What is it?
A VoIP phone system for small businesses.
How popular is it?
8×8 serves over 40,000 businesses, as of October, 2014.
What does it do well?
It provides a professional and reliable phone system at a low cost.
What does it not do well?
Who does it work well for?
Small businesses who want a reliable and professional phone system with unlimited minutes and/or want to integrate VoIP with their CRM (Salesforce, SugarCRM, Netsuite) or help desk software (ZenDesk).
Who does it not work well for?
Businesses who do not use the phone very much and would rather pay by the minute.
Free calls to US and Canada?
Can you use your current phone number(s)?
Does it support toll free?
Cost Compared to Competitors?
Cloud or Hosted?
Does it require special phones?
Yes. 8×8 works with most Polycom internet enabled phones, as well as some from Aastra and Cisco (Click here for a list of supported devices) You can also use a normal non-digital phone if you pair it with an ATA adapter.
There’s also some equipment free options. You can install a free 8×8 desktop softphone on a Mac or PC, or install an app on your mobile phone (iOS or Android.)
Yes, Company & Customer Service
8×8 scored average on reliability of service and quality of calls. Of the 41 user reviews on www.voip-info.org/reviews/8×8+Reviews, 6 users noted technical issues: 2 noted dropped calls, 2 noted poor sound quality and 2 noted other technical issues. (view reviews)
8×8 pricing is $19.99/month per user for unlimited minutes, plus $4.99/month for each phone number. You don’t need to buy a phone number for each user, however. They can just use an extension.
Virtual Office Pro, which costs $24.99/month per user, adds some additional features such as virtual faxing, call recording and web conferencing, which includes video chat and desktop sharing. This pricing does not include taxes or surcharges, which are outlined in the table below:
$37.47 / month
$162.58 / month
($32.50 / user)
$782.73 / month
($31.31 / user)
*Taxes & Surcharges
Optional Add Ons:
Additional phone numbers - Add $4.99 / month each
Upgrade to Virtual Office Pro
for Fax, Call Recording and Web
Conferencing - Add $5 / user
Call Queueing - Add $10 / month/
*Note: The exact amount you pay in taxes and fees will vary depending on location. Some states, counties and cities will charge more than others. The prices in this example reflect the taxes in New York City.
8×8 is not great for international calling with one exception. Rates are on the higher end compared to competitors, with calls to UK and Germany costing $0.25 and $0.11 a minute (look up rates by country here.) However, one nice feature is the Unlimited Global Extension, which lets you place an unlimited number of calls to many European, Asian and Latin American cities and countries for a flat rate of $35/user/month. 8×8 is the only VoIP provider to have such a feature.
8×8 can also provide international numbers, although they cost $10 with a recurring $15 monthly charge. Phone.com, by contrast, charges as low as $5/month for some countries.
Ease of use
- Setup – Moderate. 8×8 was a little difficult to get started. Unlike other VoIP services, setup was not instant. It took a few hours for my account to be ready. There’s also no account rep or setup specialist available to small businesses.
- End User – Moderate. “Virtual Office Online” is the individual login for 8×8, where users can check their voicemail, setup call forwarding, change user settings, etc. While there’s a lot of options to personalize your account, this unfortunately made the interface, which is a little buggy to begin with, cumbersome.
- Support – Moderate. 8×8 has phone and chat support available during business hours, which has mixed reviews from users. There’s also a support center with user guides and manuals. The database is not searchable, however, so it can be a little difficult to find what you’re looking for.
Features It Has
Features It Does Not Have
Receptionist (Auto Attendant)
Find Me / Follow Me
Voicemail to Email
Music on Hold
Integrate w/ CRM
*Available with a Virtual Office Pro account ($5/user/month upgrade)
You can set up an auto attendant that plays a recorded message when customers first call your line and gives them a series of menu options (i.e. “press 1 for customer service,” “press 2 for sales.”) This is done online via the Account Manager portal. First you’ll be asked to enter your business hours, including holidays and lunch hours. This is so you can play unique greetings when your business is open and closed.
Next, you’ll enter all the dialpad shortcuts. You can let callers press a button to transfer to an extension, a sub-menu, a conference bridge, leave a voicemail, search a directory and more. Once that’s all finished, you can record the greeting message via phone, upload an audio file or order a professional recording from 8×8 for $80.
You can set up ‘ring groups,’ which are extensions that ring multiple phones. You’ll likely set up a ring group for each department of your business (i.e. sales, customer service.) For ring groups, there’s 3 call routing options: You can have all phones ring simultaneously, in a cyclic pattern, where the call passes from phone to phone in a random order to give each employee an equal number of calls, or a cyclic repetitive pattern where the call passes from phone to phone in a pre-set order.
