Don't just compare price point. Go line by line to compare apples to apples. Vonage for Business may have a better price point, but didn't deliver all the services that 8x8 provided.
Also review your setup after a year. We setup fax, recording and conference call capability for all six lines but found that only two people really needed or utilized the services. We were able to reduce our bill by dropping those unnecessary services on four of our lines with no ill affects to our callers.
For over 30 years, the Brain Injury Association of Maryland has maintained a Hotline for Marylanders with brain injuries, their families, and the healthcare providers who serve them. When I came on board five years ago, I was asked to take the organization to the next level. For 30 years, if we weren't in the office, we couldn't answer those all-too-important calls. I knew we needed to "cut the cord" of that 800 number while still being able to provide the same compassion and support for which have been known for over three decades. I saw VOIP as the answer to that dilemma.
I wanted a system that was portable, but seamless. A system where we could answer calls on our newly purchased iPads as easily as we could on our cell phones or desk phones. Where we could create three party calls with the click of a button to immediately put a caller directly in touch with the resource he or she needed. It had to be flexible, scalable, and add professionalism to our office space. (No screaming to pick up the phone on line 1 for you since we didn't have voice mail and I couldn't forward the call to your phone.)
After receiving a generous Salesforce.com Foundation grant to move our call notes from blue index cards to the cloud, we went searching for a VOIP system that could help us fully utilize this new award. We looked at several systems, but found that 8x8 offered the most services for the best price. As an Executive Director with no IT or Telephone background or support, I needed a system that I could learn and implement quickly and easily. Not knowing the difference between a PBX and PBJ, I launched into setting up the system with six phone lines, six fax lines, our 800 service, virtual receptionist, voicemails to email, conference calls, and uploading our hold music. (HOLD MUSIC!. You would hear MUSIC while you were on hold! WOW!) I then made sure it worked our our cell phones and iPads. I then went about syncing it with our Salesforce.com for Non-Profits database.
Before, when a call came in, we asked if they had called before. If they had, we would look for their name in a Word Document Folder with their name and then also search for a corresponding blue index card with their name in one of our four, four-drawer file cabinets. If they hadn't hung up, we would then be able to speak to them and add notes about the conversation.
Now, when you call us, your number and caller ID is simultaneously run through our Salesforce.com for Non-Profits database. If you are in our database, your record pops-up and we are able to automatically see whose calling, when you called last, who took the call, and what was discussed. If you are not in our database, a text bubble pops up which allows us to add you to our Salesforce database and the call and what is discussed is automatically logged as activity on your account. That information is uploaded real time so if you call back a few hours later, and someone else answers the call (either in the office or out on the road on their iPad) your record pops up and we can pick up the conversation right where you left off.
Our primary mission is to provide information and assistance to our callers whether they be calling for themselves, a loved one, patient or client. "Remembering" the caller builds a connection and connection builds trust. Without trust, our advice is no better than a list of names in the yellow pages. From the first time you call and are met with a professional greeting, transfer after hold music, or a polished voicemail, to "remembering" our last call with you, 8x8 has revolutionized our ability to serve Maryland's brain injury community.