If you’re still using emails to exchange work messages,
who better than you can understand the problem of endless email chains, annoying CC’s, and accidental Reply All’s?
While emails have a certain charm,
they’re not the best tool for internal communication.
If you use email for work chat, reviewing all the conversations about a single project requires sifting through multiple email chains.
However, in a dedicated team chat app, you’ll save time by seeing all the conversations and documents about a project in one place — a thread or a channel.
What is Team chat Software
Here’s what Benjamin Sternsmith, Area Vice President of Sales, Lyft Business says about using Email for office messaging:
“You can’t have a good conversation over email – it’s not quick enough. Coming together in a team chat app, channels or threads allows us to easily discuss day-to-day management topics. That’s invaluable.”
Team Chat Software's: Benefits & features
The choice is simple. You could get buried in endless email threads.
Or you could get work done in team chat apps (in real-time). While team chat software allows teams to enable seamless communication, the right tool and its smart use can really help them zoom past the competition.
Part of this is about higher efficiency and better productivity. With a centralized workspace, conversation and collaboration happen faster —Got a query while you’re at work? Type a short text, get an equally short response, and get back to work.
Team chat apps also assure that all team members can participate in, or at least, review relevant conversations, while also ignoring files or text that aren’t relevant to them.
Hence, more and more businesses today are looking for digital solutions for team communication and collaboration. Take a look at these numbers:
Team Chat Software's: 2020 Tools
All in all, team messaging apps are no longer limited to organizing team conversations and searching topics but have become a way of life too. And I know you’ve learned that too, or why else would you still be here?
Dozens of internal messaging applications are available, and they can cut down the overwhelm of email and also eliminate a lot of the headache. But with so many apps out there, it can be hard to know which one you should use.
In this article, we’ll help you cut through the clutter and walk you through our picks for the best team chat software currently on the market. We reviewed and tested over twenty-eight team chat apps, and these eleven are the ones we'd recommend.
Team Chat Software's: How To Pick
But before we jump to the tools section, let’s answer some of the FAQs about office chat programs, their usage, features, and more.
Well, we already know remote collaboration tools are crucial for businesses to operate remotely. But there’s more to business chat tools than meets the eyes. Below are some of the proven benefits of using chat room software for your business:
Improved Communication Between Team Members:
No points for explaining, the team chat software is designed to improve communication. With features such as instant messaging, calling, voice recording, file sharing, and screen sharing, communication between team members is never compromised.
Internal messaging that combines different modes of communication and information exchange into one thread or channel, can that can easily be integrated with other office tools, is important for reducing the distraction of app-switch or task-switching.
With these tools at hand, access to shared updates, information, and project links becomes faster as well. An ideal work chat app will be available across multiple OS and devices so that whether your teammates love Android or apple, they won’t be left out.
Better Employee Management:
Needless to say, best group chat apps are the ones that allow teams to monitor and track employee’s progress with visuals, graphs, and analytics. In this way, these tools increase employee engagement, and hence, boost an individual’s productivity too.
Features such as effective internal communication, actionable feedback, and user generated solutions through idea boards and forums, and real-time access to information builds a more engaged, informed, and connected workforce — all the things a team needs to bridge the disconnect between remote employees and managers.
The whole point of using these tools is easing the work and organizing it. With workplace chat apps, team members can schedule meetings, discuss current tasks, ask for feedback, and plan ahead. In short, streamline it all.
The ability to share files, add tasks, and integrate other apps also streamlines workflow by making everything accessible within one application. It also helps teams to share and redistribute workloads more effectively.
Take, file sharing feature, for example that allows you to use file hosting, sharing, and storage services of your choice without leaving the app. The best team chat apps include dynamic filter and search functions and let teams refer to files, texts, and multimedia easily.
Effective Project Management:
Proper communication is directly proportional to effective project management. When teams communicate effectively, they not only reduce the chances of errors or confusion but also pave the way for timely project delivery.
Quality team communication software has the best features to increase efficiency of project management. At any given time, you and your team can communicate with coworkers and create to-do lists for projects and request information on the status.
With a good team communication software, your teams can make collaboration easier and streamline business processes. It cuts the need for constant meetings since users can ask questions and access the right information anytime, with a few clicks.
When an admin has in-place a set of instructions and regulations for employees to review tasks, update managers on their progress, get reminders of the ETD, it all increases accountability and increases team member’s sense of responsibility.
While instant messaging and calling are the selling points of most office chat apps, these features alone don’t make such tools great. The best team chat apps are the ones that have these following functionalities:
Keeping track of correspondence, third-party vendors, and company data is overwhelming when team communication is spread out across different platforms or modes — emails, phone calls, and text messages. An ideal team chat app centralizes all of the internal communication into one unified space for better employee experience.
The best team chat apps unifies and organizes conversations in a way that enables easy access to information by the right people at the right time. Some messages or documents need to be seen by everyone in the team, and others need to happen at an individual or group level. A team chat app takes care of this — through features that allow admins to add or remove team members only in the threads, groups, or channels relevant to them.
