8x8 Review

By
Chad Brooks
,
business.com writer
| Updated
Apr 23, 2020
Image Credit: scyther5/Getty Images

8x8 is our choice as both the best phone system for small businesses and best video conference service in a unified communications system. The Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system is hosted in the cloud, and it is easy to use, affordable and reliable. Each license includes video conferencing capabilities that gives each employee the ability to host meetings with up to 100 people at a time.  

8x8

8x8

The Best Business Phone Systems of 2020

The Verdict

8x8 is our pick for the best phone system for small businesses because it is easy to manage and fits a variety of budgets. It is also our choice as the best video conferencing service within a unified communications system.

Several factors make this an excellent phone system for small businesses. For example, you don't need full-time IT staff because with a cloud-hosted VoIP system like 8x8, there is nothing to install, and the phone system provider handles all maintenance and upgrades.  

Additionally, with tools like auto attendants, voicemail, voicemail-to-email, ring groups, mobile apps and conference calling, 8x8 offers a wide range of phone features at an affordable price.  

This is an excellent unified communication system that is well suited for small businesses, especially those looking for a VoIP phone system with video conferencing capabilities and all the accessories they could want. 8x8 also provides excellent customer support, offers contact center services and supports businesses with multiple locations.  

View all our recommendations for business phone systems on our best picks page. If you are in need of video conferencing services, you can see all of our recommendations here. 

8x8 Pricing 

8x8 offers four small business service plans that differ in the included features and prices. However, all 8x8 plans include unlimited calling, text messaging, instant messaging, an auto attendant, voicemail, mobile and desktop apps, and integrations with G Suite and Office 365. 

Each plan includes audio and video conferencing that allows for meetings with up to 50 people at a time, or as many as a 100 if you want stream the conference over YouTube. 

 Here's a breakdown of the plans:  

  • The Express plan is $12 per user, per month. This plan is designed for very small businesses with just a handful of employees.

  • The X2 edition is $25 per user, per month. This plan has a 14-country unlimited calling zone, and includes voicemail transcription, single sign-on, CRM integration, call recording, unlimited online faxing and cross-platform team messaging. It also has advanced calling features and an advanced auto attendant.

  • The X4 edition is $45 per user, per month. It includes everything in the X2 edition plus a 47-country unlimited calling zone, operator switchboard and caller analytics.

  • The X6 edition is $115 per user, per month. It includes everything in the X4 edition plus 4,000 contact center minutes, skills-based routing, IVR, queued and web callback, post-call survey, native CRM and knowledgebase, and contact center reporting and analytics.  

Customers sign at least a 12-month contract. Fees are paid monthly, not annually.  

Ease of Use 

8x8 is a cloud-hosted VoIP system that doesn't require any special equipment or wiring. Since the system runs on a data connection, all businesses have to do to use 8x8 is properly configure their routers and ensure they have the necessary bandwidth to handle the volume of calls they expect. With that, it's as simple as plugging phones into an Ethernet port to start making and receiving calls.  

A benefit of a cloud-based system is that you aren't responsible for any of the system's maintenance or upgrades. 8x8 handles all of that for you.  

For established businesses, 8x8 allows you to bring your current phone number with you for no additional cost. This process typically takes at least eight days for a local number and up to five weeks for a toll-free number.  

The entire system is controlled via an online portal. Admins log in to the portal (which 8x8 refers to as the configuration manager) to assign employee telephone numbers and extensions, set up the automated attendant, and create ring groups. All of this can be completed on a self-service basis and doesn't require the assistance of an IT team.  

Employees can also log in to the portal to manage their phone features from anywhere. From the portal, they can access the softphone, check their voicemail, view a company directory, message other users, see which of their co-workers are free and which are busy, and conduct online video conferences. There is also a desktop app that employees can download to access the system.  

To get businesses up and running smoothly, 8x8 provides one free hour of training from a technical installation specialist. More hands-on and onsite training is available at an extra cost.  

