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 apps have experienced a huge boom with the move to hybrid work models. Team chat 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? What are the best team chat apps, and what features should you look for in a solution to best fit your organization?
What is a team chat app?
Simply put, team chat app 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 apps are solutions that make business communication 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 apps 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 apps mimic 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 app because it resembles their everyday communication so much.
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.
Rocket.Chat is a versatile team chat app that's frequently listed as one of the best team collaboration solutions for privacy-conscious organizations. It's open source and can be self-hosted, giving organizations full control over their data.
With this team chat app, teams can stay connected no matter when they work from and when they work. The cool thing about this app is that organizations can customize it to fit their needs, and companies in highly-regulated industries can be sure that their data never leaves their premises.
Slack is certainly one of the pioneers among team chat apps. It was one of the solutions that popularized business instant messaging.
Even though it has great team communication features, some organizations find it lacking in security options. Also, the steep pricing models is giving way to Slack alternatives' popularity.
MS Teams is one of the most widely used team chat apps in the business world. This is no surprise since Microsoft has a very big customer base - every MS Office user also has access to MS Teams.
MS Teams is mostly used in large organizations that already pay for extensive MS Office licenses, therefore making it easier to manage expenses and use a ready-made solution from a trusted vendor.
Twist is an interesting team chat app that truly caters' to remote workers' productivity. Namely, it doesn't feature presence indicators and offers advanced notification management so employees can catch up with chat in their own time.
This makes it a very useful tool for teams that require focus time and don't want to be disturbed by overwhelming communication.
Flock is one of the most popular team chat apps on the market. It's used by teams to talk when working remotely. However, it also features simple features that help remote-working individuals to organize their work better, such as reminders and to-dos.
Built-in video conferencing allows teams to mix asynchronous and synchronous communication means that make business communication most effective.
Troop Messenger is another team chat app available for self-hosting. It also has other security-oriented features that make it a good choice for highly-regulated industries.
Frequently listed in the best team chat apps lists, Troop Messenger allows teams to bridge the physical gap when working apart.
Ryver is a popular team chat app that combines chat functionality with team collaboration features. Namely, it includes Tasks feature, allowing teams to assign, track, and complete projects.
When it comes to instant messaging, Ryver allows user to organize their communication into direct chats, threads, channels, and larger groups, similar to other team chat apps for businesses.
In 2021, Google rolled out Google Chat for its users, promising to bring a seamless chat experience to all Google Workspace users. Even though this team chat app has yet to show its stickiness to the market, wide Gmail user base could prove to be helpful in this area.
In any case, Google wants users to achieve the fluidity in conversations while using other Workspace apps. Experts are claiming that this is the best Google's team chat app to date. Let's see what 2022 has in store for Google Chat!
Chanty's user-friendliness and simplicity are its biggest advantages. Teams use this chat app to stay connected, manage their work, and organize joint work better.
Due to Chanty's collaboration features, teams can track their work easily. Moreover, numerous integrations will drive the adoption of the tool in the early stages of implementation.
Brosix is one of the most established players on the team chat apps market. It's easy to set up and leads to increased team productivity.
Brosix is designed to cater to security-minded companies, therefore including a lot of Administration and Control features.
For more extensive and in-depth lists, browse through these articles:
5 features of best team chat apps
Ease of 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 app you’re considering is clumsy, employees will either communicate less or come up with an alternative that could be less secure to use.
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 app supports integration with their project management software such as Jira.
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.
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.
Rich media support
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, best team chat apps 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.