Throughout the past decade, email and texting have become two of the most popular forms of communication for businesses that want to reach their employees in a quick manner. However, both email and texting are limited in their functionality. Even though both communication methods are great for one-on-one conversations, attempting to speak with an entire team quickly becomes difficult. If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where back-and-forth texts/emails are necessary to clarify details about a project, you likely understand just how inefficient these services can be.
Team chat apps were developed primarily as a solution to the problems that existed with texts and emails. These apps are designed to provide a centralized portal where every important communication is sent. Whether a scheduling update is made or progress updates are given for projects, all business-related messages will be filtered through the app. The point of these apps is to streamline business communications, encourage staff collaboration and productivity, and get rid of all the hassle that comes with speaking to numerous team members through texts or emails.
In 2016, more than 53 percent of businesses all over the world used collaboration tools to enhance team communication. Since then, this percentage has only increased. With more and more employees working from home, team chat apps have proven to be essential for efficient and effective communication. When a team chat app is effectively implemented into a company’s operations, employees will likely use it on a daily basis to reach out to their coworkers and keep track of any important messages that they’re receiving from team managers or department heads.
While this type of app is being used, it’s common for employees to seek clarification about a weekly schedule or to ask questions about project goals and how they are being reached. The best team chat apps have simple and streamlined interfaces that make them easy to use. Your employees should be able to enter the app and ask a question with just a few clicks of a button. Because of the increasing importance of team communication, there are many feature-rich apps at your disposal.
Once you’ve researched all of your options and have determined which team chat app is best for your business, you can start delving into the features. These apps are helpful for a wide range of different tasks. If you’re building a website and team members are in several different locations, these individuals can use the app to ask questions about site features or to clarify some of the design decisions.
For website management, these apps allow team members to collaborate without needing to be in the same location. If a team member wants to make a change to the back-end of the website, they can send their message through the app that your business is using. At the same time, they can check the app to identify if any messages have been sent by the team manager. Since all business communications are sent through the app, no employees will be left without critical information. This article offers some tips and suggestions on how to choose the ideal team chat app for your company.
5 Ways to Select the Best Team Chat App
There are five methods you can use to select the best app for your specific team. Before you finalize your decision, ask yourself if the app you’re heavily considering offers all of the functionality, organizational tools, and notification options that you want. The app should also be easy to use if you want it to effectively streamline communications between all team members. While many team chat apps have free versions that companies can use for some basic chat functionality, it’s highly recommended that you select a paid service for your team.
Paid apps have significantly more features, many of which are practically essential for any business. To determine which app is right for you and your company, think about the most important needs that your team has. While all team chat apps help to streamline communication and organization, each app has attempted to differentiate itself from the others. Below are some of the factors that you should take into account when searching for the best app.
The team chat app that you choose should give you the ability to create different chat groups within the app. These groups could be based on teams within the organization or specific topics. The organization is the most important factor for any business. If team members are given different information at different times, the quality of the project will almost assuredly suffer.
More confusion within your team can also lead to missed deadlines. For a company to have long-term and sustained success, it must be efficient and productive at all times. By creating specific chat groups, only the relevant employees who are required to know certain information will receive the information, which ensures that the portal doesn’t become cluttered.
The team chat app should also have functionality that makes using the app simple and straightforward. For instance, it’s important that the app contains a search bar that allows members to search for specific messages based on a key phrase or word. The availability of a search bar means that team members won’t waste their time scanning through every message.
These apps are great for keeping team members accountable, which is essential if you want to remain on schedule with your project. If different tasks are allotted to different employees, the quality of a project can be hindered significantly if just one employee doesn’t complete their tasks on time. The best chat apps offer follow-up features that allow you to check project status and implement task lists.
Once a task is finished, the team member who performed the task could enter the app and mark it as completed. Collaboration is instantly improved with this kind of feature. Instead of wasting time contacting team members and asking if they’ve completed the work, you can simply check the status through the app.
4. Easy to Use
Ease-of-use is very important for the team chat app that you select. When the user interface is easy to navigate and use, team members won’t need to spend ample amounts of their time getting used to the features. Productivity will invariably be better when employees don’t waste time learning how to use an app that’s supposed to bolster productivity. Selecting an app that’s straightforward and easy to use should also help during the onboarding process with new employees.
In the event that an employee is assigned a task or tagged in a team-wide message, they should be notified immediately by the app. If the app doesn’t send notifications, team members will need to scan entire conversations just to determine if any of the content is worthwhile. Notifications eliminate this issue and can also be used as reminders for deadlines.
Our Top 3 Favorite Team Chat Apps
While there are many great team chat apps that you can use with your business, the following are three of our favorite chat apps, all of which are feature-rich and distinct.
Slack is among the most popular team chat applications that are used for team collaboration. Along with the standard instant messaging features, you’ll also benefit from extensive file-sharing functionality, automatic syncing for numerous devices, and integration with more than 1,500 apps.
The free version of slack stores 10,000 messages, offers 5GB of storage space, and includes one-on-one calls. Standard and plus packages are available that provide additional features and functionality. Slack is known for having a great UI and one of the best free versions around. However, the voice-meeting and video-meeting functions are still rudimentary.
Microsoft Teams is considered to be the best team chat app for larger enterprises. However, it’s great for small and large businesses alike. The primary features available through Microsoft Teams include the ability to mute chats, extensive customization options for instant messages, a search filter, and comprehensive video-conferencing tools.
Meeting rooms are able to accommodate as many as 49 separate employees. The main downsides with using this tool include a limited UI and very few free features. The free plan includes unlimited chat and unlimited users. However, video calls can only last 60 minutes. Three separate paid plans are available for $5-$20 per user, per month.
Teamwork is a collaborative tool that’s ideal for small businesses. When using this app, you’ll benefit from instant chat channels and extensive video functionality. Notifications and messages can also be heavily customized. The chat software is designed to be accessed by desktop or smartphone. The main features of this tool include a searchable chat history, the ability to create different channels for teams and projects, and the ability to set reminders and deadlines.
The app is very easy to use, which should ensure that productivity doesn’t drop as employees learn how to operate the app. The main issues with this app include no offline accessibility and a poor free tier. If you decide to use the free plan, you can use the app with five users and will receive 100mb in storage. Two paid plans are available if you want extra functionality.
Benefits of Using a Team Chat App
Your company can benefit from using a team chat app in a number of tangible ways. The main benefit of using a team chat app is improved communication between team members. No longer will you be tasked with sending messages by email or basic texting services. If some or all team members are working remotely, these apps should help foster a streamlined workflow.
Keep in mind that these apps are useful for both small and large businesses. No matter the size of your company, chat apps allow multiple team members to communicate in an efficient and organized manner where no employee is left out of the loop. Some additional benefits of team chat apps include:
- Better project management
- More accountability among team members
- Better organization
- Improved relationships among team members
Whether you use Slack or Microsoft Teams, the team chat apps at your disposal can help your company become more productive and more efficient. The best apps are simple to use yet still offer expansive features and functionality that provide for all of the needs your team has.