What is a VoIP desk phone (hardphone)?
A VoIP phone is often called a ‘hardphone’ because in contrast to a ‘softphone’ which is software downloaded to your computer and other devices, a hardphone is a “touch-and-feel” phone with a receiver and dial pad where you push real (not virtual) buttons.
With all its outer similarity to a regular desk phone, a VoIP desk phone functions nothing like your grandma’s plain old phone. Instead of connecting to a regular phone service provider via landline wires (as was once the case for all desk phones), a VoIP desk phone works with a virtual phone system and manages all communication via a network connection.
Image: Cisco IP Phone
By removing the need for landline wires, VoIP phones/hardphones give users extra features and substantial communication savings as compared to analog phones. Though hardphones cost a bit more to implement than softphones, hardphones can be preferable for specific industries and more traditional business environments, and pair incredibly well with general VoIP business phone system savings.
When do you need a VoIP desk phone?
- You’ve just switched to a VoIP phone system
If you’re new to virtual phone systems for business, you may want to start off with a hardphone rather than softphone. As a basic IP hardphone looks and feels exactly like a landline desk phone, you won’t have to adapt to the specifics of softphones but can start using your new VoIP plan without changing communication habits.
- Your employees feel more comfortable with “physical” phones
Your business may employ people who’ve been using analog phones for a really long time. Likewise, your industry may be less tech-focused and may employ senior citizens who’re more comfortable with standard desk phones. Either way, with a VoIP phone, your employees won’t notice any difference regarding their calling habits – but you will surely notice the savings of using a VoIP phone system like MightyCall in place of a standard landline provider.
- Audio quality is your top priority
With all their added versatility and wirelessness, call quality on softphones still varies based on the software, your device, etc. A VoIP desk phone/hardphone is a separate piece of hardware specifically for handling communication, that’s why things like a slow-running computer won’t ever interfere with your call quality.
- Your business communication is limited to the office
How important is mobility for your employees? If all of the work is done in-office and your employees don’t telecommute, basic IP hardphones will be a simple alternative to softphones which work best for employees and business environments that demand increased mobility.
- You’ve set aside a budget for getting new office hardware
Like any physical phone, a desk phone is real hardware that you have to buy for each person who handles communication within your team. If you have been considering upgrading your office hardware, and specifically your phone system, it’s a great time to make the switch to a virtual phone system (VoIP) for business and VoIP desk phones/hardphones.
How to choose the best hardphone for your business
On Amazon alone, the number of VoIP hardphones available is enough to make your head spin. So how do you choose the right VoIP desk phone for business, especially when you’re getting your office (re)equipped and can’t afford second guesses?
To put it briefly, your choice should depend on three simple things:
- Ease of use
- Fancy features
With VoIP desk phones, you can choose between basic models that are as simple to use as any landline phone, business models that have additional features appropriate for tech-friendly users, and even ultra-modern Android-powered desk phones.
VoIP desk phones for small business and standard-load communication
Basic VoIP phones include a dial pad, receiver, and standard phone features like voicemail, call holding, call transfer, and volume controls. Such desk phones also have options which let you “switch lines” like you would on a landline phone. Though on an IP phone this is done via your network connection and not a landline, the process feels no different from a standard phone. Depending on the model, a basic phone will provide you with two or three virtual lines. Basic phones will be a good option if you’re new to VoIP, have a limited budget, or need to provide a larger team with desk phones while sticking to the advantages of virtual phone systems. Basic VoIP phones cost around $80-$150 (new models) or you can get a refurbished version for as low as $20 on some models.
Image: Yealink cordless IP phone
VoIP video desk phones
These desk phones have a camera and support video calls in addition to the features of a basic VoIP desk phone. The HD quality video and audio are a nice bonus that turn your phone into a multimedia communications feature, much like a video calling app on your computer or smartphone. These phones will be extra handy for solopreneurs and small business owners who need a single desk phone for both personal and business communication. VoIP video desk phones cost upwards of $200.
Image: Cisco CP-8865 IP phone
Enterprise-level phones for managers and heavy-load communication
Business-optimized phones have greater capabilities than a basic IP desk phone. This comes in handy for large teams, busy salespeople and managers. An advanced VoIP phone includes multiple lines for your calls (usually 4-8). Some models have Bluetooth-enhanced integration with mobile phones so you can make and receive calls, import your personal contacts, and even charge your mobile phone through your desk phone! Prices start at $88.
Image: Grandstream Enterprise IP phone
Conferencing VoIP desk phones
Conferencing VoIP desk phones are special business phones for managers and directors of mid-sized business who need the conferencing feature with enhanced audio pickup. Conferencing hardhones have a special design that allows clear 2-way conversation and a mic with powerful pick-up range, plus all the regular features of a VoIP desk phone. Conferencing IP phones cost starting at $250.
Image: Polycom Soundstation IP phone
Android-powered desk phone
The latest word in VoIP hardphones, Android-powered desk phones are half phone – half tablet that come with multiple lines and SIP accounts, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, PoE, and a touch screen. The innovative features make this hardphone into a single communication feature that runs on the Android 7.0 OS. If you want the latest in both convenience and usefulness for your business, plus are in love with tech innovations, an Android-powered desk phone may be the perfect choice for your director’s desk, wherever it may be. Prices start at $270.
Image: Grandstream video phone Android
While many hardphones look similar, some models and products have different connection specifications that might not work with your particular business phone system. Before you buy a VoIP desk phone/hardphone, contact your VoIP provider directly to make sure any hardware you buy is 100% compatible with your current virtual phone system.
For questions related to choosing or connecting an IP desk phone to your MightyCall business phone system, contact our support team anytime and check out MightyCall guidelines on connecting a VoIP desk phone/hardphone.
VoIP desk phone alternatives
Sometimes you’re not entirely sure whether a VoIP desk phone is exactly what you need, even after checking out all the options. In such cases, it’s good to remember that, with a virtual phone system for business such as MightyCall, your communication options aren’t limited to hardphones. Many business owners choose VoIP softphones as a cost-effective alternative for their calling needs.
A VoIP softphone may suit your needs when:
- You’re opting for maximum savings on communication
- Mobility is a priority for your employees
- Your employees are used to virtual calling apps
If that sounds like you, check our post on using VoIP softphones for business and more.
Whatever phone option you decide to opt for, make sure to take your employees’ needs, tech adaptability, business environment and budget into consideration before making the final decision between a VoIP desk phone and softphone.
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