13 Team Chat Apps to Drive Your Business
Team chat apps are no longer just about workplace chatting and conversations. Make no mistake, internal communication is one of the most critical factors impacting the success of your business. But it’s far from the only piece of the puzzle.
As the modern office shifts to distributed teams, digital nomads, and remote consultants, team collaboration and business processes are becoming more complex, requiring cloud-based solutions and automation technology.
As a result, team chat software has to do more than just ensure internal communication. It has to facilitate efficient yet meaningful collaboration, safeguard company data and information, and increase team productivity.
In short, a team chat app should drive your business.
Team Chat Apps vs. Free Messenger Apps
Today, instant messaging technology powers both personal communication and real-time business collaboration. But software services for team communication aren’t the same as free instant messenger apps for personal use.
Sure, both platforms facilitate the exchange of quick, real-time text, audio, and video communication via proprietary software utilizing the same core technology.
Platforms for office communication, however, are stocked with business-specific features, tools, and tech. Dedicated internal workspaces incorporating robust control options, collaboration tools and API integrations, and enterprise-grade security enable you to centralize company communication and collaboration and keep vital business processes and data on-premises.
Comprehensive network administration
One of the biggest differences with team chat apps is the level of control they provide. Generally, users need authorization from a network administrator to access the platform. What’s more, you have greater control and management capabilities over users, discussion spaces, access to features and collaboration tools, and platform security protocols. This allows you to not only tailor the network to your business, but create a bespoke user experience.
Attention to privacy and data security
While no tech is fully immune to those who wish to exploit it, business chat software takes greater strides than personal messengers to secure communication.
Brosix’s holistic approach to security and privacy, as an example, secures communication internally and externally. Each Brosix Team Network gives you full control over the network, features, and each user. Combined with end-to-end encryption, peer-to-peer communication channels, and anti-virus and malware integration, Brosix ensures all communication and collaboration on the network is secure internally and free from outside threats.
Remote work can leave workers feeling disconnected. A team communication platform helps you engage employees through features like virtual whiteboards, screen sharing with remote desktop control, instant screenshots, and file transfers. What’s more, pairing these features with text and group chats and audio and video calling makes for an interactive collaboration experience that standard messengers can’t replicate.
The Best Apps and Software for Team Chat in 2021
As spending on collaborative tools booms during the coronavirus pandemic, finding the right applications to enhance internal communication and processes isn’t easy. To help you sort through the clutter, here are the most capable team chat apps for companies of all sizes.
Available on: iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Linux, Web
Brosix is a powerful instant messaging software for businesses featuring all-in-one chat, collaboration, and control capabilities to improve team communication and performance.
Brosix’s chat features facilitate effortless communication. One-on-one text chats, chat rooms, broadcast messages, and audio and video calling ensure seamless real-time communication no matter the situation.
A user-friendly interface loaded with features enables dynamic collaboration with a click. Share your screen or grant desktop access, send instant screenshots, launch a whiteboard presentation, and transfer files unlimited in size or number.
Better yet, everything takes place on a fully encrypted private Team Network providing full control over the platform. It’s a highly secure hub for communication and teamwork that’s customizable to your business.
Top Brosix features:
- Administrative control over contact lists, chat rooms, features, and more
- The ability to set multiple administrators and specific user data security levels
- Fully trackable User Activity Logs
- Searchable and syncable chat histories
- Voice and video calling
- Broadcast messaging capabilities
- Screen sharing with remote desktop control
- Unlimited size file transfers
- API integrations through Zapier and Integrately
Brosix Pricing: $4 per user/month for Business; $6 per user/month Premium; free Team Network for up to 3 users
Available on: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Web
Based in India, Flock has positioned itself as a rival to Slack. Flock has even set up a North American headquarters to challenge the team chat giant.
Flock gives you the core capabilities you’d expect of a team chat app – direct and group chat, voice and video calls, alerts, and notifications. Chat channels featuring threaded replies can be set up to be both private and public.
Keep in mind, Flock’s freemium version caps storage, public channels, and searchable chat histories to 10K messages. If Flock isn’t for you, check out these alternatives.
Top Flock features:
- Integrate with 60+ apps like Google Drive, GitHub, Trello, and Dropbox
- Built-in task management and the ability to convert discussions to tasks
- Create polls, shared to-dos and auto-generated mailing lists
- Invite guests onto the platform
Flock Pricing: Paid plans start at $4.50 per seat and get you screen sharing, unlimited message history, and 10GB storage per user
Available on: iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Linux
Troop believes company chat and collaboration shouldn’t break the bank.
For just a buck a month, the office chat app gets your business one-to-one and group chat, file sharing, and voice and video calling. Those willing to pay a bit more can get message-flagging capabilities, burnout chats, data usage analytics, and the option to self-host.