Besides the internal messaging features, a great team chat app allows you to securely connect with vendors, suppliers, clients, and freelancers without posing your company a threat of security breach and information misuse. Through this feature, you can limit the vendor/client’s access to specific contacts, features, and information.
Take, for Example, Troop Messenger, it has an ‘Orange Member’ feature using which admins can invite anyone outside of their internal team.
These orange members can be prospective clients, vendors, suppliers, or freelancers.
Admins also have the privilege to set conditions for an orange member and decide the features, contacts, and information accessible to them.
When it comes to managing communication and collaboration on team chat apps, I don’t think there’s anything that could be more frustrating than finding a particular text, document, or link that was shared months ago.
When you have a team of, let’s say, 200 members, can you scan through all the conversations to find a document that was shared one month ago? Without appropriate filters, you’ll only end up overwhelmed with the amount of information that’s exchanged in the workplace chat app.
With universal search or advanced filtering features, your team can quickly find past conversations for relevant information. Take, for example, Slack and Troop Messenger — both these interoffice messaging apps have advanced filters that make searching super easy.
Where Slack allows you to use search modifiers for making searching easy, Troop Messenger has different types of filters to serve the same purpose — Filter by Image, Video, File, Link, Contact, Location, Read Receipt, Respond Later, and Flag.
This is perhaps the basic one. But would you ever consider onboarding your team or employees on a work instant messenger that has a clunky interface or too steep a learning curve? I bet not. An office messenger that lacks good navigation is counterproductive and will probably result in frustration.
Your members need to be able to navigate through the dashboard, conversations, integrations, and files easily. For this, the user interface must be neat, clean, and without unnecessary clutter.
Now this one is as important as others mentioned above, or perhaps more, if your team requires access to multiple apps to accomplish the projects. For example, you may need access to Google Drive or Dropbox where all your files are stored.
Now, normally, if you’d be using a basic chat app, you’ll have to switch to Google Drive or Dropbox to access those files. But with an office messaging app, you can access, edit, or share the files from many more apps without switching between apps.
With the constant data theft, system hacks, and security breaches that data-sensitive companies get subjected to, it’s important for employers to implement a highly-secure, E2E Encrypted team chat application.
Most of the popular remote collaboration tools now offer a highly secure medium for teams to communicate and collaborate while meeting the ever-changing security and compliance needs. For example, Mattermost uses TLS encryption for both in-transit and at-rest data transmission.
Another security feature that’s grabbing headlines is Troop Messenger’s Privacy Chat feature where two individuals can chat in an incognito window that expires after a stipulated time, and the data isn’t stored anywhere.
These 11 team chat software, in our opinion, are the only tools in the market that offer the best balance of all these great features.
Supported Platform: Windows, Web, Android, Linux, Mac OS, and iOS.
Some of the features that make Troop Messenger a robust team chat app is custom administrative control, option to add guests (orange members), privacy chat in a confidential window, and Self-hosting options.
With Troop Messenger, teams collaborate on a single interface through features such as — one-on-one conversations, group conversations,
audio messaging, voice-video calls, screen sharing, forkout, and integrations.
It is one of the strongest team chat apps in terms of features. You get access to all the chat app functionalities and also an option to compartmentalize collaboration through ‘forkout’ and ‘orange member’ features.
Through Forkout, you can send messages to select groups or people, at once, by filtering out people who the text is not relevant for. And via, Orange member feature, you can add third party members/vendors/freelancers by allowing them restricted access to the app.
Troop Messenger allows you to integrate with Google Drive, JIRA, GitHub, LDAP, Dropbox and if you want more, you can build automations with the APIs. Robust security, fingerprint access, End-to-End encryption add up to its list of features.
The tool has a ‘privacy chat’ (Burnout) feature that allows users to chat confidentially in an incognito window where chat history gets deleted after the stipulated time.
Also, Troop Messenger has a generous pricing plan for both the self-hosting and SaaS delivery models — starting as low as $1 per user/month. So Troop Messenger could be a great deal for budget-conscious organizations.
iOS, macOS, Linux, Android, Windows, and Web
Slack, popularly known as team messaging free app, covers your instant messaging basics while supporting seamless integrations, file sharing, and video calling.
Launched in 2013, Slack is ahead in the team chat apps space. It has been praised for having over 2000 integration, a very powerful search capability, and intuitive UX.
On Slack, each team has a general channel where they interact for group/mass communication. But, usually, the day-to-day conversations happen in specific channels created according to the project or task. Team members can dedicate any of the channels they want to be in and receive notifications from.
Furthermore, Slack makes searching very convenient with the multiple search modifiers that team members can use to filter through the conversations and find what they need. Useful features like drag-and drop file sharing, clever design, one-click audio or video call, and emoji reactions make Slack a favourite team chat app.
However, some users call their interaction with this chat app a love-hate relationship. It’s mainly because notifications aren’t as easy to handle. Bulks of channels mean bulk of notification, and that can both overwhelm and confuse the users.
Furthermore, Slack’s biggest downside is its pricing — most competitors and users highlight that it doesn’t come as a part of a broader software bundle and yet, Slack charges more than a standalone app should. Take a look at the pricing:
Supported Platform: iOS, macOS, Linux, Android, Windows, and Web