Tips and a List of The Best Team Communication Apps and Internal Communications Software
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:
- What team communication is
- The best ways to communicate as a team and between employees
- Why unifying messaging channels is essential to team communication
- What to look for in the best team communication apps
- A list of the best team communication apps currently available
Read on for more.
Team collaboration and communication are often directly related to the success of organizations big and small. For teams that work remotely, this means more cohesive. They tend to think more creatively, solve problems more easily, and deliver better products and services.
What Are the Best Ways to Communicate As a Team and Between Employees?
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
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.
Internal team chat pros
- Channels make it easy to organize conversation types
- Offers status to display availability
- Quick, instant messaging
Internal team chat cons
- Siloed messaging on standalone channels
- Not often integrated with texting and email messages
- Hard to maintain a record of historical conversations
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.
Text messaging pros
- Quick, easy, and convenient messaging
- They’re accessible - everyone has a phone
- Great for large-scale employee broadcasts and alerts
Text messaging cons
- Native text messaging apps have limitations and aren’t collaborative
- You need better software to make the most of texting
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.
- Everyone has an email
- More formal messaging channel
- Versatile and best for sharing files and attachments
- Cluttered and often unorganized
- Slower way to get immediate 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).
- An immediate and instant way to get in touch with someone
- The most human way to have a conversation
- Best for 1-on-1 communication
- Fewer people are answering the phone
- Phone calls take more time
Why Unifying Messaging Channels is Essential to Your Team Communication
Internal chat apps, text messages, email, and voice calls are all viable ways to communicate as a team and improve employee engagement.
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:
What to Look For in the Best Team Communication Apps
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:
- Combination of unified messaging channels in a shared team inbox
- The ability to send instant messages and get notifications
- The ability to search for and track responses
- Supports attachments, files, and media sharing
- Quick internal implementation and rollout
- Integrations with task and project management tools
The Best Team and Employee Communication Apps (In No Particular Order)
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.
- Scheduled and automated text messages
- Group texts and broadcasts to individual phone numbers without reply all
- Call forwarding and voicemails to any number
- Desktop, tablet, and mobile apps
- The ability to send messages to several contacts at once, while keeping responses in separate conversations
- Affordable starting price
- Excellent customer service
- Currently, few integration options with other apps
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.
- Channels for organized communication in groups
- Instant, direct messages to teammates
- Video and voice chatting
- Highly customizable settings and displays
- Many integrations with other apps, such as Google Drive
- Simple navigation and intuitive interface
- Chaotic channel organization can feel overwhelming
- Expensive for larger teams
- Siloed messaging channel, not directly integrated with email, text, or voice conversations
3. Microsoft Teams
Businesses with large teams of remote workers who already use Microsoft Office products on a daily basis
Microsoft Teams Overview:
Microsoft Teams is an all-in-one platform. It works seamlessly with other Microsoft 365 and 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.
- Specialized channels to narrow down conversations
- Screen sharing and online video calling
- Syncs with Outlook calendars for easier scheduling
- Included with Microsoft 365 and Office 365 subscriptions
- Users can perform most work tasks without leaving the app
- Employees can access Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and other products to edit files with team members in real-time
- A less intuitive platform that may take some training
- Audio conferencing with people outside of the organization may require additional licensing
4. Workplace from Meta
Teams with employees that are familiar with Facebook
Overview of Workplace from Meta
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.
- Available on desktop and mobile devices
- Live video chat and broadcasting
- Integrates with other software, like DropBox and Microsoft Outlook
- Intuitive for Facebook users
- Customizable text formatting with Markdown
- Low starting price
- Steep learning curve for those who haven't used Facebook before
- High need for administrative involvement behind the scenes
5. Google Hangouts
Businesses that only need basic messaging, calling, and video conferencing services
Google Hangouts Overview:
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.
- Browser and mobile app accessibility
- Live closed captions for video meetings
- 15 GB per user of Google Drive storage
- G Suite integration
- Plenty of helpful features available in the free version
- Low starting price for paid plans
- Intuitive platform
- Few integration options with other apps
- Audio and video connection quality needs improvement
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.
- Unified email, SMS, chat, and other forms of messaging
- Customer complaint tracking
- CRM integrations
- Tagging and organization features
- Excellent email forwarding features
- Smart notifications
- Expensive compared to some other options
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.
- Internal team communication
- Employee time tracking and scheduling
- Employee acknowledgment tools
- Task management
- Training apps that allow businesses to create their own courses
- Free option for up to 50 users
- Affordable options for medium-sized
- Beautiful and intuitive interface
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.
- 20 GB file storage per member
- Group video calls and voice messages
- Public and private conversation options
- The free option offers most features for up to 10 users
- Intuitive interface
- Shorter features list than most
- Few integration options with other apps
Businesses of all sizes that rely on internal communication and cross-departmental collaboration.
ProofHub is an all-in-one project management and team collaboration platform that centralizes the flow of information throughout the organization for easy accessibility.
The chat feature of ProofHub allows for real-time communication among team members. They can either chat one-to-one or create groups to share updates, thoughts, and files with the whole team. Moreover, teams can utilize the following features for effective collaboration.
- Drag and drop file sharing via chatbox
- Create groups with any number of team members
- "@ mentions" to address a particular team member within a group
- Dedicated discussion boards for planning, brainstorming, and innovation.
- Announcements to share news/updates throughout the organization
- Proofing to collaborate on your creative assets
- Shared or private notes to jot down important points during a meeting
- Forms to manage client requests and feedback.
- Flat pricing with no per-user fee.
- No need to shuffle through multiple apps for effective communication
- A centralized location for easy accessibility of all the information
- Simple and intuitive user interface.
- Notifications can be a bit overwhelming.
- Not suitable for freelancers.
Ready to get your team communication in order?
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.