8×8 is the best business phone system for basic services. Businesses seeking a unified communications platform will find exceptional value with 8×8’s unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada, auto attendants, and other call management features.
8×8 is a unified communications platform for voice, video and chat that’s available through two business communications plans starting at $24 per monthly user when paid annually. The platform has above-average features for international businesses, including unlimited voice calls to 48 countries and support for 46 languages in the video conference settings. As a video conferencing tool, 8×8 stands out for its ability to facilitate HD video calls with up to 500 participants. Advanced features such as Conversation IQ and call activity analytics provide objective data that you can use to highlight your top-performing employees, pinpoint inefficiencies in your operations and identify key trends with real-time custom dashboards. Subscribers can mix and match plans among employees, locations or teams, and all plans include 24/7 customer support.
8.4 / 10
While most voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) business phone providers offer unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada, 8×8 is one of the few that include unlimited voice calls to up to 48 countries, which it offers in its upper-tier plan. In fact, even the least-expensive 8×8 business communications plan includes unlimited voice calls to 14 countries.
As much of today’s business communications have moved to video conferencing, we like that 8×8 does an excellent job of providing international organizations and teams with communications support for 46 languages. 8×8 also has an extensive international footprint, with offices in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria, France, Portugal and Romania. We also appreciate that the company’s security is globally focused for compliance with GDPR, HIPAA, U.K. government assurance, ISO 9001, SOC 2 and FISMA.
For these reasons, 8×8 shines as the best business phone system for international businesses. But regardless of whether you’re making international calls, you can enjoy AI-powered tools, analytics and comprehensive support through both 8×8 University and the vendor’s customer service team. These features make 8×8 a well-rounded offering, and the platform may even have too many features for organizations with very basic needs.
8×8’s mobile admin tools can surface key metrics and simplify common operational tasks. Image source: 8×8
8×8’s business communications platform is easy to use, in part because the vendor offers 14 free and three paid training courses that cover basic and advanced operations for administrators and users. Even without spending time in a virtual classroom, small businesses should have no problem setting up their phone system with 8×8’s user-friendly interface, which walks you through each customizable option. We love that everything from inputting your basic business information to customizing your call routing is accomplished with clear menu options that point you in the best direction to build an effective phone system for your organization.
8×8 also includes 60 integration options — including Salesforce, Google Workspace and Microsoft Teams — to merge your voice, video and chat communications with the applications your business uses daily. Advanced features such as speech analytics tools make it easy to review calls by searching for keywords and identifying customer sentiment to measure your team’s success and point out areas for improvement. [See our review of Salesforce CRM to find out why it’s one of the best CRM systems around.]
The top-tier plan gives you unlimited calling to up to 48 countries and support for 46 languages.
Use speech analytics, coaching and AI-driven sentiment analysis to improve conversations.
Customize your data to identify key trends across employees, teams and customers.
Offer university-style training courses to your administrators and users.
8×8 serves both domestic and international businesses with the essential features you’d expect for voice, video and chat communication, and much more. Here are a few of the platform’s most notable aspects.
8×8 offers live translation and subtitles for meetings. Image source: 8×8
8×8’s business communications include unlimited calling to 14 countries with the X2 plan and 48 countries with the X4 plan. This feature is highly appealing for organizations that operate globally, since most competitors in this category provide free unlimited calling only to the U.S. and Canada and charge a per-minute rate for international calls. Plus, 8×8’s video conferencing solution provides support for 46 languages, allowing international companies to conduct meetings in a wide variety of languages and dialects.
8×8 offers a number of post-meeting summary enhancements. Image source: 8×8
When enabled with the X4 plan, 8×8’s AI-powered Conversation IQ feature provides conversation insights through automatic transcription and analysis. You can search transcripts for keywords, topic trend reporting and sentiment analysis. The dual-channel recording captures separate audio for each caller on the line, which greatly improves the accuracy and searchability of your conversation transcripts. You can automatically track the use of keywords and phrases during customer interactions, and trigger words or phrases can be reviewed with data visualizations to highlight conversations and provide a barometer of customer engagement with key performance indicators. However, if voice intelligence tools are your top priority, you may want to check out our review of Dialpad instead.
Access to reliable, objective data makes difficult decisions, like staffing and promotions, easier. We like that 8×8’s analytics provide customizable data from all of your communications channels to help you solve business problems and make informed decisions. You can explore metrics such as call quality, missed calls, abandoned calls and customer sentiment with historical data and live dashboards. You can also pull user-centric reports to evaluate the performance of your team members and find ways to make improvements or reward excellent work.
