In a move designed to help small businesses whose cash-flow has been affected by the credit crunch, the Santa Clara, California-based provider of Packet8 business, mobile and residential broadband communications services today announced that it’s reducing monthly service charges.
Officials at 8x8, Inc. say they’re cutting charges for their so-called “Virtual Office Business Phone Service” by 50 percent for subscribers who enroll before year’s end.
Normally a $49.99 per month service, the hosted IP-PBX service will cost $24.99 per month per extension for those who sign up by Dec. 31. In an even less expensive alternative, 8x8 (News - Alert) is offering a $250 per extension fee for an entire year of service for new subscribers.
According to 8x8 Chairman and CEO Bryan R. Martin, VoIP technology has quickly come into focus as an effective and immediate cost cutting tool for small and medium-sized businesses.
“Benefits like predictable monthly phone bills, remote working capabilities, and Fortune 500 enterprise-class calling features are not only helping our small business customers survive in this recession, but are actually helping them to prosper and run their businesses more efficiently,” said Martin, pictured right. “We want more companies to experience the business advantages that VoIP communications services like Virtual Office can deliver.”
Officials at the company say that new customers must purchase their IP phones and agree to keep service for a minimum of one year in order to be eligible for the promotion.
The offer effectively sweetens a deal for a technology that’s already gaining traction for its own cost-saving features.
Internet telephony technology, otherwise known as VoIP – short for “Voice over Internet Protocol” – gives companies a full-featured business phone system over an existing broadband network for a fraction of the cost of traditional alternatives. For small businesses, including all of those hurting in this recession, the technology can bring cost savings, particularly in installation and maintenance costs. Also, monthly service fees covering unlimited calling and business- class features are fixed, bringing a predictable and worry-free budgeting process.
Martin says that VoIP essentially has changed the game in the world of voice communications, for residential as well as business subscribers.
“Customers can get the same quality phone service, for far less cost,” Martin said. “The system installs in minutes and is loaded with standard features like auto-attendants, unlimited conference calling, music on hold, ring groups, one number dialing and more – all of which can add a big-business feel to a smaller business set-up.”
The numbers back up Martin’s claim. Existing 8x8 Virtual Office subscribers save more than 50 percent on legacy monthly telecommunications costs by switching from traditional phone services to the VoIP platform and, with more cash reserves, are better prepared to wait out today’s deteriorating financial conditions.
Scott Howard of Spokane Valley, Washington-based Western Security Appraisal Services said that Virtual Office service has expanded the company’s phone system capabilities while reducing the operating cost per unit.
“When we first chose to switch to Virtual Office, we saw about a 50 percent reduction in cost for the same features and function that our old PBX (News - Alert) phone company offered,” Howard said.
Another Virtual Office subscriber – Jesse Baker, owner of an iSold It franchise in Long Island, New York, said that the 8x8 product keeps staff members working instead of answering frequently asked questions on the phone.
“The auto-attendant handles the FAQs and my staff stays focused on the job,” Baker said. “This has saved me hundreds of dollars every month in labor expenses.”
For Martin, the Virtual Office cost reduction program is about more than bringing in new customers, it’s about “awakening businesses’ awareness of these new technologies and showing them how these telecommunication services can help keep their doors open.”
8x8 Inc. is a Platinum sponsor of Internet Telephony Conference & EXPO — the biggest and most comprehensive IP communications event of the year. ITEXPO (News - Alert) will take place in Miami, Florida, Feb. 2 to 4, 2009, featuring three valuable days of exhibits, conferences, and networking opportunities you can’t afford to miss. Don’t wait. Register now!
Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael’s articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Michael Dinan