- Comprehensive set of tools
- Unlimited calling for over 40 countries
- Free number
- Built-in web conferencing
- Built-in team messaging
- Hard-to-find cancellation fees
- No refunds
Launched in 1987, 8×8 is one of the pioneers in the virtual phone system industry. With over 40 years of experience, the company has developed a comprehensive platform that allows you to deploy the phone system of your dreams, and much more. Users enjoy a free number (local, toll-free, or international) and unlimited calling for over 40 countries. Of course, it includes all call handling tools, and the software offers high levels of customization when it comes to setting up your phone system. Moreover, the platform comes with decent web conferencing and team messaging tools, making it the all-in-one platform for all things communication. Prices start at just $12 per user per month, and it’s possible to test the software for free for 30 days. Finally, larger companies looking for a contact center can take advantage of 8×8’s more expensive plans to add social media, CRM, and live chat to their dashboard.
Without a doubt, 8×8 is one of the most comprehensive virtual phone systems on the market. From advanced call handling tools to video conferencing, faxing, and texting – 8×8 can do it all.
The virtual phone system also has unlimited calling for up to 47 countries, including the U.S., UK, New Zealand, and Canada. So, you can make and receive calls from all over the world without worrying about paying extra at the end of the month.
8×8 is divided into two – with the online dashboard dedicated mostly to admin configuration, reporting, and call handling setup, and the desktop and mobile apps (called ‘Work’) where users can access the softphone, instant messaging, and web conferencing. The work platform is intuitive and includes the essential features. It’s possible to set up a status message, availability, record (or upload) a voicemail message, import contacts from Google or Outlook, and more.
The built-in web conferencing is also something to praise. While simple, it offers everything team members require for day-to-day operations. It’s possible to either start a web conference at any time by sharing your meeting space link or join a scheduled meeting with just a few clicks. The platform even comes with features to share presentations and change the background. 8×8’s video conferencing supports up to 100 attendees, which is more than enough for most companies.
Likewise, the straightforward instant messaging tools offer everything a team member could need. It supports one-on-one conversations, group chats, and file attachments. In short, 8×8 can easily become your company’s mainstay for internal communication, without the need to invest in third-party web conferencing or instant messaging platforms. Another service you won’t have to think about is online faxing, as 8×8 also includes unlimited faxing.
Finally, if you’re willing to invest a bit more money every month, 8×8 could be your omnichannel contact center. As well as adding built-in CRM to the mix, the company includes social media messaging, live chat, advanced call routing, and much more.
Call handling tools are the most crucial part of a virtual phone system. Considering how comprehensive 8×8 is, it’s not surprising that it comes with all the bells and whistles. Even the basics, such as call forwarding or voicemail, stand out from the competition because of their extensive configuration.
But 8×8’s advanced features are where the virtual system shows off its decades of experience. For example, the hot desking allows users to log in to a shared phone as if it were their own. This is especially useful for phone systems that are online 24/7, as employees with rotating shift schedules can use the same phone line. Another neat feature is the phone paging. In this case, you can send one-way audio announcements to everyone or specified groups of users.
It only takes a few clicks to transfer a call. But, more importantly, 8×8 allows for call parking. If no one is available to answer the transferred call, users can park it in the cloud instead, freeing up their phone to make or receive other calls. When the appropriate team member is free, they can connect with the customer on hold.
Phone System Management
It goes without saying that 8×8 comes with comprehensive phone system management tools as well. In fact, there are so many options that it can be a bit overwhelming for new users. Fortunately, the admin dashboard is straightforward to navigate around, and it’s easy to find all the configurations. Each user has their own settings, all organized on one page.
While some tools just have an on/off button, others can take a bit longer to set up – such as the call forwarding option. Depending on the caller and timing, you can forward calls to specific team members, groups of people, or voicemail.
Meanwhile, the admin console includes all the necessary elements to set up your VoIP at a business level. This is where you can arrange everything you need to deploy your virtual phone system, including auto attendant, business hours, ring groups, extensions, new users, phone numbers, and more. Even though it will take some time to configure everything due to the high level of possible customization, 8×8 lets you build the phone system of your dreams.