The Ring Group menu (pictured below) gives many additional options, such as the ability to forward calls to an external number of voicemail box in the instance of an internet outage.
From the same menu, you can upload music on hold. 8×8 includes 10 high quality songs, but you get up to 1 GB of storage to save additional music. Users can choose which song they want to play when they place callers on hold. They can set the song from their their personal account portal (called the “Virtual Office”).
A Virtual Office Pro account (which is a $5/user/month upgrade) includes unlimited internet faxing. Users can send or receive faxes from their online dashboard and set it up to receive email alerts when a fax comes in. To send a fax, you can upload an image or document file (.pdf, .docx, .jpeg, .png, .tiff and much more). The file will be automatically converted to a PDF and faxed to the recipient. (read more here)
To learn more about our recommended online fax service, read our best online fax service buyer’s guide.
Conferencing for up to 15 participants is included free with 8×8 monthly service. Moderators can set up the conference from their phone keypad and participants can add themselves by dialing a conference bridge extension, followed by an access code. You can have multiple conferences going on at once provided you have different access codes.
There’s a handful of in-call tools. Participant can press 1 to hear a list of the users in the call and administrators can add or remove participants using keypad shortcuts.
Check out the Admin Guide (PDF) on Call Conferencing.
There’s a few ways you can set up calls to be forwarded to another device. Administrators can log into the “Account Manager” portal and set call forwarding rules for each extension (pictured below). For different scenarios, you can have calls forwarded to an extension, external number, voicemail or to the auto attendant.
Users have the same set of call forwarding options via their personal account portal (the “Virtual Office” login). They can edit these rules from their browser or from the mobile app. So if employees are on their way out, they can quickly change the forwarding number to their cell phone.
A Virtual Office Pro account (which is a $5/user/month upgrade) includes unlimited call recording. Users can set this up via their personal account portal. They can set it up to always record calls, or record on-demand. For the latter option, calls will be recorded when users press a keypad shortcut on their phone. Recordings will be saved online, where you can manage them via your personal account. You only get 1 GB of storage, however, and going over will result in a $13/month fee for every additional GB. (Read more here)
8×8 has a pretty nice mobile app, though it was a little difficult to set up. When you make outgoing calls, you have the choice of routing the call over WiFi/data or over your mobile network. Both options will display your business number to the recipient. However, you do need to be connected to the internet, even if you make the call over your mobile network.
If you route the call over WiFi/data instead of your mobile network, you get some advanced in call tools: Buttons on your mobile app let you place the caller on hold, transfer the call to another number or extension, record the call, park the call, or add another number to begin 3-way calling. These features are not available if you use your mobile network.
There was one issue when I first tested the mobile app: I could make calls over VoIP, but not via my mobile network. This feature apparently was not “turned on” for my account. A 15 minute call with support resolved the issue.
Check out the User Guide (PDF) for more on the Mobile App.
8×8 integrates with a number of business programs, including Outlook, Sage ACT!, Salesforce, Netsuite, SugarCRM, Zendesk and eAgent. What this lets you do is place calls via 8×8 directly from the program. It will also scan your system for contact details on the person you’re calling or a receiving a call from.
Read more about 8×8 3rd party integrations here.
You can generate call logs from the account manager portal. You can specify a time frame and enter which extension(s) you’d like to view. The report will show you a log of all calls, as well as a summary of total incoming/outgoing calls and call time. (read more here)
No, phone and chat support is available Mon-Fri from 5am to 6pm PT and Saturday from 5am to 2pm PT.
US Based or Not?
What’s The Method of Delivery?
8×8 has phone and chat support, which has mixed reviews from users. While some praise support, others noted long wait times to solve technical issues. My own experience was positive: I was connected with a rep very quickly and worked with them for about 15 minutes to troubleshoot the mobile app.
8×8 also has a support center with user guides and manuals. The database is not searchable, however, so it can be a little difficult to find what you’re looking for.
The Bottom Line
While 8×8 is significantly cheaper than Nextiva and RingCentral, you don’t get the premier support or services you find with those providers. There’s no account representative to get you started and the interface is not as user friendly as RingCentral.
8×8 is most comparable to Phone.com. Both provide unlimited minutes at a low cost, though you can add advanced features a la carte. In a head to head comparison, Phone.com comes out slightly cheaper and includes on-demand call recording and internet fax, which cost an additional fee from 8×8. The advantage of 8×8, however, is that it has 3rd party integrations (including Salesforce, SugarCRM, Netsuite, Zendesk), which you won’t find from Phone.com.