If you work with successful businesses, then you already know how important it is for companies to choose reliable Voice over IP (VoIP) service providers. A good VoIP service will lower your phone bill while giving you more control over incoming and outgoing calls. More recently, cloud services have become an important part of running a business efficiently.
There are plenty of service providers that focus on cloud and VoIP services. Some of them have just been in business for a few years. Others have been around for decades. 8×8.com falls somewhere in the middle. Its services, however, are difficult to match.
If you’re looking for a new service provider, this review should help you decide whether 8×8 is right for you.
By today’s standards, 8×8.com has been around for a long time. The company was founded in 1987 as Integrated Information Technology, Inc. Chi-Shin Wang and Y. W. Sing, the founders, decided to change the name in the 1990s.
Although 8×8.com is best known for its VoIP services and products, it did not launch that part of its business until 1999. During the 90s, the company sold a wide range of products for PC users and manufacturers. Its x87 floating point coprocessors were instrumental in offering faster processing times and better graphics to computer users. The company also developed Xtradrive, a data compression product that didn’t cause any information loss. Combining its hardware with the newly developed data compression helped 8×8.com enter the field of videoconferencing.
By the early 2000s, 8×8.com had established itself as a reliable VoIP company. It even aired television commercials to spread its product’s popularity. As the years rolled by, 8×8.com kept developing and acquiring new technology. Each step made it an increasingly impressive company. When 8×8.com acquired Central Host in 2010, it started offering cloud hosting services to customers. The next year it acquired another hosting company called Contractual.
Putting these technologies together made 8×8.com one of the most reliable VoIP and cloud-hosting service providers in the United States. It expanded its reach to the UK in 2013 by acquiring Voicenet.
Some of 8×8.com’s most popular products currently include:
- 8×8 Virtual Office Pro
- 8×8 Virtual Office Mobile
- 8×8 Virtual Meeting
- 8×8 Virtual Contact Center
Each of these products meets a specific business need. It’s no wonder so many companies have chosen to use them over competitors like Five9, RingCentral, and Vonage.
Top Features of 8×8.com
8×8.com has so many products that it’s difficult to say what its top features are. Some would say that its wealth of business solutions is the company’s top feature. There’s probably something to do, but I want to get a little more specific about the features I’ve experienced.
First, I think it’s important to say that 8×8’s business phone systems are unparallel. I’ve worked as a manager for several businesses over the last couple decades. VoIP technology has come a long way since I started my career. All phone systems will give you some grief (mostly because the people using them don’t take enough time to learn about the systems). When I managed offices that used 8×8, our service was so much better that people would comment on it. That includes customers and employees. The audio was always really clear. You didn’t get any of that annoying static that you sometimes hear with VoIP systems.
The systems were also incredibly easy to use. That’s great for managers who need to spend time doing actual work instead of handholding employees. I understand that it takes time to learn how to use a new phone system. With 8×8 phones, though, people just seemed to get it. The phones have a better interface that makes it easier for employees to do their jobs without bugging me about technical questions.
I could literally see a difference in employee productivity when I managed offices that used 8×8.com products.
As a manager, I had to use features that most employees don’t need. I thought 8×8’s Web conferencing was great. I can’t remember experiencing any lag. People involved in online conferences also got to choose how they would communicate. Some preferred video. Others like audio. Sometimes it made more sense to just use text for quick meetings. To my mind, that’s perfect. It’s exactly what I needed for my office.
8×8.com prices vary depending on your needs. Contact the company to request a quote. That’s the best way to get an accurate price that will help you compare offers.
I wish 8×8 were a little more transparent about their pricing. Using quotes makes sense because8x8.com works with a lot of big companies. It’s hard to throw out a common rate when you work in industries where there aren’t any common environments. Still, I’d like to see how they determine their prices. I’ll save the rest for the next section…
Criticisms of 8×8.com
Opaque pricing is the only real criticism that I have of 8×8. I know the company can’t tell potential customers exactly how much services will cost, but I would like a ballpark figure. Most of the offices I work with are fairly small. They have between 100 and 500 employees working at any given time. So, ballpark figure, how much would it cost to provide basic VoIP to one of these offices?
As you can probably tell, it irks me that 8×8.com doesn’t even give you a hint until you fill out a quote request. That means I can’t compare prices anonymously. It also means that I have to give them my contact information. That’s not something I want to do since it usually leads to a bunch of spam and unwanted phone calls.
I don’t distrust 8×8. I think it’s a great company. I just think it makes sense for people these days to protect their information.
8×8.com Customer Support
8×8.com gives its customers plenty of support options. Whenever I have a question, I go to the user guides and manuals section of the website. I almost always find the information I need. The site has guides about everything from setting up a virtual room to IP trunking. You can also download PDF about getting the best reception, installing mobile apps, and setting up power keys. It’s all right there in a convenient library.
Every now and then, you won’t find the information you need in the library. That’s when you need to contact customer support. You can place phone calls Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT. The customer service center is open on Saturdays from 5am to 2pm PT. If you have an emergency, you can call for support at any time. I’ve never had an emergency, so I’m not sure how that works. My guess is that they have a skeleton crew working during after hours.
My favorite customer service option is virtual office chat, which is available from 6am to 5pm PT, Monday through Friday. It only makes sense that 8×8.com would want to take advantage of its own technology by creating a virtual office for customers to get help. It’s a unique experience that makes you feel like the company really cares about meeting your needs.
Pros of Using 8×8.com
- Plenty of VoIP and cloud-hosting options
- Great customer service
- No one can beat 8×8’s technology
- Fair prices, in my experience at least
Cons of Using 8×8.com
- Opaque pricing that makes it difficult to compare services without requesting a quote
I’ve mostly used 8×8.com for its VoIP services. In my opinion, you aren’t going to find a company that’s better than 8×8. There could be some companies that are equally as good, but none of them are noticeably better.
I don’t have nearly as much experience with 8×8’s cloud-hosting services. From what I’ve heard, though, they meet expectations just fine. No one has ever told me to avoid 8×8.com for cloud services. That might not sound like a ringing endorsement, but how many companies do you know of that don’t have a few serious detractors. As far as I can tell, everyone in my profession thinks that 8×8 is a great option for cloud services.
The average person is never going to need 8×8.com. The company is mostly focused on business solutions. If you own or manage a business, though, you will likely need their services. They have plans designed to meet the needs of everything from small businesses to large corporations. Unfortunately, you won’t have any idea how much those services cost until you reach out to the company for a quote.
Considering that this is the only criticism I have of 8×8.com, it seems pretty obvious that this is a reliable company with good products and excellent customer services. When I have to consult with a business that uses another provider, I just have to grit my teeth and plow through. When the business uses 8×8, I never have any big problems. They already have good efficiency rates and customer service reports. I think a lot of that comes from choosing to use 8×8.com.