Here Comes the Age of Business Messaging Apps
– by Bill Nolan
Thinking your business communications are up to par? You have robust tech in place, cloud-based services, collaborative online workspaces, video conferencing, but how about the direct team communications – and on the go? Seems like an odd question, but it may be time to get your team connected and communicating through a business messaging app. If your team’s primary way to communicate is by walking from desk to desk, emails, the Monday morning meeting or old-fashioned text messaging, then it really is time to consider getting up to speed with your competitors – no matter what industry you’re in.
What is wrong with simply texting for business, you ask? While texting is technically considered “instant messaging,” the glaring difference is security, privacy and lack of so many other robust new functions that bring a team together. With texting, anyone gaining or hacking access to your phone or other devices can easily see the information being transmitted. With business messaging apps, your team will need a much more secure login access to view data and submit. This extra level of security is one major brownie point powering the new messenger app trends. Plus, you can really help improve your business functions through these apps, like sharing files, instant video messaging and organizing group communications for teams specific to projects or tasks. And, it’s all searchable for future reference. The extra beauty in all of this is the restricted and assignable access to different groups and levels within the apps. Team members are only privy to work that involves them – keeping them focused. This means your ‘secret’ projects won’t appear on everyone’s radar. This is also where the text messaging types just can’t hold up. These apps will streamline your business and increase productivity today for tomorrow.
And don’t worry, you won’t have to run your business strictly from your cell phone. Business messenger apps easily let you jump onto your desktop, laptop or other mobile devices so you can pick up right where you left off and never stop the conversations. Versatility is crucial, and this is just another business selling point for these newly amped up apps.
Is your business on the go? Are team members on the road for services calls, installs or delivering services in some way? The whole team can stay connected and contribute to the tasks regardless of where they are.
Do you really need one of these new thingies, you now ask? Yes, unless your business doesn’t need to communicate with clients and team members in real-time with the best efficiency and increased workplace collaboration. Just ask yourself, are you running a business or a daycare center? Heck, even a daycare center would benefit from a business messenger app.
Now that you’re convinced your that business is naked without one of these messenger apps, you’re probably wondering which one right for you. While there are dozens to choose from and more coming out every day, most share many of the same features. Here are just a couple examples:
Slack (a stand-alone app)
More than just chat, Slack includes reminders that keep the work flowing. It is very easy use, with plenty of custom settings, making Slack a top choice for organized business communications with “intelligence.” When you factor in its ability to integrate with so many other apps, the screen sharing and a wide variety of other options, it’s no surprise that Slack is already very popular with businesses. Pricing ranges from free to $6.67/month per user starting.
Stride (a stand-alone app)
Enjoy video and standard messaging, integration with other apps, guest access for clients to join and so much more. This is a fully powered app so team members can work from anywhere. Plus, receive status messaging so other team members no when someone is focused on the job at hand. Pricing ranges from $3/month per user starting.
Microsoft Teams (integrated app)
This one organizes groups by teams and then sub-channels allowing your group to really deep dive into extreme organized chatter. Again, this one is easy to use, includes screen sharing and video calls, but the only caveat is that you must have Office 365 Business Essentials in place to begin access. “Guest” is not part of Microsoft Teams’ vocabulary. Pricing ranges from $6/month per user starting – must have Office 365 Business Essentials to use.
Google Hangouts (integrated app)
Google designed Hangouts chatting to extend their Google Suite (G Suite) of products with semi-private communication rooms. You can invite team members to a room or rooms, but the rooms are not easily shared by default. Google Hangouts are not as intuitive. The good thing is if you are actively using the G Suite product line, this should not be a problem. This actually becomes a extremely robust package of tools for your business. Sometimes the more extensive way the right way. You must have G Suite to use Hangouts. In addition to organized discussions, you’ll be able to share Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides in while chatting. Pricing ranges $5/month per user starting – must have G Suite.
This is just the beginning. Business Messenger Apps are on the rise. For now, many of the messenger apps are similar and offer a free version to try. Eventually, you will be shelling out the money if you want to take full advantage of the benefits and the new benefits to come. Considering they are reasonably priced, your investment will be well worth it. Not to mention, they will help you continue to group your business and continue running as a well oiled machine.