8x8 is an extremely reliable service. It has a 99.999% uptime, meaning the system is only down for a few minutes each year. In addition to its high uptime, 8x8 has 15 data centers worldwide. This built-in redundancy allows the company to easily move data around should one of its centers go down. All of the data centers are SSAE 16 audited.  

8x8 offers all of the calling, collaboration and mobile tools small businesses find most valuable. In total, the system has more than 50 standard features and more than 20 optional features.  

There's a mobile app employees can use to tap into their business phone lines from their smartphones. With the app, which is available on iOS and Android devices, employees can make and receive calls, chat with other employees, check their voicemail, see the status of co-workers, join and collaborate in online meetings, and view online faxes.  

Video Conferencing  

Each user license includes video conferencing services. This means all users can host HD-quality video meetings whenever they choose with up to 50 participants. What's nice is that all of those attending a meeting can be seen on users' screens. Other video conferencing services we evaluated limit the number of video feeds that can be on during a video conference.  

You have the option of expanding the reach of a conference by streaming it over your YouTube channel. With this approach, which basically turns your conference into a webinar of sorts, as many as 100 people can attend your meeting. However, in this scenario, not everyone can have their camera turned on. 

8x8's video conferencing system has a range of features, including both HD video and audio for crystal-clear picture and sound. One of the most useful tools is screen sharing. The meeting host can share their desktop with attendees, which is helpful when giving a presentation, highlighting information in a document or explaining how to use the software.  

This video conferencing service also includes meeting recording options, integrated scheduling with Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar, the ability to add co-hosts to a meeting, and team and private chat tools.  

You can start or join an 8x8 video conference from a computer or mobile device, and you can add video conferencing equipment to a conference room to participate in meetings that way.  

If attendees can't join a meeting over video feed, dial-in numbers allow them to connect by phone. While they won't be able to see what is going on, they can still hear the audio and join in the conversation.  

All of 8x8's service plans include video conferencing. There is no additional cost for these services. You can find more information on these services on our video conferencing best picks page 

Conference Calling  

8x8 has a conference calling service built into its phone system service. With the conference bridge feature, which is included at no extra charge, each employee can hold their own conference call with up to 15 callers.  

If your company is looking to host conference calls with more than 15 callers, you will need to use a conference calling service. These services allow for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people on each call. You can find more information on these services on our conference call services best picks page.   

Customer Support  

8x8 provides some of the best customer service we encountered during our research. We contacted the company multiple times by phone, email and live chat, posing as a small business owner interested in phone systems. Our calls were all immediately answered, and the representatives we spoke with were extremely helpful.  

They answered our questions thoroughly and left us with a clear understanding of what the service offers and how it works. We never felt pressured to make an immediate decision on the service. Not all of the services we evaluated operated in that manner.  

We followed up with some representatives by email. Each time, they quickly answered our messages, providing us with the information we were looking for. In addition, they always offered to host a call with us to discuss the issue in more detail and answer any other questions we had.  

We also tested 8x8's live chat support. While you are initially greeted by a chatbot that tries to answer your question first, you can request to connect with a live person. When we did so, our questions were answered right away. 

Customer support is available by phone, email, chat and the 8x8 website 24/7/365.  

While 8x8 offers round-the-clock support, there are times when the representative you are speaking with might be in another country. This can be a problem if you need service at an irregular hour and can't get the level of support you expect. That being said, each of our interactions with the company, regardless of the time we reached out, was a positive one.  

Additionally, the website features a number of valuable resources, including white papers, infographics, data sheets, videos and webinars

 

Editor's note: Looking for the right video conference service for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

 

8x8

8x8

The Best Business Phone Systems of 2020

The Verdict

8x8 is our pick for the best phone system for small businesses because it is easy to manage and fits a variety of budgets. It is also our choice as the best video conferencing service within a unified communications system.

Chad Brooks
Chad Brooks
Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer with more than 20 years of media experience. A graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff as a senior writer. Currently, Chad covers a wide range of B2B products and services, including business phone systems, time and attendance systems, payroll services, and conference call services. Before joining Business News Daily and business.com, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago. Chad's first book, "How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business," was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.