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With many teams now working remotely, companies have to get creative about how their teams can stay in contact with each other aside from email. We have researched over 15 different business messaging apps. We have learned their features, their pros, their cons, their prices, and more so that we could bring you the best ones in the game. Our research found that the best business messaging app for most users is Slack. This app has over 12 million daily active users, so you know it is doing something right. It is rated by many as the top business messaging app thanks to its settings and options, among other things.
The Best Business Messaging App for Most
Our favorite thing about Slack is that it allows a company to have a General channel for everyone in the company to be a part of, but then also have sub-channels for others who are involved in specific projects. That way, the General channel isn’t inundated with questions only referring to a small team within the company.
This is just one of the features of Slack that your company will love.
The Best Business Messaging App Options to Consider
- Slack – Best for most
- Microsoft Teams – Best for large teams with smaller sub-teams
- Twist – Best for remote teams
- Google Chat – Best for Google Workspace users
- RingCentral Video– Best for sharing documents
- Discord – Best for voice chat
- Mattermost – Best for self-hosting
When It Makes Sense to Invest In Business Messaging Apps
Is your company comprised of team members who are not always in the same place at the same time? If the answer is “yes,” then you want to invest in a business messaging app. These apps are built to help people within a company communicate with each other in a way that is more quick and easy than emails. In fact, for some companies, business messaging apps have massively reduced the need for emails, text messages, and instant messaging.
Even if there are just 5 of you on your team, sending a message via an app that shows up immediately for everyone is much easier than an email that could potentially get caught in the wrong folder and never seen again.
The sooner you get a messaging app into your company workflow, the better. This is especially true if your company is primarily remote and most employees are all working from different places. The messaging apps can help to keep some sense of co-working when everyone is working from home alone.
#1 – Slack – Best for Most
Slack launched back in 2013, and since then has led the charge of business messaging apps. This app was undeniably built with the user in mind. Everything is user-friendly, easy to learn, and works on all computers as well as iPhones and Androids. In short, everyone with a smartphone or laptop can get on Slack.
Slack is useful for any business that has remote teams, whether that’s teams working from home or working in offices across the world. Slack is not only intended for internal communication but can also be used for external communication where you can bring clients and other interested parties into conversations.
There are many things about Slack that users love, so here are some of them.
Previous Conversations. When you are added to a Slack group after it has already been in existence, you get access to any previous conversations once you’re in the channel. This can be very helpful in catching up on the progress of a project or knowing what has already been discussed so conversations and questions aren’t repeated.
Instant Communication. Slack works in real-time and can be used on any laptop or mobile device.
Shared Files. Need to share documents with people in your Slack channel? You can do so in real-time within the Slack conversation. There is no need to head to your email or off the app at all to send documents or files. You also can comment on a document within the conversation and get feedback, instantly.
Integration. Slack works well with several different applications, and the list continues to grow. Some of the top applications it integrates with are:
- Google Drive
- Outlook Calendar
Public vs. Private Channels. Slack also allows you to open up group chats to an entire company or community, and also lets you limit channels to a smaller group of people. Many companies have a general Slack for everyone working there, and smaller channels for individual projects.
The downside of Slack that seems to be across-the-board in our research is the price. While the tool is incredibly useful and helpful, it comes at a cost. There is a free version, but it is only free for small teams and has limited features. The other options are:
- Standard: $6.67 per user per month
- Plus: $12.50 per user per month
- Enterprise Grid: Contact for pricing
#2 – Microsoft Teams – Best for Large Teams with Smaller Sub-Teams
If your team works with Microsoft and is on the larger side, you may find that Microsoft Teams is the business messaging app for you. It comes complete with all sorts of features and channel uses that will benefit everyone in the company.
If you are already using Office 365 in your company, then you may already have Teams in your bank of applications. Here are some of the reasons why Microsoft Teams is a strong choice.
No Extra Cost for Microsoft 365 Users. Every little (or big) extra cost to your company can really start to add up. But, if your company is already using Microsoft 365, then this may be the business messaging app for you. The Teams feature won’t cost any extra money if you’ve already got 365 up and running.
Chat Additions. Bring third-party tools such as Trello, Google Drive, and Dropbox into the chat when using Microsoft Teams. This makes it much better to be able to use everything together, rather than having to switch between apps all the time.
Impressive File Search. Every channel on Teams has its own file storage, and the files are backed up and saved by Microsoft so you don’t have to worry about struggling to find an old document. Even if you happen to delete a chat channel in Teams, they will be stored in a SharePoint site, so you will still have access to them.
Bots. Team’s bots are there to help you with anything you need extra assistance on. They can also be sent away if they aren’t necessary or helpful to you.
There is a free version that has limited features, but the pricing for the other Microsoft 365 (which includes Teams) packages is as follows:
- Business Basic: $5 per user per month
- Business Standard: $12.50 per user per month
- E3: $20 per user per month
Try out the free version of Microsoft Teams to see if it’s right for your organization.
#3 – Twist – Best for Remote Teams
If you are like many modern teams working remotely, then consider using Twist. This business messaging app is a great way to promote mindful communication within your company as well as create a place for team members to organize and chat about complex ideas and projects that include everyone necessary.
Setting Boundaries. Notifications for texts, social media, and even business messaging apps can get out of hand quickly. That’s why some users love Twist. You don’t have to be bothered by unexpected notifications when you’re in the middle of working on something, instead, you can check your Twist notifications when you want. This allows workers to be more disciplined about getting things done and setting boundaries for a healthy workspace.
Threaded Conversations. Twist threads work similarly to a forum where you can subscribe to different topics and participate in conversations when you want or need to.
