Communication is one of, if not the most important aspects of keeping a business or organization together.
Team communication and collaboration lead to better task management, greater productivity, and increased efficiency.
But since the COVID-19 pandemic, some 80% of the world’s workforce is or has been “deskless” at one point or another.
This shift has led many businesses and organizations to evaluate their team communication channels. They’re finding new tools for communicating as a team and amongst their employees.
In this article, I cover:
Read on for more.
Team communication is the process of discussing business needs and processes between team members. Team communication typically takes place across multiple messaging channels and tools. Team communication channels often include internal team chat, text messaging, email, and phone calls.
Team collaboration and communication are often directly related to the success of organizations big and small. Teams that communicate effectively are more cohesive. They tend to think more creatively, solve problems more easily, and deliver better products and services.
You’ll want to consider all of your current communications channels when it comes to choosing the best team communication software.
It’s likely that your organization already uses a combination of internal team chat, text messaging, email, and voice calls.
So the question really is: how do you unify all of your employee and team communication into one place?
To start answering this question, here’s a breakdown of pros and cons for the four most commonly used team and internal communication tools:
|Internal Team Chat||Text Messaging||Phone|
|Channels for organizing conversations||Siloed messaging||Quick messaging||Native messaging is limited||Everyone has email||Cluttered and often unorganized||Immediate and instant||Fewer people are answering phone calls|
|Status display availability||Not often integrated with text and email||Everyone has a phone||Shorter messages||More formal||Slower response times||Most human way to connect||Phone calls take time|
|Instant messaging||Great for instant alerts and updates||Great for file sharing and attachments||Best for 1-on-1 communication|
Internal communication apps that offer team chat make it easy for employees to send messages back and forth instantly. These messages are often organized into channels.
Many team communication tools also allow employees to set a status. This lets other employees know when they’re free to respond to messages.
The problem with some internal team chat apps is that they’re siloed. They’re not often integrated with other messaging channels like text and email. This can be good or bad depending on your team messaging needs.
Chat streams also make it harder to go back through a channel and find historical information. Messages live in a loosely organized stream.
As part of an employee communications platform, text messages totally works. Everyone has a phone that can send and receive texts. This gives texting some clear advantages.
It’s a great way to send broadcasts and alerts to employees. It also works well for employees who need to send and receive messages amongst each other.
The downside to texting is that its value depends on the software or service you’re using to send messages.
To be truly collaborative, you don’t want employees texting each other using their native text messaging software on their phones. You’ll want to consider a business text messaging app with a shared team inbox instead.
Emails are the standard for team and business messaging. It’s a formal messaging channel that’s versatile for short and long messages and it supports attachments and file sharing.
The problem with email is email. It’s become a cluttered and often inefficient way to communicate as a team. This is partly because email management gets harder to scale as teams get larger.
The result is slow responses and wasted time waiting for answers.
There will always be a need for phone calls. They’re the most immediate and human way to have a conversation.
But phone calls come with limitations. They’re really best for 1-on-1 communication. They don’t scale well unless you’re using an autodialer. And fewer people are answering the phone these days (many prefer text messages and email).
Internal chat apps, text messages, email, and voice calls are all viable ways to communicate as a team.
But with all these options, your internal communication strategy should really be about how you use and unify these messaging channels.
The best way to unify team communication is through a shared inbox. Ideally, the best communication apps support internal chat, text messages, email, and even voice.
Inboxes are a now universal way to get people on the same page. This is because they’re great at organizing and filtering conversations and information into one view for multiple employees.
Multiple team members get access to a unified view of conversational information which makes it easy for them to take action.
Here’s what MessageDesk’s shared team inbox looks like:
If unifying conversations is important, then what else should you look for based on the pros and cons above?
Look for these six features when choosing a team or employee communication app:
Below I’ve assembled a list of the best communication apps. They’re listed in no particular order but here are some of the current favorites:
Businesses and organizations who need to message internally and text alerts and updates to employees
MessageDesk allows employees and teams to text one-on-one and in large groups from a 10-digit phone number. You can also connect your existing business phone number or text enable your landline.
MessageDesk makes it easy for employees and teams to send and receive text messages. You can also share and send large media files, such as photos, documents, and other files.
After a free trial, starting costs are $29 per month for one user or $79 per month for up to five users. We also offer custom pricing for larger teams.
Small to medium-sized teams that work remotely, or large teams that also occasionally meet in person
Slack is a popular internal communication app. It comes loaded with features and integrations that give users plenty of ways to customize their interface.
Pro plans cost $8 per person per month, and Business+ costs $15 per person per month.
Businesses with large teams of remote workers who already use Microsoft Office products on a daily basis
Microsoft Teams is an all-in-one platform. It works seamlessly with other Microsoft Office software and allows teams to easily collaborate on documents remotely in real-time.
There’s a Microsoft 365 Business Basic plan for $5 per user per month. That comes with three other apps. Microsoft 365 Business Standard costs $12.50 per user per month but comes with up to nine other apps.
Teams with employees that are familiar with Facebook
Workplace from Meta offers a ton of innovative communication and productivity features. These include surveys, polls, and newsfeeds, all on a platform that looks like Facebook.
The Core plan costs just $4 per person per month. But companies have the option to pay for add-ons for an extra monthly cost.
Businesses that only need basic messaging, calling, and video conferencing services
Google Hangouts covers all of your basic communication app needs well. It's a great option for businesses that don't anticipate relying heavily on video or audio calls.
Google offers Google Hangouts for free, as well as Google Workspace Individual for $7.99 per individual per month. Google Workspace Enterprise offers more options and features, and Google provides custom pricing on that package.
Businesses that need to unify email conversations, text, chat, and more to provide superior customer service.
Front is an email-centric shared team inbox. They’re a business communication app that offers text messaging and chat as well, but some of this functionality is limited. Front is a great tool for teams who need to organize, respond to, track, and search on customer conversations.
Front costs $19 per user per month for the Starter plan or $49 per user per month for the Prime plan. They also offer custom pricing for their Enterprise plan.
Small to medium-sized teams who need an internal team communication app but with more ways to engage with employees
Connecteam is an internal communication app that offers many additional employee engagement and productivity features. These additional features include employee time tracking, scheduling, forms, checklists, task management, and employee training.
Connecteam’s higher pricing tiers cost $39, $79, and $159 per month for up to 50 users. There are additional fees for adding more users.
Expensive for teams that are either really small or really large
Limited app integration options
Teams that need basic team communication and collaboration software at an affordable price
Chanty offers an intuitive and basic employee communication app. It gets the job done for many organizations that don't need more advanced features.
Chanty costs just $3 per user per month for the business plan, making it affordable for small businesses.
There’s plenty of worthwhile employee and team communication software on the market. The trick is deciding what’s right for you and your people.
For questions, you can always meet with a MessageDesk messaging expert to discuss your team communication needs.
You’re also free to try out MessageDesk’s shared team inbox and team messaging features by starting a free trial.
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