It wouldn’t be a surprise if your company already started using those communication tools to help internalize communication between your employees or clients. But the truth is, it probably isn’t doing much of a job to help make the company’s communication more effective. Here are the top 10 best instant messaging tools for business that we’ve picked out for you that do more than just texting.
Before getting down to it, you might want to know what an IM is exactly.
If you want to know how IM impacts your business, here are some more reads about internal communication trends here.
What Exactly is an IM?
Usually, instant messaging is more commonly known as the buzzword IM. Put simply, it is a text-message exchange process through software application in real-time. Enterprises mainly use these apps to share information between employees; which, in another sense, also forges faster decision-making process within your team.
Why Should I Use It?
IM doesn’t just pop up out of nowhere. The reason for such massive adoption like Facebook among companies of all sizes is its organized and effective flow of work agenda that it provides. The old ways of workplace communication are just way too inefficient: emails aren’t stored in the same place, and the fact that waiting for people to send, receive and reply an email could take hours or even days. It is clear that IM is here to streamline the process and make team chat more fun.
Now, it’s time to break down the best 10 instant messaging tools for business out there in the market.
Google Hangouts + Chat Read Now
Slack Read Now
WeChat Work Read Now
Stride Read Now
Rocketbots Read Now
Spark Read Now
Cisco Jabber Read Now
Flock Read Now
Brosix Read Now
Skype for Business Read Now
1. Google + Hangouts
Google+Hangouts is probably gone without saying the biggest and most used one in the instant messaging market. It first started out as a consumer-friendly chat service, and it was until recently till it transformed into deep integration with its G Suite apps that can fully support your business corporation as smooth as baby’s bottom. All you need for your team is a Google account, and you’re all set.
Another good thing about it is that you don’t have to worry a thing about its compatibility. It works the same with all devices – Androids, Apple devices, and computers, so it can save you lots of time from all those IT messes. It also provides one-on-one chats, threaded messages, even create bots within the Hangout itself.
Things You Should Look Out For
Just when you thought it is good as it gets, there’s still something that you should look out for: you have to organize your contacts from all different channels, which could be a real issue to deal with. Also, there’s no prior notification before you receive a voice call or video call, so it could be a rather subtle surprise when there’s an unplanned incoming call for you.
If your company is an SME, then Slack might be the good fit for you. Similar to Google Hangouts, Slack offers one-on-one and group chat functions for your business. You can archive up to 10,000 messages. The best thing is, the interface gives the best user experience to your staff, especially those that use Mac.
There’s also a lot you can do on Slack. All files and chats are synced, archived and searchable, so you don’t ever have to worry you and your staff aren’t on the same page again. Besides, Slack also got the built-in Slack-bot tool that reminds you of messages on basically all devices – Android, iOS, Windows, and others.
Spice It Up For Your Millennial Workers
If you think texts are too boring for your Gen Z workers, then Slack might just have the right thing for you. Beside from texts, you can also send GIFs and videos on the platform, making the messages way more fun.
3. WeChat Work
If you’re doing business in China, then you probably already heard so many great things about WeChat Work. Being the most popular instant messenger tool in China, WeChat Work supports a ton of functions – OA application, third-party applications for selection and API access to its own application, making it works so well with other software.
Tap It and Get It
If you hate managing all of the messy business contacts, then WeChat might just be able to help you out with that. The Address Book Management function allows you to find the contacts you need all in the homescreen; you can also get the colleague information just in a touch of a button, making it all the easier.
You might not know this but here’s the thing: HipChat got rebranded as Stride now. If you’re a fan of HipChat, then you might probably like Stride too.
Putting A Stop To Procrastinating
If your team have a little issue with work procrastination, then this app is tailored-made for your team to start getting things down. What’s amazing about Stride is you can directly assign a task by marking any message on it, avoiding all the unnecessary fuss. Once the task is done, you can just check it off on the sidebar of the chat, making everything as easy as it could be.
We get it. With all those notifications popping out here and there, it’s only natural for us to zone out of work. Now, with the Focus Mode on Stride, you can mute all the notifications and distraction with just a click of a button, making you unstoppable at work.
The Lone-Wolf in IM
Considering the fact that Stride is still fairly new to the market, there isn’t much third-party integrations or bots you can do with. If you are handling customer support issues, you would probably find Stride pretty frustrating as you can’t forward or quote previous messages, so you may have to scroll all the way back to the original messages and it could be troublesome.
Different from other IM out there, Rocketbots isn’t an Instant Messenger; instead, it is a conversational management tool that utilizes the channels of your users and combines them into one CRM. Simply put, with only one platform, they can connect user’s profiles from all different channels, including Wechat, Wechat Work, Facebook Workplace, Facebook Messenger and Slack.
Say Goodbye To Angry Customers
You also don’t have to worry about getting angry customers for keeping them for a 10-hour wait of reply, because the bot will be the instant responder to all your clients. The human agent will cut in automatically whenever you need, which can save you time and money while keeping up your service quality up to standard.