Choosing Who To Notify. Unlike other business messaging apps, Twist allows you to choose who you want to notify about any new thread. That way, not everyone gets notified when maybe only 2 people actually care. In other apps, everyone gets notified unless they mute the entire channel.
When it comes to purchasing the app, there are only two options with Twist that keep it simple. There is the free version that has limited features and then the Unlimited version is $5 per user per month.
#4 – Google Chat – Best for Google Workspace Users
If your company is team Google, then you may find that Google Chat is the best messaging app for you. Chat breaks conversations down into smaller rooms, similar to the way that Slack does this. Threads help to keep things organized, so there isn’t just chaotic conversation happening everywhere.
There are some features about Google Chat that may be what sway you to start using it for your company.
Integration. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but Google Chat integrates well with other Workspace apps. This makes it easy for a company that is already using things such as Google Docs to make it even easier to share documents within a messaging app. If you copy and paste a link to a Google Docs document in Chat, Google Workspace automatically creates a pop-up that asks you if you want to give everyone in that Chat room access to the document.
Defaults to Private. Unlike other business messaging apps, all Google Chat rooms automatically default to private, and you have to choose who to invite. You can add people individually or using groups from other Google Workspace apps. This may be a benefit to companies who are looking to keep their Chat rooms smaller and more focused.
Bots. Chat has the option to add bots such as a bot for Asana that lets you know when there are any changes made in your Asana account. There is another bot called Polly bot that helps create polls.
Google Chat is part of the Google Workspace, which has a few different pricing options:
- Business Starter: $6 per user per month
- Business Standard: $12 per user per month
- Business Plus: $18 per user per month
- Enterprise: Contact for pricing
#5 – RingCentral Video – Best for Sharing Documents
Are documents a big part of your company’s communication? Do you often find your teams are sending files and docs back and forth to each other regularly? If so, RingCentral Video may be the right choice for you. This way of messaging within a company helps your team to bring scattered emails, discussions, documents, and more into one place.
Here are the top features of RingCentral Video.
Video Calling. This feature is something that will be appreciated by remote teams working from home or working in offices across the world. Sometimes messaging with words just isn’t enough to keep you feeling connected to your team or colleagues, and video is a great way to bring more of a personal connection to the work environment.
Task Tracking. Stay on track with your tasks via RingCentral Video. You can create tasks for yourself or assign them to others. You also have the option to filter any tasks so that you only see the ones that need immediate attention.
Integrated Calendar. Integrate your calendar into it so that you can see in one place all of your upcoming events and meetings. You can also schedule things from RingCentral Video, including tasks that have specific deadlines. It supports both Google Calendar and Outlook.
RingCentral Video has a free option that is a great way to start out and see if this app is right for you. There is also the Pro version that costs $11.99/user/month and offers many additional features.
#6 – Discord – Best for Voice Chat
What started as an app for gaming has morphed into so much more. Discord wasn’t made and isn’t currently running as a business-focused app. However, there are some features of it that your team may love.
Always-On Audio. Within Discord, there are voice channels which are essentially phone calls where the sound is always on. You can mute your end of things, so you only contribute to the conversation when you want to. This may be a handy tool to use when you are working on a shared document rather than doing written messages back and forth.
Audio Quality. Because the focus of this app is audio, Discord has mastered the quality of its calls so if that is your preferred work style, then this is the app for you.
One of the other great things about Discord is that it is completely free. There are features you can get with the Nitro plan (which costs $9.99 per month), but those features won’t be relevant in a business setting.
#7 – Mattermost – Best for Self-Hosting
Most business messaging apps are hosted on a third-party server, which may not be a problem for you and your company. However, sometimes you may have conversations that you don’t want anyone else to have access to, and that’s where Mattermost comes in. It is a self-hosting app that is open-source, which means you can download and install it on your company servers.
Here are the features of Mattermost that make it a strong option:
Search. You can search for things within Mattermost via user, channel, and date, making it easier for you to find what you are looking for.
User-Friendly Interface. Mattermost kept the interface simple, which is much appreciated by all. No one needs to spend time learning yet another complex program. You can also customize the interface to fit your specific needs without too much effort.
Security. Because this app is self-hosted, it is much more secure than others.
There is a free version of Mattermost that provides limited features as well as these pricing options:
- E10: $3.25 per user per month
- E20: $8.50 per user per month
Methodology for Choosing the Best Business Messaging Apps
There are some key things to consider when looking at business messaging apps. These are the factors that we used in our research to determine which business messaging apps are the best ones to invest your time and money in.
Because people in your company will likely be a part of multiple different channels or threads within a business messaging app, you need an app that allows people to navigate conversions quickly and easily. The interface needs to be clear of clutter and easy to follow, without a huge learning curve. Keyboard shortcuts are another bonus, and ease of use on a smartphone is another thing you want to consider, especially if your teams are working remotely.
The point of a business messaging app is to allow your company members to collaborate on projects and/or ideas. Thus, the app you choose to use must-have features that make collaboration smooth and easy. These things include file sharing, embedded previews, app integration, and more.
The business messaging app you choose should allow your members to only see messages or be in channels/chats that are relevant to them. Not every person on your team needs to be a part of every conversation. That defeats the purpose of the messaging app. The best apps are ones that organize conversations in a way that allows users to see only what they need to see.
When it comes to a business messaging app that works well for the majority of people and companies, Slack takes the cake. This app has worked out its kinks over the last nearly 10 years and has really come to the rescue for remote teams over the last year. Its features and usability make it a favorite amongst over 12 million users. While Slack is our top pick for most, that does not mean it is the top pick for you. There are plenty of other solid choices for business messaging apps out there, and your specific needs will determine which app is the best choice for you.