It seems every year I have to try out a new phone system. In the past I’ve reviewed Vonage, Talkdesk, and Genesys. We’re now on 8×8 and I believe it’s the best yet for our purposes. While 8×8 boasts chat capabilities, after the demo I realized they were even less advanced than Genesys, so all I’m using is their phone system. The funny thing is I actually demo’d the 8×8 Virtual Office tool before I looked at Genesys, had the sales person told me about their Call Center tool I’d probably have moved to it years ago.
Our 8×8 solution is less than half the cost of our prior Genesys system, so that should tell you everything you need to know about why we switched, below I’ll elaborate on my favorite, and least favorite, things about 8×8.
Call Scripting – Although it took a lot of time to learn, the building of IVRs is something I can actually do myself on the fly. This was a much more complicated thing to do with other systems and required professional services, or if they did give you access the features were very limited. Having the ability to build these out myself has been great.
Netsuite Integration – This was the other main reason we moved to them. We’re in the midst of a Netsuite migration and their integration is awesome. Moments after installing the plugin you can control the call from within Netsuite, the customer record pops when they call in, and a note is automatically left on the customer record about the call once it’s complete. The agents love it.
Co-browsing – Another excellent tool they have is the ability to co-browse right from the call screen. You can put a link on your site, the customer clicks it and gives the agent the number, and they can then remotely view the customer’s screen. This is a great help when you’re troubleshooting issues. I will say that there is a script error that this generates on the site which 8×8 has yet to resolve, so we keep it away from the important pages, but it’s still an awesome tool at no additional cost.
Softphone Integration – We were given free Bria softphone licenses along with our agent accounts. This means we save a fortune on IP phones on agent’s desks. The call audio quality is also excellent, which was the thing that scared me away from TalkDesk originally. Maybe it’s because it’s an application running the call instead of a browser window? Not sure but it was instantly huge savings. Softphones also make it easier for agents to work remotely since all they need is a laptop and headset.
Callbacks – Offering the customer the option to keep their place in line and get a callback when it’s their turn is hugely important to us since it’s usually feast or famine in our call center. That feature is offered with 8×8 and is easy to set up.
Wallboards – 8×8 allows you to build some awesome wallboards to show off the stats in real time. Not only can you completely customize them, but you can add color and sound alerts when certain thresholds are exceeded! This is huge for someone like me who used to have to perpetually be checking the queues and have it up on its own screen at all times. Now I just know as long as my laptop isn’t beeping all is well. The moment it starts beeping I can take a look and figure out why we’re backed up.
Customization – The 8×8 professional services team has so far not said no to me on a single feature. This is unheard of really in my experience. Not only were they able to understand my requests and design a solution, but the solutions were relatively cheap! I’m so used to being told it’s not possible I had to reframe my whole way of thinking about phone systems moving to them.
Nobody is perfect though, so here are my least favorite things:
Email Support – It’s been difficult to get much done or even get tickets addressed at all when done by email. We’ve all just come to the conclusion at our company that you have to call to get support to help you. Good support is not something I’ve ever experienced from any phone system though except for Vonage to be fair.
Sales Process – Maybe this is just software sales, it was certainly also the case with Genesys, but I was over promised features like crazy during the sales process. In some cases I discovered I was being misled by simply asking to see the feature and them not being able to demonstrate it once an engineer was on the line, but others I didn’t learn about until after the close. Luckily none of these were deal breakers, but it always just puts a bad taste in my mouth when you start things off by being misled on functionality and features.
So there it is, my 2 cents on 8×8 after using is in production for about 6 months now. Anyone else using them? I understand them to be one of the most popular systems in mid range eCommerce. Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!