Advisors increasingly are moving to (VOIP) voice over Internet protocol phone systems, which often means using software as a phone, a “softphone.” Some software-phones allow you to answer or hang up on a call from wherever you are in your office. That’s cool and convenient.
I’ve previously written about the virtues of VOIP phone systems for RIAS. But before you switch to a VOIP phone system, it is wise to consider how you will answer your phone.
Anyone who has ever used a headset-lifter knows the convenience it provides. You can be as much as 100 feet from your desk and still answer the phone.
For years, I used a headset lifter. With a mechanical headset lifter, a mechanical device physically lifts and lowers the headset. When the phone rang, I could pick up the phone from anywhere in my office. The device that picks ups and lowers the headset is controlled wirelessly be me. I could pick up the phone anywhere in the house and even in the backyard.
But when I switched to a VOIP phone system, the Polycom VOIP phones recommended by my VOIP software provider did not work with my mechanical handset lifter. Suddenly, I could no longer answer my phone or hang it up unless I was sitting in front of my desk. It was one of the irksome cases where taking two steps by switching to VOIP meant taking a step back in convenience.
In looking for a solution, I discovered that now you can buy VOIP phones that can be controlled wirelessly with software. Moreover, some softphones also enable you to answer and hang up on calls when you’re away from your desk.
Connecting the headset to the phone with two special cords ($15 GN Netcom 2.5MM TO RJ-9 Audio Cord for Polycom 320/330 and a $28 Jabra GN Polycom Electronic Hookswitch Cord), enables me to answer and hang up the phone from anywhere in the house.
If you want to be able to roam your office and still answer the phone, this set up is useful. But before buying a phone and headset, you want to be sure your hardware supports the remote pick-up feature.
The remote pickup feature is also possible with a softphone. In fact, you won’t need the special connectors to make it work. When buying a VOIP phone system, ask the vendor what headsets support the remote pick-up and hang-up feature before you buy the system