Over the past few years, instant messaging apps have become the de facto medium for businesses. From internal team communication to easier contact options for consumers, I.M apps can help increase productivity and sales.
Many of the apps featured in this review guide offer a multi-faceted approach to communication. Combining instant messaging with video calls, screen sharing, voice messaging, real-time calls, private chat rooms and much more, it’s easy to see why they are such a popular choice.
To help you understand which of the business messaging apps is your best choice, we will take a closer look at the features each one offers along with how much it costs.
Why Use I.M over Email and Call?
Email serves a purpose. But when it comes to instantaneous, real-time communication it just doesn’t cut it. From slow delivery to being marked as spam… it’s pretty much the dinosaur of communication today.
Calls are also a method of communication that’s rapidly falling out of favour. When you can say what you need to in one or two sentences without spending hours on the phone, productivity increases.
Here’s a quick summary of why instant messaging is superior to calls and emails:
- Instant delivery and notifications
- Brief sentences instead of essays
- Opt-in and opt-out discussions
- Easy to navigate ongoing conversations
- Call, text, video and image based communication
- Ability to create group forums and chat rooms
- Direct notifications or send to all
- Easy to install on mobile devices
- creates a more friendly and personal experience
- See when a user is replying in real time
When it comes to instant messaging apps for customers to contact you, you can increase sales and communication by forgoing phone calls and emails. Messenger contact is free to use for the customer and makes it easier for phone-shy people to reach out to you.
And in a world where fast communication is vital to beat out the competition, instant messenger apps for businesses are invaluable. Say goodbye to excessively long emails and say hello to lightning-fast communication come day or night.
Monthly Cost: Free
Official Downloads: 1 Billion +
Best for: Customer and Team Communication
Why? Hugely popular in Asia and the USA. A great choice for a completely free communication platform that deserves a try.
Launched in 2011, Line Messenger is a subsidiary of Naver Corporation. By 2015, Line had more than 600 million registered users. Today, more than 187 million users login each month.
Available on Android devices, iOS and as a standalone desktop app, it offers everything that a business needs to communicate for absolutely no cost.
Users can reach each other by username, phone number or QRcode and the ability to create unlimited private forums and chat rooms makes it easy to separate teams and customers.
Key Features of Line App:
- Unlimited private chat rooms and messaging windows
- Add up to 100 users into a single group messaging forum
- Free VoIP calls and Video Calls
- Option to make paid calls to landline numbers
- User-to-user instant messages
- Send voice, image and video files
- Secure, encrypted messaging
- Google Chrome extension available
- Timeline features
- Millions of stickers and options to create branded collections
- Line Pay – Global credit card payment platform
Download Line for free from the official Line Corporation website.
Monthly Cost: Free – $560 AUD per user per year.
Daily Users: 10 million +
Best for: Team level Communication
Why? The best known of all the apps out there.
Slack is by far the most used business messaging platform on a global scale and for good reason. With several plans available from free to enterprise grid, there is a solution for all sizes of businesses. The free plan offers all of the features that small to medium sized businesses will need. 10k searchable messages, 2 factor authentication, 1-on-1 video calls, and integration of up to 10 apps.
Standard and Plus packages cost $6.67 and $12.50 per user, per month, which is quite expensive when the free plan plus a few external apps can take care of everything you need. Enterprise Grid pricing is non-disclosed, which is never a great sign. Pricing transparency is vital for businesses. However, costs disclosed by users who have taken on the plan state it ranges between $500 – $580 AUD per user, per year.
With that said, Slack has cornered the market for communication and sharing and makes organisation so much simpler than email and call.
Key Features of Slack:
- Use @name to directly notify a user of a message
- Free VoIP calls from user to user
- Up to 10 thousand searchable messages (free plan)
- User-to-user instant messages
- Private and public chat rooms
- Multiple app integration (unlimited in paid version)
- Mobile and desktop versions available
- Group calls and screen sharing (paid version)
Download Slack for free from the official Slack website.
Workplace by Facebook
Monthly Cost: Free – $4.30 AUD per user per month.
Daily Users: 2 million paid + free users unknown
Best for: Company Wide Communication
Why? Reasonably new platform that comes fully-loaded and is super affordable for all.
Much like the Social Media giants traditional platform, Workplace by Facebook looks pretty similar. The main difference is that it caters to employees and businesses and makes communication among team members across organisations a breeze. Employees can create profiles, businesses can use it as a central communication hub, and a whole host of messaging and scheduling tools take things to the next level.
With 2 plans available, including standard and premium, its low cost makes it ideal for even the smallest of budgets. If you know how to use standard Facebook, you will have no issues with Workplace by Facebook at all. Private channels make it safe and secure to transmit documents from one user to another, unlimited groups can be created, and task management is improved with app integrations.
Key Features of Workplace by Facebook:
- Multiple Communication avenues
- Live streaming of video
- Mobile and desktop video and voice calls
- Work Chat & Workplace apps (mobile devices)
- Unlimited video, photo and file storage
- Unlimited project and team groups
- File storage provider integration
- Windows Desktop Notifier
- Secure company collaboration
- Pre-built integration directory – Paid plan
- Community management admin controls – Paid plan
- IT team monitoring tools – Paid plan
- APIs for bots & custom integration – Paid plan
- Integrations with compliance providers & e-discovery – Paid plan
- SSO (single sign-on) – Paid plan
- Active Directory support – Paid plan
- G Suite, Windows Azure AD, Okta, Integration (plus many more) – Paid plan
- 1:1 Admin email support – Paid plan
Join Workplace by Facebook for free on the official website.
Naturally, there are literally hundreds of other worthy chat and workplace specific apps out there to choose from.
- Microsoft teams
- Spideroak semaphore
- Glip by RingCentral
- Zoho cliq
- WhatsApp messenger
These instant messenger and communication apps are all perfect for business is and range from free to $14 AUD a month per user. Whether you are a large organisation or a small startup business, communication platforms can help boost your output by streamlining workflow and task assignment.
Of course, you don’t only want to focus on the internal side of business. It is important that you provide an instant messaging service for your customers to get in touch with you. While Facebook messenger definitely leads the way with this, don’t overlook the power and performance of Line messenger… especially if you do business across Asia and Oceania.
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