When you hear the term chat platform, what first comes to mind?
Probably one of the three: an app to talk to coworkers, an app to talk to your friends, or an in-app chat where you engage in conversations with customers.
Due to the newest Digital Markets Act issued by the EU Parliament and Council, the Big Tech gatekeepers will have to open their APIs to interoperate with other messaging platforms. This means that users will have more choice: they will not be limited to use the household name just because others use it. Stand-out features and communication security are becoming more important.
That’s why, in this article, we bring you an overview of 15 most popular chat platforms in all three categories. Find out what are the advantages of each chat app for team collaboration, customer support, and private communication - and how they stand out from the rest.
What is a chat platform?
Chat platform is a software that enables chat to take place. However, conversations are taking place among people in different situations. We talk to our friends and family as well as to our coworkers. Sometimes we also need customer support and we get it via chat.
In other words, when people say “chat platform”, different things could come to mind. In this article, we’re bringing you the lists of three different kinds of chat platforms: the ones for workplace or team communication, the ones for customer support, and the consumer-oriented ones.
Best chat platforms for team communication
In the last decade, digital workplaces became more common. We’ve also seen numerous innovations in workplace technology since. The switch to remote work model has intensified after 2020, and with it came the need to improve team communication in the workplace.
Organizational communication now needs to bridge the physical gap between coworkers, too. Many companies recognized the positive effect that instant messaging platforms bring to their employees’ productivity and satisfaction. Chat tools for team communication are not rare in companies nowadays. Teams use them to communicate in real time via chatting, sharing files, video conferencing, screen sharing, and more.
Here are the five best chat platforms on the market today for team communication.
This chat platform is a platform in a true sense of the word. This means that Rocket.Chat can be used for multiple purposes:
- Team collaboration platform for hybrid workplaces: Rocket.Chat’s messaging platform enables real-time communication, video conferencing, file sharing, and more.
- Omnichannel solution for customer support: Rocket.Chat’s chat platform can be used as a single team inbox to receive all customer communication via channels such as Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, and more.
- In-app chat: Rocket.Chat can be added to a product or a service as an in-app or live chat to better support users and customers along their journey.
As a team communication solution, Rocket.Chat enables teams to connect via unified communication platform that pays special attention to security. This is why Rocket.Chat’s highly customized chat is a popular chat app among organizations in regulated industries such as education, healthcare, and government.
Nowadays, Slack is still very dominant as a chat app, but there are more and more Slack alternatives on the market. In comparison to Slack, these alternatives are cheaper, yet they don’t lack in functionalities.
With the overarching security trend, alternatives to Slack are catering to privacy-conscious organizations that need to ensure seamless yet highly secure business communication.
Apart from chat functionalities that also include calls and video conferencing, Chanty featues simple task management within the app. This makes it a very useful collaboration app for teams that want an easy way to communicate, but also keep track of their joint projects.
This chat platform allows teams to collaborate with each other in one place. The main claim is that this increases team productivity because team members don’t need to switch between different tools.
Ryver is a great chat app for teams that want a simple tool for business instant messaging and task tracking.
Flock is a chat platform used by teams to communicate via instant messaging, video, and voice notes. It also includes useful features such as to-dos, polls, and reminders.
Since it is encrypted, Flock is a good choice for privacy-oriented organizations that want to keep their communication secure. Check out these other lists to find more chat platforms for team communication:
➡️ 10 best team communication apps for hybrid teams
Best chat platforms for customer service
Phone and email used to be main channels to support customers. With the emergence of new communication channels - such as chatting - chat became one of the most important ways to talk to customers.
Chat platforms are an efficient way to serve customers since they enable quick communication. With the use of automation and chatbots, many customer inquiries can be addressed without the help of a live agent. Chat experience is also something that digital consumers have come to expect of customer service nowadays.
Here is our pick of the best chat platforms for customer service:
Intercom is an industry standard for live chat interaction with customers. Some of its features include live chat, shared inbox, product tours, chatbots, and email marketing. This means that businesses can use it to support their customers in various stages of their journeys.
