There was a time when one had to be physically present to talk to the other person. Gradually, we grew out of those lesser advanced times and boom! Here we are!
Today technology is more advanced than it ever was. More innovations and creations are happening. The future of technology will have so much to offer that even the thought of it can make one giddy. Online communication portals/apps have by far been my most favorite of technology’s creations. I mean companies like Spectrum Voice make thousands of dollars, if not millions as a result of the invention of online communication apps.
While there are an array of apps out there, the best ones for business communication are the following:
A messaging app, you can download and use Slack for free. However, it is has a lot more features to offer than WhatsApp. The main idea behind the creation of this app is to make it easier for coworkers to collaborate with each other apart from providing a platform for easy communication. A couple of advanced features in the app that makes it a hot favorite amongst businesses. Talking of the basics first, the three features that Slack offers are:
- Private Channels
- Direct Messages
A channel is something that is public. All the members of a particular channel can view whatever is shared on it.
Private channels, as the name suggests, are more confidential. If someone wishes to keep an information private, a private channel should be the go-to option. You can only add the team members you wish to share the information/data with to a private channel. Not everyone would be able to view it. Direct messages mimic the e-mails. This enables you to have a one-on-one conversation with a co-worker. Apart from this, a couple of advanced features like syncing a Dropbox document are unique to Slack. You can even drag pictures or images and post them within conversations.
If you are looking for more than just a messaging app, then Google Hangouts should be your first choice. The app does not only allow you to send instant messages to your co-workers but also saves you the effort of walking to a colleague’s workstation. You can connect with your peers through a video conference or a simple message. It also allows you to add multiple people to the video conference. Hence, making it easier for a whole team/department to share ideas or discuss an issue at hand over a video call.
Apart from that, Google Hangouts has an audio call feature as well. While many other apps offer similar features, the main reason for businesses to resort to Google Hangouts is the ability to use this app across multiple devices. From desktop app to mobile app to Hangouts website, the app can be accessed through several platforms.
Twist claims to make the teamwork calmer while allowing the team members to stay more focused. While it is very important for team members to stay connected to each other, the unlimited amount of notifications can divert the attention away from work. Hence, Twist sorts the messages out according to topics. The message threads are separated topic wise so it becomes easier for you to locate a message without getting lost in the pool of group chats. Therefore, you can always disconnect yourself from the app and view the messages whenever you have free time on hands. You won’t miss out on important information.
Apart from that, Twist also provides you an option to narrow down the search. By entering the subject and a couple of other details of a certain thread, you can share the information in that thread with anyone you wish. That person can then view the whole context of the thread.
If you want instant replies from your team or want to make a decision regarding a project in minutes, Flock is your go-to app. It works more like a forum allowing you to reply to someone’s message in the chat and viewing what they have to say about it right under the reply. If you wish to share any files with your team members, connect to Google Drive, choose from the options displayed in the sidebar and share it in the conversation. The app also allows you to hold video conversations apart from giving you an option to send group emails.
While the apps are not limited to the ones stated above, these are by far the best ones to use (in my opinion). However, I recently happened to call Spectrum Customer Support center and overheard a rep saying HipChat. Upon inquiring, he told me that HipChat is a communication app that they use in the company. I had not heard of it before so I googled it. It too is an amazing alternative to Skype or WhatsApp.