Collaboration is basically limited to screen sharing, though.
Top Troop features:
- Flag important conversations and retrieve them through a flag filter
- Self-destructing burnout chats
- Unlimited message history
- The ability to invite outsiders to the platform
Troop Pricing: Paid plans start at $1 per user/month. Enterprise and self-hosting plans start at $5 per user/month
Available on: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, and Web
Imagine a walkie-talkie, gaming platform, and team chat tool rolled into one. That’s Discord. It offers a totally different take on business communication.
With Discord, voice communication is front and center. In fact, voice chat is always on in the background. Clicking a channel immediately initiates discussion with other users, which you can mute through the push-to-talk feature.
Text-based conversations happen on a separate channel or ‘server.’ You also get screen sharing and file sharing.
Just remember that Discord is first and foremost an app for gamers. What’s more, the presence of malware and cybercriminals on the platform has raised questions around the Discord’s fitness as a solution for business-oriented chat and collaboration.
For a deeper dive, check out our recent Discord review.
Top Discord features:
- Assign roles and permissions to any member of a channel
- Push-to-talk capabilities
- Multiple workspaces on a single interface
- Integration with YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, and more
Discord Pricing: Discord’s freemium version offers core functionality; Nitro Plans from $9.99/month
5. Microsoft Teams
Available on: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Web
If you hold a Microsoft Business Basic or Business Standard plan, Microsoft Teams probably isn’t all that new to you – the business chat software comes standard with those plans.
Teams is best known for its deep integration with Microsoft Office 365. That allows for robust cross-team collaboration atop the Office 365 suite of products. You can access, edit, and share any Office or One Drive document without leaving the Teams app. Rich text editing which allows you to compose long-form email-like messages complete with an importance indicator.
Geared toward large corporate environments, you’ll need a Microsoft account just to access the Teams software. That puts it squarely out of reach for many small companies and startups. It’s also notoriously difficult to deploy, so have your patience handy.
Top Teams features:
- Word-like formatting lets you change font styles, create lists, and more in each message
- Office 365 integration lets you collaborate on any Office or One Drive document without leaving Teams
- AI-powered onboarding and search functionalities
Teams Pricing: Essentials from $5 per user/month; Premium from $12.50 per user/month; a limited freemium version aims to push you toward a Microsoft subscription
Available on: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Yammer is another messaging tool in the Microsoft ecosystem. A bit different from other team chat apps, Yammer functions more like an internal social network for large enterprises. You can follow your coworkers, write posts, and create your own network within the company.
With an unlimited audience size, Yammer allows you to build communities of interest where you can organize meetings or events, share them with coworkers, and track attendance. You can send private direct messages or set up groups for departmental communications. Polling and surveys allow you to gather ideas and feedback so the group can move forward in real-time.
Top Yammer features:
- Comprehensive integration with the Microsoft suite of products
- Share files up to 5GB
- Enterprise-level security backed by Microsoft
Yammer Pricing: Not available outside the Office 365 Business Suite; from $8 per user/month
Available on: iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Linux, Web
In the world of business communication, Slack is the app you’re probably most familiar with.
Slack organizes conversations by direct messages and threaded public and private channels. You can share, pin, edit, delete, and even react to messages. You also get screen sharing, file sharing, and some bots to remind you of messages and tasks.
Slack’s defining aspect is no doubt the more than 1,500 integrations to help you maximize workflows and mundane office processes. But that also means that many of Slack’s capabilities are a result of other apps and technologies. Not only are there security risks to consider, but questions over Slack’s handling of user data.
For more on the popular collaboration hub, explore our recent Slack review.
Top Slack features:
- More than 1,500 integrations
- Keyword notifications
- Customizable themes and sidebar
- RSS feed capabilities
Slack Pricing: A freemium plan limits you to a 10K message history and 10 integrations; Standard plans from $6.67 per user/month; Plus from $12.50 per user/month
If Slack isn’t the chat app for your team, explore these other Slack alternatives.
8. Facebook Workplace
Available on: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Web
With more than 2 billion Facebook users and its own free chat app, it was always a matter of time until the social media giant took to office communication.
With Workplace, communication feels strangely familiar. That’s because you get a news feed, personal pages, posts, comments, and likes. The interactive setup suits businesses of all kinds and sizes.
Chat happens in direct messages, private or public chats, and Groups – for unified communication and collaboration. You also get voice and video calls, IT monitoring tools, admin controls, and some limited integrations.
If there’s a drawback, it’s Facebook’s lengthy history of dishonest practices with user data and information – something we mentioned when we compared Workplace versus Slack.