Even though Intercom is a popular and reliable chat software, businesses rarely use all of its features. That’s why many opt for open source alternatives to Intercom - they offer more narrowed-down features and flexibility for a lower price.
Freshchat is a conversational messaging platform for customer service. It’s one of the tools in Freshworks suite of products aimed at businesses.
With it, customers can get in touch with support agents via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and more. Chatbots and self-service capabilities help users to get the most out of their experience. On one hand, this allows users to get instant feedback, while it enables customer support agents to be proactive and earn their customers’ trust.
Zoho Desk is an omnichannel chat platform that streamlines customer interactions from multiple channels to a single inbox. With social media integration, it also allows customer service agents to respond to posts on social media and improve customer experience.
However, Zoho Desk also includes standard live chat functionalieties. Embedding their live chat widget on your website means that you can both support your customers and proactively engage them.
In their own words, Genesys DX is an AI-powered chat platform that aims to revolutionize customer engagement with digital customer service. Genesys features include AI chatbots as well as proactive conversational AI, and all this is done via multiple channels.
This live chat software is used for customer support via instant messaging, but also much more. Due to its smart AI features, Genesys provides advanced chat experience to customers and enables issues to be resolved quickly.
LiveChat is a live chat platform that can be used to support customer service, as well as sales and marketing teams. Engaging website visitors and customers proactively is easy with LiveChat inbox that handles conversations coming from Apple Messages, WhatsApp, SMS, and more.
Best consumer-oriented chat platforms
You’re probably using at least one of these chat platforms in your everyday life. These chat apps allow all of us to get in touch with their friends and family. These apps differ in functionalities but also in their approach to securing their users’ communication.
Read on to find out what makes these popular chat apps stand out from the rest.
WhatsApp probably doesn’t need a lot of introduction. Since it’s the most used instant messaging app in the world, chances are you already use it.
You are also probably aware of its functionalities as well as the fact that WhatsApp is being used as a customer support channel. Even though it’s encrypted, it still shouldn’t be used as a team communication solution: businesses need to apply additional security features to ensure their communication stays protected.
➡️ Read our quick guide for secure messaging and learn if WhatsApp is secure enough for businesses.
Telegram is yet another popular chat platform with over 500 million monthly active users.
What sets it apart from WhatsApp is that it’s cloud based - so you can keep your media in the cloud, not on your phone. Thanks to this, you can also exchange bigger sized media.
In comparison to WhatsApp, Telegram employs more security measures and even enables secret chats and supports self-destruct messages.
Even though it’s not as popular as Telegram or WhatsApp, we believe that Threema deserves a spot on our list for several reasons. First of all, this chat platform is highly secure: it doesn’t collect user data and doesn’t require a phone number to get you started.
Secondly, it is versatile. Threema can be used for private communication and for secure workplace communication.
Signal is already a household name in secure communication. When it comes to features, Signal offers all the expected features like texting, voice messages, video and voice calls. However, this chat platform is extremely secure and prevents any eavesdropping from third parties. The company itself is an independent nonprofit so it’s free to use.
Facebook Messenger is still one of the most popular chat platforms on the market, bested only by WhatsApp and WeChat in number of users.
In comparison to WhatsApp, it allows you to send messages to people whose phone number you don’t have. However, it requires more bandwidth and more configuration to function. When it comes to privacy, Messenger shares metadata with its parent company - Facebook or Meta - so it’s not the most secure option for privacy-minded users.
How to choose your chat platform?
As mentioned at the beginning, large messaging services will have to open up due to the latest Digital Markets Act issued by the EU. This means that you will be able to choose your chat platform according to what you prefer. You will not be limited by others’ preferences - so if you want to use Signal while your friend wants to use WhatsApp, you’ll be able to message each other.
This will also impact workplace communication, and employees will more easily connect with external partners and vendors. This is already possible with Rocket.Chat, a chat platform that also upholds some of the highest security standards and operates with organizations that deal with extremely sensitive data.
You can choose your chat platform according to your own set of criteria - but we propose you look for security and user friendliness as a baseline. Get in touch with the sales team at Rocket.Chat to see how we fare in these areas!