VoIP provider 8×8 gives you a very simple choice when it comes to their “Virtual Office” phone service: you can pick either the basic plan or the pro scheme. The two aren’t at all far apart; the only features on the Pro plan that are lacking from the basic are web conferencing, call recording and fax. Most commercial 8×8 users opt for the Pro plan.
The Virtual Office Pro Plan is a comprehensive solution designed along modern cloud communications lines. Features include chat, hosted PBX, Internet faxing, online meetings, SMS, call groups, monitoring and reporting, park, transfer, and a whole lot more. 8×8’s Pro plan even integrates with 3rd party suites like Zendesk and Salesforce. Local and long distance calling is unlimited, too.
The Pro plan is priced on a per-user basis. Primary access is $20, the line itself is $5, fax service is another $10, and there’s tax to pay as well. The final cost per user is $45 per month or even more.
8×8 locks you into a contract, too. This obliges you to stick with your service for at least one year, and you’ll be required to pay whatever’s left of that year as a termination fee if you quite early. If you’ve got a single-person 8×8 plan that costs you $45 and you decide to drop it with six months left on your agreement, it’ll cost you a rather painful $270.
For all of the great features they deliver, 8×8 certainly expects you to pay for what you get. Their Pro plan is one of the most expensive VoIP options available to you.
It’s clear that 8×8 has built this plan with small or medium-sized companies in mind. The way it’s priced actively discourages scaling up if you’re planning for long-term expansion. Once your business goes big, you’d be better served by installing your own PBX or using a cloud-based service geared toward the enterprise scale instead of endlessly taking on $45 handsets.
Setting up 8×8’s Virtual Office Pro system is very easy. You use your credentials to access the online dashboard so that you can pick out your system options and change the settings for each user. The controls also let you set up advanced options like routing rules for the system’s auto-attendant and predefined call groups. The system includes customized profiles and contact directories for each user. As with any VoIP system that uses IP phones, the attendant hardware is plug-n-play and comes out of the box ready to use.
The dashboard gives you an impressive level of contextual help on the fly, and you also get a complete guide that walks you through everything the service can do. You can review an FAQ and troubleshooting guide on the service’s website, too. 8×8’s customer support department is always just a phone call away. They don’t operate a live chat service or a ticketing system, though.
8×8 gives you a decent set of software tools for use with desktop computers — PC and Mac — and mobile devices — iOS and Android. You can get the same level of system control from any device that has Internet access. This also applies to your employees: They can make all of the same changes from their smartphone or their home computer that they could in the office.
This is really a very robust VoIP system for a medium-sized business, but the cost is probably going to give you pause. 8x8 is at least upfront about this, and company reps will tell you flat out that you're paying for reliability and consistency. This isn't just marketing, though. Overcome your sticker shock and you'll get what is undeniably one of the most reliable systems on the market.