A proper multi-line phone system is an essential resource in running a small business. As a small business owner you may not have the staff required to install and tend to an in-house telephone hardware system but fortunately you can now save yourself the hassle and maintenance costs anyway by outsourcing such tasks to a remote VoIP system provider.
Among the most innovative and practical of the off-site phone solutions for businesses are the cloud-based VoIP systems that millions have turned to in the past few years. The 8x8 cloud phone system plans in particular are an outstanding example of how a business can save money by using cloud-based VoIP while retaining all the features you'd expect from an enterprise-quality phone system. Read on to find out why 8x8 cloud-based VoIP might be the best option for your business.
What's Special About 8x8
The best thing about 8x8 is that it's a cloud-based VoIP provider. Cloud technology allows for quick data transfer and offers scalable solutions for times your call volume suddenly spikes or you need additional resources. There are other cloud-based VoIP services as well but 8x8 has earned it's leading spot in the industry with added features you won't find in other systems and an excellent support team that can handle any technical or billing inquiry you could imagine. 8x8 provides small businesses access to features normally only found in enterprise phone systems with dedicated in-house support teams.
8x8 Pricing and Packages
8x8 has a highly-competitive pricing structure that appeals to businesses of every size. There are three primary business VoIP solutions offered by 8x8, each with their own features and bonuses but all three plans have the following traits in common:
Unlimited HD Calling and Texting
Desktop and Mobile Apps
Easy Single-Sign on System (SSO)
Advanced A.I. Attendant for Automation
Voicemail and other Basic Call Features
Queues, Instant Messaging, and other Premium Features
Easy Integration with ZenDesk, Salesforce and other CRM Software
Virtual Office X2
8x8's most economic plan, the Virtual Office X2 Edition VoIP plan, is by far one of the most affordable VoIP packages on the market today. You can't beat the $25 per month price point, which is calculated per-user for your system. The Virtual Office X2 plan allows for 1 GB of storage so you can save recordings and other media files for use throughout the system without having to buy your own storage drives. This option is best for small businesses that are seeking to lower overhead and don't have a need to conference with more than 5 people at once.
The Virtual Office X2 Edition includes unlimited calls for 14 countries. Along with the shared features mentioned above, X2 also supports video conferencing between users.
Virtual Office X5
Businesses looking for a bit more out their VoIP system will appreciate the reasonably-priced Virtual Office X5 Edition which includes all of the features of Virtual Office X2 and more for just $35 per month for each user. The Virtual Office X5 package boosts your storage space up to 5 GB from the 1 GB that X2 offers.
The X5 solution also allows you to conference with up to 25 callers at once; a necessity for many small and medium sized businesses. The Virtual Office X5 VoIP plan more than doubles the list of countries you can place free unlimited calls to as well, boosting the number to an impressive 32 countries. One of the best features of the Virtual Office X5 Edition is the addition of an operator switchboard option. This edition of 8x8's popular VoIP service is perhaps one of the best investments your small company can make to enhance communications and help your calls and video conferences go smoothly.
Virtual Office X8
The Virtual Office X8 Edition of 8x8's VoIP solution is an amazing fit for any business with more than a couple dozen employees that wants advanced enterprise features at an affordable price point. This package is billed at $55 per month for each user and allows your system to host conferences with up to 50 callers at once. You can also make unlimited calls to people in 48 different countries with X8 package.
Virtual Office X8 offers all the features found in the X2 and X5 packages as well as an impressive host of exclusive features. Among these added features you'll find call recording which is a must for any company wanting to monitor quality or decrease liability.
The X8 package also introduces call center features including switchboard operation with inbound and outbound call monitors and analytics. You'll get 2000 monthly contact center minutes with the X8 plan as well as supervisor features, advanced Salesforce reports, and a GUI-based Interactive Voice Response system for your users. The increase in storage room you get with X8 alone makes the upgrade worth it for many businesses as the plan allows for three months of recordings to be stored in 8x8's reliable cloud systems.
Features Offered by 8x8
Aside from the world-renowned cloud system 8x8 offers, which is currently trusted by millions including companies like McDonald's and NetSuite, there is another compelling reason to go with one of the VoIP plans offered by this company; the host of special features that you won't find all in one place anywhere else.
Some of the additional special features included in the 8x8 VoIP plans are call waiting and forwarding, hold music, caller ID and ID blocking, extension directories, and three way calling.
You will also be able to set your phone in Do Not Disturb mode with the 8x8 X edition plans. There is also a huge list of features that appeal to businesses that make conference and three-way calls including call parking, warm-transfer options, call waiting and a variety of ring groups. This service can be used in any business setting from a small office to a call center.
Don't have a voice selected to represent your company through voicemail readings, phone directories, or option menus? 8x8 has you covered; at additional pricing the company can arrange for professional-quality audio recordings from industry experts with your custom scripting.
Video Conferencing, Instant Messaging, and App Integration
On the cutting-edge side of VoIP technology, 8x8 has managed to include advanced features in the X-edition plans that will please the most demanding business owners. Video conferencing and instant messaging are easy with the systems included in 8x8's VoIP packages, literally extending the meaning of Voice over Internet Protocol. You can log into the included instant messenger system to chat with co-workers. preface call transfers, or determine if another employee is at their desk with 8x8's voice solution packages.
The video conferencing feature provided by 8x8 can be used through a variety of video-conferencing software including the popular Skype business video-chat solution. Aside from easy integration with Skype and other video calling services 8x8 has automated compatibility with over a dozen software application that your business will find essential in it's operations as it grows. These applications include Outlook, the Google product suite, Web Dialer, Click2Pop, eAgent, and others.
All your employees will need to use the 8x8 VoIP system is a computer with a headphone jack and a basic headset. All of the calls processed through the 8x8 cloud-based VoIP system are HD-capable so it's a good idea to invest in high quality headsets to take advantage of the crystal-clear call and recording quality these packages offer.
Businesses and users with smartphones can also take advantage of the app-based features that 8x8 provides. These include instant messaging, analytical reports, voicemail access, incoming and outbound calls, and file management. This is a handy feature for callers who need to access documents, review and place faxes, read scripts, or work in a more mobile environment.
Quality of Service
The 8x8 VoIP system just simply, refreshingly, works. It can handle thousands of simultaneous calls without crashing or lagging. It can help you communicate within your company and with clients in ways never before possible with phone systems, much less off-site phone solutions. The service provided by 8x8 is top-rated and they have a well-established track record and promise of over 99.99% uptime.
With how easy it is to use 8x8's service you won't have to spend much time at all training your employees on the various features or systems. It has an intuitive user interface that should be more than familiar to anyone who can navigate a basic web app or standard desktop program.
Maintenance couldn't be easier with the system since you won't be responsible for any of the off-site hardware or devices that allow the calls to and date to be processed and transferred. After an initial setup which is about as easy as configuring any WiFi router, all you'll need to do is plugin your headset or hard-wired phone and flip the power on. 8x8 takes care of all upgrades, software issues and patches, and other things you'd otherwise be hiring entire tech support teams to tinker with.
The online portal offered by 8x8 allows management and employees to login and access convenient settings and features from any approved location. Simply configure the portal access to your liking so that employees can be restricted to workplace logins or optionally setup a VPN to allow secure remote connections. This feature can also be used to listen to voicemails and send internal messages between staff members.
What Could be Improved
Overall the 8x8 Virtual Office X Edition VoIP service is excellent and highly recommended to businesses of all sizes but there are a couple changes that could be implemented to further increase the system's value. Customer service can be reached via phone or online chat but the online chat system is often queued and it can take a few minutes to reach a representative. The 8x8 website currently claims an average 5 minute wait time for customer support, which may or not be agreeable with your business model when support is urgently needed.
There could also be a lower-priced plan offered below the X2 Edition that would appeal to many smaller offices with a handful or so employees. For the starting cost of $25 per month on the X2 Edition there's really not much to complain about, however, considering all the features you're getting with the service.
The 8x8 VoIP is an industry leader for a reason. Millions of customers have purchased their service thus far and, based on several consumer reporting outlets, seem to be pleased in general. There's a lot to be happy about with the X2, X5, and X8 VoIP solutions; they offer dozens of features you won't find in a combined package anywhere else. They also run on a cloud-based platform which is know for premium security, fast data transfer rates, and scalability. The price points, starting at $25 per month for each user, may sound steep for a smaller business but it's quite competitive and the 8x8 offers unmatched value compared to other VoIP solutions on the market.
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