Team Communication Apps: Top 5 For Business Messaging

By
Cullen MacDonald
June 26, 2015

As people constantly connected to our smart phones, most of us have adopted texting as our preferred method of quick communication in our personal and professional lives. Accordingly, intuitive, powerful team communication apps, or business messaging apps, have become indispensable to companies small and large. These instant messaging applications provide a compelling alternative to email––an easy, efficient way for colleagues to chat and stay connected, share files, and work across multiple devices––without having to dig through inboxes, deal with extended email exchanges to have a simple conversation, or get distracted by SPAM and junk mail. Building a culture of fast electronic communication is particularly important for sales reps, who may want to get in touch with the back office in real time without having to sort through email threads or bother with a phone call. It can also do wondering for in-office communication, promoting more cooperative interaction between departments. We’ve put together this handy pro/con list of our 5 favorite team communication apps to help you decide which system might be best for your company.

Top Team Communication Apps

HipChat

One of the most popular business messaging systems, this fast and secure messaging service is available for Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android devices, and as a web application. HipChat Basic accounts are free, while HipChat Plus accounts are priced at $2/user/month. Pros  

  • Drag and drop file-sharing makes sharing screenshots, presentations, documents, etc. incredibly simple.
  • Unlimited chat rooms.
  • Customizable alerts. You can select in-app notifications, email, SMS and mobile push notifications.
  • Hipchat syncs across multiple devices, so you can pick up a conversation on the go. All messages are archived and searchable.
  • Conversations are safely encrypted with the same protocol online banks use.
  • 60+ integrations available.
  • Unlimited file storage for HipChat Plus users.
  • Voice and video conferencing and screen sharing.
  • Simple user interface.
  • Cheap plans, simple pricing.

Cons

  • Doesn’t allow independent notification settings for each chat.
  • Can’t support multiple groups under one account.
  • Search functionality could be better.

Slack 

Slack is another incredibly popular messaging service, used by the likes of BuzzFeed, eBay, and NBC Universal. The main difference between the two is the interface. Slack shines with a visual, user-friendly interface, and their signature Slackbot is there to help new users get acquainted with the service. Slack is available for Mac, iOS, Android, and as a web app. There are a few different versions of Slack with varying prices, features, and available integrations. Slack Basic is free, the Standard plan comes to $6.67 per user/month and the Plus plan is $12.50 per user/month (billed annually). Pros:

  • Sleek, aesthetically appealing chat interface.
  • Excellent search functionality.
  • Drag and drop file sharing from your desktop, Dropbox, iCloud, etc.
  • Public, private, group and one-on-one chats are securely stored.
  • Slack only pushes notifications when you are away from your device.
  • Slackbot offers tips and tricks for better communication, while also serving as a personal notepad.
  • 70+ integrations and the option to customize your own.
  • Individual room notifications available.

Cons:

  • Video chat and screen sharing functions are in the works, but not yet available.
  • No Windows or Linux clients available.
  • No self-hosted version available.

Avaamo

Avaamo is a business messaging application built specifically for teams on mobile, making this a great option for mobile sales teams. Notably, Avaamo can also be used for secure, two-way messaging with people outside of the company––vendors, partners, and customers. Avaamo’s basic accounts are free. Avaamo Premium includes increased customer support, data compliance, as well other helpful features. Potential users must contact Avaamo for pricing for premium accounts. Avaamo is available for iOS and Android. Pros

  • Avaamo allows you to not only chat with co-workers, but also customers, partners, and vendors outside the company.
  • All messages are secure and searchable.
  • File and screen sharing.
  • Send and receive voice memos.
  • Read receipts allow you to see who’s read your message.
  • “Off the record mode” keeps the system from saving your chat thread. You can also apply a “self destruct” timer to any conversation.
  • Dozens of integrations including navigation services that allow you to send directions directly in the app--especially helpful for sales reps on the go!
  • Deep link any document to your message from Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, email, etc.
  • In areas with poor data coverage, Avaamo’s auto-send feature waits to detect a stronger signal and then automatically sends the message.

Cons

  • Mobile only, not as useful for in-office use.

Adium

If you are a Mac OS X team looking for a simple messaging service that’s completely free to use, Adium is a good fit. Pros

  • User-friendly interface.
  • Supports use with Gtalk, AIM, Yahoo and many other integrations.
  • Complete address book/email contacts integration.
  • Secure and searchable messages.
  • File sharing.
  • Connect with other Adium users or nonusers.
  • Free for all users.

Cons

  • Adium is a Mac OS X messaging service, not supported by PC.
  • Not available for mobile.

Skype for Business

If your team already uses Microsoft Office Outlook and you are looking to integrate an instant messaging feature to your existing Outlook account, Skype for Business, (formerly known as Lync) will do just that. Plans range from $2-$5.50 per user/month. Pros

  • Syncs with Microsoft Office Outlook (also allows communication with outside users).
  • Video chat or send and receive video/voice message--great for holding virtual sales meetings.
  • Screen and file sharing.
  • Cloud services available.
  • Integrates with Microsoft Office Outlook calendars.

Cons

  • Tedious search feature
  • Limited integrations

Does your business use a team communication app that you don’t see here? Leave your suggestions in the comments!