These are just three of 8×8 University’s 17 available training courses. Image source: 8×8
8×8 provides one of the industry’s best training resources for using business phone systems. Called 8×8 University, it houses a robust training catalog with 17 free quick tutorials, on-demand lessons and paid instructor-led courses designed for administrators and agents. Course lengths range from a few minutes for the quick tutorials to six hours for the instructor-led offerings for administration and configuration. Most of the content in 8×8 University is free for everyone, and each course includes a clear list of outcomes designed to help participants utilize the communication platform to its fullest potential.
8×8 sells two business communications packages that should still be considered middle- and upper-tier plans even though the vendor has stopped offering its entry-level Express plan. Annual subscribers can save up to 23 percent, which is reflected in the prices listed below. We appreciate that the company doesn’t have any seat minimums or maximums, unlike competitors such as Dialpad, allowing businesses of all sizes to select the features and plan that fit their operations the best.
Unlimited users, unlimited voice calling to 14 countries, hot desking, presence detection, voicemail transcription, video conferencing with up to 500 people, meeting livestreaming, single sign-on, multilevel auto attendant, integrations with CRMs and other applications, call analytics, media storage and 24/7 customer support
Everything in the X2 plan, plus unlimited calling in 48 countries, advanced call handling, 8×8 Frontdesk for receptionists and operators, speech analytics and quality management add-on, and supervisor analytics
8×8 no longer offers its entry-level Express plan, which had limited features.
For small businesses with a simple call flow and a new business phone number, the setup process for 8×8’s business communications system can be completed in about 20 minutes. Some companies with an existing phone number may have to wait for the number to be released by their previous carrier, which is the case with all business phone systems like 8×8. As a default setting, your phone system will ring everyone in the company and go to voicemail after 30 seconds.
From the home screen, it’s straightforward to customize your business info, call routing during business hours, call routing after business hours, users, phone and porting numbers. We like that changes are easy to make thanks to a guided editing interface that asks you simple questions and provides a list of available answers to determine how you want to do things such as route calls, ring devices and assign schedules.
We love that 8×8 offers the same 24/7 customer support with both of its business communications plans. Although customer service via chat is available anytime, you can reach a support agent by phone only on weekdays and Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. In addition to getting help from vendor representatives, you can access guides and FAQs on the company’s website. 8×8 periodically hosts webinars, too, and has a developer portal for those interested in building integrations with the API.
Furthermore, as highlighted above, you can also take advantage of 8×8’s exceptional online university-style training platform, 8×8 University, with free quick tutorials and self-paced courses for administrators and users, as well as paid instructor-led courses. You’ll find nearly 20 course options covering everything from basic administration and configuration to how to identify trends and obtain data from all of your communications channels.
As noted above, 8×8 has eliminated its entry-level, lower-cost Express plan. As a result, small businesses searching for a basic VoIP phone, video and messaging platform will have to sign up for a richer package or look elsewhere. You may want to consider 8×8 rivals such as Dialpad, Nextiva and Zoom, all of which offer entry-level plans with basic communications features for less than $20 per month. Find out more in our full Nextiva review. Also check out our review of Ooma, which we found to be the best overall business phone system for small businesses.
Another limitation is that if you want to purchase an 8×8 business communications plan, you’ll need to speak with a sales representative first. Instead of having an online purchase button that would allow business owners to get started with the vendor’s services right away, 8×8’s website features a button to speak with a sales representative, which may feel like a roadblock for those who would prefer to make a typical online transaction. By contrast, RingCentral allows you to purchase its services instantly from the company’s website or even start using the system with a free trial.
If you can, wait until the end of the month or quarter to contact 8×8 so you can inquire about special deals or promotions.
We conducted extensive investigations in which we researched and analyzed more than a dozen business phone systems to find the best options for small business owners. We tested a variety of platforms through paid and free trial accounts and took part in vendor demos. In each case, we judged the solution on its pricing, plan options, features, usability, setup process, integrations, customer support options and drawbacks. 8×8 set itself apart as the best business phone system for international businesses by offering unlimited voice calls to 48 countries, large video meetings with up to 500 participants and multilanguage speech for 46 languages.
No, 8×8 does not have a basic phone plan. The vendor has eliminated its entry-level Express phone, video and chat package. The company now sells two very well-featured communications plans. 8×8 also has three separate plans for contact centers.
Yes, 8×8 works with cell phones. You can install the 8×8 mobile app on cell phones and other Android or iOS mobile devices. 8×8 also offers access and full functionality via a web browser or desktop app, letting you switch between calls seamlessly on any internet-connected device.
An 8×8 phone system is a cloud-based communications platform for voice, video and chat. You can mix and match plans for a truly custom communications solution.
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