Our pick for the best overall phone system for a small business was 8x8, a voice over internet protocol (VoIP) service provider. The U.S.-based provider has an excellent record for connectivity, and the Virtual Office X2 package starts at $25 per month per user, with a good amount of bells and whistles included. Of course there are caveats to the cost, and you may find a more advantageous deal when you contact the company for a quote.

See more information on 8x8.

8x8 Features

The X2 features include a rich array of options for directing calls, like automated attendants, directory assistance, ring groups, call forwarding and call waiting. For traveling employees, voicemail-to-email and conference calling are offered. Should you desire, caller ID blocking and on-hold music also are available. Collaboration tools include instant messaging, a presence feature that shows employees who is available and who is busy, and online meeting hosting. Additionally, 8x8 integrates with programs you may already be using, including Zendesk and Salesforce. If you're doing more international calling, need more media storage, increased audio/video conferencing, or higher-grade analytics, the X8 package upgrade runs $55 per user per month.

8x8 Mobile App

The system's mobile app for iOS and Android devices allows employees to tap into their business phone lines from their smartphones. In addition to the obvious placing and receiving of calls, employees can chat with other employees, check their voicemail, see the status of co-workers, join and collaborate in online meetings, and view online faxes.

8x8 Ease of Use

Experts rate 8x8 highly for a combination of ease of use, affordability and excellent features. The service is easily managed via an online portal, and 8x8 doesn't require businesses to have special hardware or a dedicated IT staff knowledgeable of VoIP systems to keep it up and running.  8x8 provides free online training; if you desire in-person training, that's available at an extra cost. Although you can choose to use the phones provided by 8x8, you don't have to unlike some other companies that require a significant investment in hardware. The phones that 8x8 provides are already configured to work right away.  

8x8 Connectivity

Connectivity is rated as high as 99%. The key to a successful experience with 8x8 and other VoIP systems is having an internet service provider with a robust and consistent high-speed connection. Additionally, your server's firewall may need some adjustment for this product to be fully functional.

8x8 Customer Service

For troubleshooting, 8x8 offers a virtual expert users forum; many issues seem to be resolved using the hive mind. 8x8's website has an "ask now" feature for customer service that provides an answer within five minutes. Support can also be found on the telephone and with virtual support/email/chat options. While the company is U.S.-based, some help desk questions are outsourced to centers in other countries.

8x8 offers plans on a year-long contract basis. If you're not going to be continuing the service, it's a good idea to watch the anniversary date and have clear, documented communication with the phone system regarding your desire to terminate and when.

Editor's Note: Looking for Business Phone Systems for your company? If you would like information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our partner, BuyerZone, provide you with information for free:

Editor's Note: Looking for Business Phone Systems for your company? If you would like information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our partner, BuyerZone, provide you with information for free:

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