And, that’s not it. The robust analytics provides insights for your bot engagement, keeping performance in check by constant monitoring, and the ability to adapt to user behavior. Other exciting features include broadcasting announcements, tagging users, segmenting audiences, and an instant file delivery system – which enables you to send files to users from a database.
Save the Headache Of Clogged Emails
With the built-in bot, you can now officially break up with all the frustrating paperwork. The bots will answer all the questions that can be easily dealt with, saving you all the repetitive back-and-forth email process. All the files and forms now have the bot to take care of, so you don’t have to. Now you can concentrate your time on developing your business and move on to the other more important business on your work agenda.
Similar to Slack, Spark is also a rather popular instant messenger for all the SMEs out there. If you are also a company with lots of different chat groups, then we both might’ve been through the same place where you can easily mix up the users. But their random color feature might just be able to help you resolve this misery – the different colors can help you distinguish different users, which makes you smarter at work.
Give Your Employees A Bit More Privacy
After the Cambridge Analytics accident, it is only natural for your employees to be a bit concerned with their privacy issue. Here you can give your employees just the right reassurance they needed – now your employees can create team chats with security password so only the approved personnel can gain access to the group chat you wanted, as they would their emails.
The only annoying thing that can set you off is their buzz feature – the tool makes everyone have access to it, so it would send you high-pitched noises all the time, which could quite distracting. Another thing about this is their slow transferring time – the image/file sharing feature can take up to 20 minutes to transfer. While waiting on that, you might as well get yourself a cup of tea while you’re at that.
7. Cisco Jabber
Cisco Jabber is an open source application that supports other messaging systems. The roaming extension, supervised transfer and flexible extension logic makes it all the better for the UX for your staff. Of course, the application also integrates well with Cisco video phones, WebEx and other Cisco products. The seamless transfer from desktop to the mobile app is also the reason why users love them.
Aside from the above advantages that Jabber provides, you can also take calls over VoIP and launch a WebEx meeting. If you are the type of person who works in the holiday, the easy phone directory might just work in your favor.
Glitches And Missed Calls
The bugging issue with the login system sure is the biggest problem that bothers most of the Jabber users. The Jabber system won’t save your login information when using single sign-on, making problems arises like repeat logins for users, which could be quite a headache.
The glitches may be a minor issue to deal with, but the bigger problem definitely goes to the missed calls and messages. With the initial layout and interface, your mobile clients can easily fade into the background, and you can ready to get a few grumpy calls from your clients.
The features of Flock are more or less the same with Slack: one-on-one and in-group conversation, integrated to-dos and able to add reminders for any messages. But here’s the best part: the price is cheaper than Slack, which is all the better for the Flock users.
More reads on why leveraging workplace conversation is important for your business in here.
Polls are another included feature of Flock, where it allows you to do an opinion poll on it, which is better than Slack where you must establish and connect another app account beforehand. Also, the wide integration with a list of other apps like Zapier, IFTTT made the support even better.
The Unending Suffer
The trouble that Flock bugs users the most is this– it was made necessary to enable email access if you want to get into the system. Once you enter the email address, you will have to wait for the verification code to send to your phone. If you think this is only a one-time suffer for the first sign-in, then you’re wrong – they literally made it a login routine, so you have to bear with it every time thereafter. Bummer.
Although many people would mistake Brosix as a team chat app, it is in fact an instant messenger at its core (well, at least in terms of its functionality). Video–calls, screen-sharing, and whiteboarding are also few of the collaboration support that it provides. The easy-to-use sidebar-style interface also made the user experience all the better.
Being one of the best secure communication channels, users can share their work or tasks through private network. Whether you want to import or export files, it can be done in a safer way where only the specifically selected few can view the files, giving your staff the much-needed privacy.
The list doesn’t just end in here. The easy-to-use interface is also one of the things that users love about that. You don’t have to worry about any additional clusters, the 3 main tabs allow you to easily navigate the platform easily, making one of the best user experience for you at work.
10. Skype For Business
Essentially, Skype for Business is a consumer video conferencing app that featured enterprise voice-over-IP (VoIP) service. Not only is the user interface (UI) familiar for your staff to use, but the dial-in audio conferencing also makes your meeting so much easier. With the robust desktop sharing function, people can now broadcast any visuals, web pages, documents, applications, and software on it, making the operation even more user-friendly.
Skype does more than just instant messaging. If you have staff in remote countries, you can use the remote meeting function to train your employees in other countries. You can even take over the computer to perform certain tasks if you want. (of course, only under permission)
Bad Call Quality
Although Skype for Business is best known for its conferencing video calls, sometimes the quality of calls could be bad as few glitches appear. Besides that, status updates are quite slow in the windows, so there could at times showing you’re offline when you’re signing on the page.
Picking Out The Right Instant Messenger For Your Company
To wrap this up, the 10 selected tools are mostly economical solutions suitable for companies of all sizes. But do keep this in mind, when considering which instant messaging tool best fits your company, you might want to take your company culture into consideration. In this way, you can make messaging more fun than ever in the workplace.