With 128 patents under its belt and over 40,000 customers, 8x8 is a force to be reckoned with in the cloud-based communications department. What started out as a small-time seller of semiconductors has slowly but surely evolved into a sweltering behemoth in the Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, market.
Nowadays, 8x8 offers products that appeal not only to small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs), but it’s also branched out to more mainstream enterprise companies and call centers.
8x8 Virtual Office Pro in particular leans more toward mid-sized business customers. It once existed as an add-on for the three base editions of Virtual Office, including the $25 (£19.26) per user per month X2 Edition, the $35 (£26.96) per user per month X5 Edition and the $55 (£42.37) per user per month X8 Edition.
That said, a customer service agent confirmed to us in an online sales chat that Virtual Office Pro is now considered a legacy product unavailable to new customers. Its unique features – call recording, web conferencing and internet fax – are now folded into the X5 Edition and X8 Edition of the service. So with that, let’s take a look at the distinctions among this trio of Virtual Office packages.
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Pricing and key features
Even at the baseline price of $25 (£19.26) a month for each user, you can expect a lot of meat from the 8x8 Virtual Office X2 Edition plan. For one, every user gets their own phone line, complete with their own exclusive phone number and a virtual extension for receiving rerouted calls. On top of that, they get unlimited calling to 14 countries including Canada, Australia, the UK, and the United States.
Unlimited internet fax, which was originally found only in the Virtual Office Pro add-on, now comes with the Virtual Office X2 Edition as well. You can also count on an auto-attendant, voicemail and integration with the Salesforce, ZenDesk and Netsuite CRM services. There’s some integration with Microsoft Outlook, too, though it’s mostly limited to pinging people with alert emails and scheduling meetings. Purchasing the Virtual Office X2 Edition gives you 1GB of media storage.
Next up is the $35 (£26.96) 8x8 Virtual Office X5 Edition, which packs everything you’ll find in the X2 Edition but then ups the ante with Virtual Office Pro’s call recording, and an operator switchboard. Instead of unlimited calling to 14 countries, the count is more than doubled up to 32. Therefore, if you need to make frequent calls to China, Denmark or South Korea, you’ll probably want to opt for at least the X5 Edition. Media storage is bumped up to 5GB.
Lastly, the 8x8 Virtual Office X8 Edition introduces a host of additional features absent from the other service packs. It’s $55 (£42.37) per user per month, but it justifies its loftier price tag with call quality reporting and analytics, an analytics supervisor and a wealth of contact center trappings. You get inbound contact center support, outbound contact center support, 2,000 contact center minutes, 3 months of contact center recording storage, contact center IVR and contact center recording and analytics.
Along with all of that, 8x8 Virtual Office X8 Edition takes unlimited calling up to 47 countries, a list which comprises all 32 of the countries you get with the X5 Edition plus India, Japan, South Africa and a few others. Also, the media storage bounces up to 10GB with the X8 Edition plan. All three of these Virtual Office Editions are compatible with a standard (but optional) desk phone, the Virtual Office desktop application and the Virtual Office web browser client, so you don’t have to worry about a lack of flexibility when it comes to the hardware you’re using.
Competition and verdict
Overall, the best value and the most similar product to the now-defunct Virtual Office Pro is the 8x8 Virtual Office X5 Edition. At $35 (£26.96), it costs more than the $24.99 (£19.26) RingCentral (For Business) Standard plan, but it’s also more comparable to RingCentral’s $34.99 (£26.97) Premium plan since they both offer call recording and CRM integration.
One advantage of RingCentral (For Office) Premium over 8x8 Virtual Office X5 Edition is the integration it has with Microsoft, Google, Box and Okta products. RingCentral also promises 24/7 customer support. In many ways, the services are similar, which makes sense considering how closely they’re priced. If you go for the 8x8 Virtual Office X8 Edition, you’re obviously signing up for the contact center aspects that don’t show up in RingCentral’s plans.
Ultimately, if you’re deciding on a new VoIP service for your business, the best product depends on your needs. The good news is that 8x8 Virtual Office has a lot of things going for it. It’s as easy to set up as hooking up the phones to an internet connection, and there are three different methods to use the service if the classic desk phone isn’t your style. Although newcomers can no longer subscribe to 8x8 Virtual Office Pro, its functionality lives on in the form of the X5 Edition.
If you’re in the market for a new VoIP service with par-for-the-course pricing and a multitude of compelling features, 8x8 Virtual Office is worth a look.