Each user gets a free number with their 8×8 subscription. They can choose between a local, toll-free, or vanity number, as well as an international virtual number. 8×8 supports international phone lines in over 170 countries, and most of them are also free of charge. If you already have a phone number and would prefer to stick with it, you’ll be happy to know that 8×8 porting services come at zero cost.
Sometimes a business needs additional phone lines, and 8×8 is happy to provide them. Each extra number costs $5 per month and can be conveniently purchased via the admin console. Finally, setting up extensions is a piece of cake, and the virtual phone system supports an unlimited number of them.
A missed call may mean a missed opportunity. So, it’s important to be reachable at all times. Thankfully, 8×8 comes with a user-friendly mobile app that allows you to bring your softphone, video conferencing, instant messaging, and voicemail everywhere.
Although the mobile app doesn’t come with all the settings found on its desktop counterpart, it’s still possible to set up simple call forwarding and notifications, as well as change your status. Plus, 8×8 pulls all the contacts saved on your phone automatically and allows you to organize them in personal and work lists.
Finally, you can mute the mobile app manually or by defining business hours. This way, you can have 8×8 installed on your personal phone without worrying about getting work calls on your day off.
On the virtual phone system’s integration page, you’ll find how to connect 8×8 with CRM platforms, messaging apps, contact center software, and more. Plus, you can expand your third-party app connections to over 4,000 with Zapier.
By taking advantage of the innumerable platform integrations, you can make calls directly from Microsoft Teams, compile call information in one CRM platform, send text messages to Facebook leads, automatically schedule appointments, etc. – the sky is the limit.
Small teams can enjoy 8×8 for as low as $12 per user per month. The Express subscription offers a free local number, unlimited calling within the U.S. and Canada, call handling tools, video and audio conferencing for up to 100 users, and team messaging. This is also the only plan that comes with a 30-day free trial.
However, larger companies with international customers and the need for a more complete solution will see better value in the X-series plans. The X2 subscription not only offers unlimited calling to 14 countries but also unlocks toll-free numbers and more advanced features. The monthly price is $32 per user, but you can get a 25% discount by opting for the annual billing cycle. Meanwhile, the X4 plan offers unlimited calling to 47 countries, call monitoring, and a live call dashboard. You can also get a discount by opting for a yearly subscription, which translates into $44 per user per month.
8×8 contact center solutions (X6, X7, and X8) range from $95 to $133 per month per user. They come with various neat features, such as skills-based routing, social media messaging, and multi-screening monitoring. Keep in mind that 8×8 doesn’t offer refunds and will charge you a disconnection fee of up to $200 if you cancel your subscription within the first year of use.
8×8 offers 24/7 customer support via live chat, a ticket system, and phone. From our experience, agents don’t take too long to respond and will do their best to help. The knowledge base is also thorough but a bit difficult to navigate. There’s a lot of information in there, and it can be challenging to find what you’re after if you don’t know what terms to search for. Fortunately, you can talk to a chatbot before connecting to a client service agent. After you ask your question, the software will find any related articles within the knowledge base. The company is also active on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, so you can get in touch by directly messaging customer support on Messenger or tweeting them. Last but not least, 8×8’s YouTube channel features various video tutorials to help you set up your account.
Overall, 8×8 is a comprehensive virtual phone system packed with all the call handling and phone system management tools you could need. Better yet, the software supports video conferencing and instant messaging, making 8×8 the only software you’ll need for external and internal communication. True enough, the platform can be a bit overwhelming at first. Even so, the setup itself isn’t too tricky, just time-consuming. The price is also affordable – starting at $12 per month per user – and you can try the Express subscription for free for 30 days. The only thing we would change is the hard-to-find disconnection fees. Something that may cost users $200 for canceling their subscription within one year shouldn’t be buried in the company’s terms of services. Still, 8×8 is a great virtual phone system that works for both small and large companies.