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8x8 Review

Chad Brooks
Chad Brooks
  • 8x8 is a cloud-hosted unified communication system that provides all of the communication tools small businesses need.
  • 8x8 offers three service plans, including one that starts at just $12 per user, per month.
  • We found 8x8's customer support to be top-notch and a step above many of its competitors.
  • This article is for business owners interested in learning more about 8x8, our choice as the best phone system for small businesses.

8x8 has everything small businesses need a in a phone system. It's a reliable, cloud-based unified communications system that is easy to use and packed with valuable calling, collaboration, and mobile features and tools. 8x8's starting price is well below its competitors', even though it offers just as many features (if not more). Highlighting 8x8's service is its customer support team, which was the best we encountered during our research. It's for all of this and more that we chose 8x8 over more than 70 other phone systems as the best phone system for small businesses in 2020.

8x8

8x8

Best Business Phone Systems of 2020

The Verdict

8x8 is our choice as the best small business phone system because it hIt offers the lowest starting price among all of its competitors, has all of the features small businesses need, is easy to use and provides excellent customer support.

To understand how we selected our best picks, you can find our methodology and a comprehensive list of business phone systems on our best picks page

 

Editor's note: Looking for information on business phone systems? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need.

 


Pricing

8x8 pricing is part of what makes it such a solid choice for small businesses. Its base price on its Express plan is far below what its competitors charge.

Small businesses have three service plans to choose from. Here is a breakdown of the plans, which differ in features and price.

  • Express:This plan is designed for businesses with just a handful of employees. It starts at $12 per user, per month and includes unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada, an auto-attendant, voicemail, team messaging, business text messaging, presence indicators, caller ID, call forwarding, ring groups, HD voice, mobile and desktop apps, HD audio and video meetings, and integrations with G Suite and Office 365.

  • X2: The X2 edition starts at $25 per user, per month. It includes everything in the Express plan, plus unlimited calling in 14 countries, an advanced auto-attendant, voicemail transcription, ring groups, hold music, hot desking, call recording, unlimited online faxing and cross-platform messaging.

  • X4: The X4 edition starts at $45 per user, per month. It includes every feature in the X2 plan, plus barge, whisper, and monitor, as well as an operator switchboard and advanced caller analytics. The unlimited calling zone is for 47 countries.

Businesses in need of contact center services can choose from three additional service plans that range from $115 to $175 per user per month. 

Key takeaway: 8x8 has three small business service plans that range from $12 to $45 per user, per month.

Features

8x8 has dozens of calling features, as well as built-in conference calling and video conferencing services that give all users the tools to communicate with others in any way they choose.

Some of the other tools are three-way calling, call forwarding, call waiting and call transferring. You can also view and listen to your voicemails online or have them delivered to your email inbox. Other calling features include automated attendants, ring groups, music on hold, extension dialing, company directories, caller ID and blocking, and a "do not disturb" option.

Additionally, 8x8 offers a variety of tools that facilitate collaboration, including an online chat system and a presence feature that shows which employees are free and who is busy. All service plans include both audio and video conferencing for up to 50 participants at one time.

Key takeaway: 8x8 has a robust set of calling, collaboration and mobile features, providing all of the communication tools small businesses need.

8x8 Pros

8x8 is a cloud-hosted VoIP business phone system, so it doesn't require any complex PBX hardware. All you need is high-speed internet access and IP phones. 

Once your network is configured for the necessary bandwidth (8x8 recommends 100kbps for each concurrent call) and voice traffic is prioritized over other online uses, the system is ready to use as soon as you plug the phones into an Ethernet port.

If you buy your IP phones directly from 8x8, they come preconfigured and ready to use. If you purchase phones from an outside vendor, you will need to work with an 8x8 representative to configure them. You will have the same functionality with either option; however, you will save time getting everything up and running if you purchase the phones directly from 8x8.

As an added benefit, 8x8 provides a technical installation specialist to walk X Series users through the configuration steps in a free one-hour session. Even though the system is easy to use, this extra instruction can be extremely valuable for small businesses that don't have an IT staff to handle their technical needs. The Express plan is designed for users to install and connect on their own. It doesn't come with the same level of support as the X Series plans.

Once the phones are up and running, the entire system can be set up and managed via the online portal. Here, you can do things such as create and set up employee extensions and ring groups. The portal, which you access through the 8x8 website, also allows you to manage billing, run call-log reports and get help if needed. 

Administrators can manage the automated attendant directly from the portal. They can upload their own greetings or custom pre-recorded messages. 8x8 also offers an audio production store for professionally recorded options.

Employees have access to the online portal through the desktop or mobile app or by logging in on any computer connected to the internet. Accessing the system allows employees to use a softphone on their computer to make and receive calls, review the company directory, check their voicemail, and message co-workers. They can also use the portal to make video calls, send and receive online faxes, and conduct web conferences.

Part of 8x8's appeal is its reliability. The company takes several steps to ensure the system is always up and running, including built-in redundancies and multiple data centers and call carriers. It has one of the highest documented uptimes (99.9999%) of all the cloud-hosted VoIP phone systems we investigated. This means the system is down for only a few minutes each year.

To prevent disruptions in service, 8x8 has more than a dozen identical data centers around the world that provide automatic and transparent failover. Each data center is SSAE 16 audited. If one of the data centers crashes, all the information instantly transfers to one of the other locations to keep the service up.

The company also works with call carriers to guarantee high call quality at all times. Before each call, the system selects the path of least resistance. If a carrier goes down, the traffic is automatically redirected to one of the other carriers to ensure call continuity.

Key takeaway: 8x8 is easy to use, requires no equipment to install, has one of the highest reported uptimes in the industry, and maintains sophisticated architecture to ensure service is always up and running.

8x8 Cons

There's not a lot we didn't like about 8x8. One factor that gave us a bit of pause involves its customer support team. While 8x8 offers customer support around the clock, a representative we spoke to said it is not 100% based in the U.S. The rep said there are times when you may be asked to speak to a support technician overseas.

Key takeaway: Not all of 8x8's customer support team is based in the U.S.

Customer Service

Overall, 8x8 offered some of the best customer service we received during our analysis of business phone systems. To gauge the level of support it offers, we called the company numerous times, posing as a new business owner interested in phone systems.

All the representatives we spoke with answered our calls promptly and gave clear, detailed answers to our questions. At no point were any of them pushy, and none tried to give us a hard sell of the service.

We also received follow-up emails from the representatives. Anytime we sent them a question, they always responded promptly with an answer and the offer to jump on another call for more details.

8x8 offers customer support 24/7, and it has a host of valuable resources online. Its website includes a knowledgebase with detailed information on how to set up and use the system.

8x8 is an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau. As of July 2020, 46 complaints had been closed against 8x8 closed in the past three years.

Key takeaway: 8x8 provided the best customer support we found during our evaluation of business phone system providers.

Ready to choose a business phone system? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

Editor's note: Looking for information on business phone systems? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need. 

 
 

Image Credit: Ridofranz / Getty Images
8x8

8x8

Best Business Phone Systems of 2020

The Verdict

8x8 is our choice as the best small business phone system because it hIt offers the lowest starting price among all of its competitors, has all of the features small businesses need, is easy to use and provides excellent customer support.

Chad Brooks
Chad Brooks,
Business News Daily Writer
See Chad Brooks's Profile
Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor who has spent more than 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014.