Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you realize that the way we communicate has changed. Instant chat solutions like WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram, and others are now the primary tools we use to communicate in our private lives.
There are lots of advantages to these chat solutions. Almost everybody uses them, and it’s easy to reach your friends by texting, sending voice messages, or initiating a video call.
Why would communicating with your work colleagues look any different?
That’s where team chat comes into play. The team chat market has experienced a huge boom with the move to hybrid work models. It soon became an integral part of digital workplaces’ app collection.
So what exactly is a team chat? What are the biggest advantages of using one, and which features to look for in it?
What is a team chat?
Simply put, team chat is an instant messaging solution that enables you to easily communicate with your colleagues.
With team chat, you can reach anybody from your company by typing in their name. Moreover, you can create or join group chats, or discuss certain topics in team channels or discussions.
In other words, team chat is business communication made easy.
3 biggest benefits of using a team chat
Team chat has many advantages over traditional forms of workplace communication such as email. In our research on how we communicate at work, we found that team chat users list the following as the top three benefits of instant messaging at work:
1. Faster response times
70% of respondents from our study say that the biggest benefit of team chat is faster response time. And this is something that employees worldwide have simply craved for.
Unanswered calls or emails to your work colleagues can be a huge bottleneck. As a matter of fact, Forbes found that 65% of emails are ignored. More often than not, it’s one coming from a colleague asking an important question.
In comparison with email, team chat is a realm of informal communication that is still focused on business. In other words, you can drop the “Dear John and Sally” at the beginning of your message and “Best regards” at the end. It’s fast and direct communication that people are more prone to respond to.
2. Easy file sharing
The second biggest benefit of team chats is easier file sharing, according to 52% of employees included in our study. It only makes sense: remember how hard it is to share large files via email? Or how long does it take for the email with a large file to be sent?
Team chat mimics the features and functionalities of consumer instant messaging solutions in great percentage. With it, it’s just as easy to send pictures, files, and other media as when you’re sharing your pet’s photo to your family’s WhatsApp group.
3. Intuitive collaboration
Successful cross-functional collaboration is not easily achieved, especially when employees work remotely. Simply put, effective workplace collaboration is virtually impossible without the right tools.
That’s why 43% of employees in our study said that intuitive collaboration is the third biggest benefit of team chat. What does “intuitive” mean here? It means that employees find it natural, and they find it natural to collaborate via team chat because it resembles their everyday communication so much.
5 questions to ask when looking for a team chat
Is it easy to use?
According to our study, 77% of employees see ease of use as a top priority when looking for a messaging app.
You should listen to your employees’ wishes on this one - because communication and collaboration will happen more often if you give your employees the right tools for it. If the team chat you’re considering is clumsy, employees will either communicate less or come up with an alternative that could be less secure to use.
Which integrations does it support?
You want to provide an intuitive collaboration experience to your employees. Therefore, a team chat they use should be able to interact with other solutions that employees use.
For example, it’s probably very important to developers that their team chat supports integration with their project management software such as Jira.
Is it secure enough?
Alert, alert: instant messaging has never been more dangerous.
When the whole world abruptly started working from home in 2020, ransomware attacks rose by 62%. That’s because many companies weren’t ready for it - and employees had to continue to deliver.
When chatting, employees exchange important business information - think of documents, files, sensitive customer information. These can become objects of cyber-attacks and be very costly to companies.
Therefore, many companies opt for encrypted messaging apps.
➡️ Check out our list of the most secure messaging apps for businesses.
Does it feature video conferencing?
It is no wonder that employees are looking to simplify their everyday communication experience. Namely, research shows that an average employee uses 9.4 apps for daily work, which adds to app fatigue.
In fact, research shows that 64% of businesses have more apps than they need.
Since video conferencing is the closest thing to real-life conversations, it’s important to look for it in your future team chat app. Moreover, our research found that 65% of employees want to be able to message and video chat with coworkers through one centralized platform.
Can you send files and other media?
To collaborate successfully, employees need to exchange videos, pictures, documents, and other media. Depending on your organization’s industry, this can be a crucial feature of a team chat app.
For example, can you imagine how hard it would be for medical staff to effectively collaborate via team chat if they can’t share their patient’s data with each other? Once again, not having this feature will only drive low team chat app adoption rates or send employees on a hunt for a simpler solution.
Who can you chat with?
There’s no question that team communication is vital for businesses to succeed and stay on level with their competitors. However, business communication sometimes extends to external parties like partners or vendors.
That’s why 82% of employees want all their communication to be streamlined through a single app.
By all communication, we also mean communicating with individuals outside of the organization. 63% of employees want to do it via an instant messaging app.
Just think about how many of your employees talk to agencies or engage in collaborative projects with individuals from other companies. This communication would be easier and more streamlined if it happened intuitively for your employees.
Moreover, there are many team chat apps on the market. Maybe your partners are used to Slack or MS Teams, but you don’t use it in your company.
However, team chats such as Rocket.Chat are built in a way that allows centralized communication no matter the chat app. This means that the users of different chat apps can still communicate by using open APIs. Team collaboration comes first, and vendor choice second.
What is the best team chat?
Is there a consensus on what the best team chat is? There isn’t. Every company finds different features important.
Here are team chat apps that are commonly listed as the best:
- MS Teams
- Troop Messenger
- Google Chat
For more extensive and in-depth lists, browse through these articles: