You know that you need some sort of team communication tool to cut down on the lost messages and the lag in response time that’s slowing everything down. No one likes a game of email-tag, and businesses are increasingly turning to instant-chat tools.
Companies come in different sizes and have different business models, so it’s no surprise that there’s no true one-size-fits-all communication tool. Different types of companies will benefit from unique features that suit their needs, and finding the right internal company communication tool will help you streamline teamwork and project management, while also better connecting cross-functional teams more effectively.
If you’re tired of drowning in forgotten emails or trying to track down crucial information in a swarm of confusing messages, keep reading. In this post, we’ll take a look at three of the best team communication tools and help you decide which one is right for you.
Slack is one of the most popular and well-known team communication tools out there, and it focuses on direct instant chat between groups in the most effective way possible. You can create threads of discussion to keep everything organized, as well as add files, Google Doc links, and more to your messages ensuring that everyone who needs information can access it quickly.
Slack has outstanding search functionality so you can always find what you’re looking for quickly, and comes with strong integration options that includes Google Drive, Zoom, Salesforce, and more.
Users have the option to set away messages, statutes, or even choose emojis for their own individual employee accounts, keeping everyone on the same page about when each team member is available. It also offers an easy-to-use mobile app, desktop notifications, and the ability to reply by email, so it’s sure to get users’ attention and encourage fast responses.
Slack works well regardless of team size thanks to its ability to break down communication into specific groups. I use it for my three-person team, and have been added to many of my clients’ slacks even if they have hundreds or thousands of employees.
The basic Slack plan is free but if you want any added features, then Slack ranges in price, costing between $6.67 to $12.50 per user, depending on the features you’re looking for. Many small teams can easily use the standard plan, as it will have all the features they need.
Slack Is Best Suited For: Teams of all sizes who want to coordinate with internal and/or external team members or clients working on creative problem solving, as opposed to focusing heavily on analytics.
Chatter is another instant chat communication tool, and while it has a slightly bigger learning curve than Slack, it has more advanced analytics and project management features, making it a good fit for companies doing a lot of work in IT or working on complicated projects.
Chatter has more native features that can efficiently get important information to the right people quickly. They include the ability to conduct polls within the app to streamline communication, as well as sharing customer feedback with the team members who need to see it and respond quickly. It’s created by Salesforce, so it works seamlessly with other tools created by the company.
Unlike Slack, Chatter has features to “close cases” or mark certain tasks as resolved. This is a huge benefit for companies trying to juggle complicated projects and so many different tasks, allowing everyone to quickly identify what’s left to be done.
Because Chatter has so many native tools, it will typically be best when you aren’t using other project management tools like Asana, which would end up being redundant, or when you’re sharing large amounts of data with your team.
Chatter is available for $15 per user per month for companies that aren’t already using Salesforce. If you are using Salesforce, however, it’s available at no added cost.
Chatter Is Best Suited For: Medium and large teams that are doing complex project management with lots of moving parts or in-depth analytics. This should be the first tool that IT companies look at. It’s also a good choice if you already have Salesforce since it’s free for current users.
Microsoft offers its own excellent version of group chat software, aptly named Microsoft Teams.
This software is a little like Slack, a little like Chatter, and it adds something of its own, too.
Microsoft Teams breaks down chats into different threads of discussion that look more like social media posts than just an endless stream of disjointed conversations, resembling Chatter’s organization structure. This is an advantage when you have lots of team members working on a number of different projects at once.
One of the biggest unique benefits that this tool offers is secure video or audio web conferencing, preventing you from needing to use a third-party tool like Zoom if you want to keep things compliant. These calls allow for screen sharing, and can be conducted either one-on-one or in a group. Group calls are included in the free plans and meeting recording is available with the Office 365 Business Essentials and Business Premium Plans.
Microsoft Teams has plans ranging from free to $12.50 per user per month, with the more advanced plans offering more features like phone support, meeting recording, and more advanced security features.
Microsoft Teams Is Best Suited For: Teams who are regularly using video or audio conference calls to stay on the same page such as companies with remote employees. This is the biggest reason to use this software, though it has the best free plan out there for medium or large businesses who don’t want to pay a lot for team communication software.
When it comes to choosing the right communication tool for your company, it’s important to decide what you need to better facilitate project management internally and even externally. This will vary from business to business, so consider what features you need and how you’d like to use the tool to improve team communication. There’s no one right answer for all businesses, just the right answer for what works best for yours.
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