Top Workplace features:
- Facebook-familiar communication and collaboration
- Live-streaming capabilities
- The ability to invite outsiders to the platform
Workplace Pricing: Workplace Advanced from $4 per user/month; Enterprise from $8 per user/month
Available on: iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Web
Hitting the market in 2018, Chanty is a newcomer to the field of corporate communication. Geared toward small and medium-sized enterprises, the AI-powered team chat tool has quickly moved up the ranks.
Chanty delivers core communication through one-to-one messages, threaded public and private channels, and voice and video calling. You also get file sharing, screen sharing, an unlimited searchable message history, and a hub to neatly organize tasks and conversations.
Top Chanty features:
- AI-powered search and suggestions
- Teambook organizes tasks, messages, links, and files
- Message and task tracking
- Automated workflows through integrations with Trello and Mailchimp
Chanty Pricing: Paid plans from $3 per user/month; free plans are limited to 10 users on a team
Available on: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Web
If you were to combine team chat with task management you’d have Ryver.
On Ryver, communication takes place in direct messages, private groups, and open forums. All of it can then be turned into tasks and managed on a Kanban board. There’s also screen sharing, voice and video calls, and Ryver’s big selling point – unlimited integrations through Zapier.
Keep in mind, if your team relies heavily on integrations through Zapier, you’ll need to ante up. At $250 for 50K tasks – Zapier plans don’t come cheap.
Top Ryver features:
- Set Reminders remind you to follow up on messages
- Select messages and add subjects and formatted, long-form content
- Chat, task management and automated workflows on one platform
- Social media, news, and RSS-feed streaming
Ryver Pricing: 14-day free trial; from $49 per month for twelve users; $99 per month for unlimited users; $199 for enterprises
Available on: Android, iOS, Windows
It’s hard to sync office communication when you’re spread across time zones. If you’re just waking up while your teammates are calling it a day, you’re left to play catch-up.
To help you find what you’ve missed and keep the discussion focused, Twist turns every chat into a thread on a particular topic that’s relevant to you. You either have to comment on an existing thread or start a new one.
You also get direct messages, customizable notifications, a handful of integrations, and browseable chat histories. Like a hub for your work chats, Twist organizes all of your threads into an inbox that you can check at your convenience, the same way you scan your email.
Have in mind that Twist doesn’t offer voice or video, so you’ll need to look elsewhere for those.
Top Twist features:
- Integration with Todoist, a top app for staying organized
- All your chats in an inbox
- Message previewing
- Invite guests like freelancers and consultants
Twist Pricing: Free with unlimited users including 1-month message history and 5 integrations; from $6 per user/month for unlimited message history, file storage, and integrations
Available on: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS
Trillian is a no-frills messaging app aimed at businesses and healthcare professionals.
A bare-bones approach means you won’t get voice or video calls. And there are no collaboration tools. What you do get is easy-to-use, real-time text chatting, group chats, and file and image sharing. Trillian also offers the option to either self-host or communicate behind Trillian servers.
Branding itself as a HIPAA-compliant application, Trillian targets the healthcare industry and even plans to roll out client-practitioner chatting.
If you need voice or video calling, choose one of these Trillian alternatives.
Top Trillian features:
- The option to self-host
- Numerous in-message text formatting options.
- Centralized administration and features control
- SMS texting capabilities
Trillian Pricing: Business Plans from $3.99 per user/month; Enterprise from $7.99 per user/month
13. Teamwork Chat
Available on: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Web
Teamwork Chat is a collaboration hub that warrants consideration especially if you’re using the Teamwork range of products.
Team-oriented chat channels let you organize conversations by projects or groups unique to the business while publicly searchable channels keep everyone connected. You also get direct and group messaging, file sharing, and video calls.
Deep integration with the Teamwork platform allows you to turn messages into tasks or create and assign tasks directly from Teamwork Chat where you’ll find them in Teamwork. It’s a great way to enhance visibility and communication without compromising productivity.
Top Teamwork Chat features:
- Interoperability with the Teamwork platform
- Integration with popular tools such as Hubspot and Google Drive
- Searchable message history
- Video and audio calls
Teamwork Chat Pricing: $4 per user/month
Why Use a Team Chat App
As you can see, there’s no lack of tools for business communication and collaboration. That’s a testament to the advantages they afford teams everywhere, regardless of the business segment. With the right team chat app, here are some of the more common benefits you can expect.
Enterprise-oriented chat platforms improve team communication by affording employees multiple channels to keep in touch and collaborate. Share conversations, files, knowledge, voice and video calls, or just a simple emoji. What’s more, chatting in real time is more timely and engaging than other means of communication, such as email where there’s often a lag between messages.
Free personal chat applications lack control over the platform. Employees can mix private and work communication, leading to distractions, time-wasting, and even security risks.
Business chat apps provide enhanced management and authority. Admins can group users as they see fit, control who can chat with whom, and regulate features on a user basis, ensuring a secure and productive work environment. Users must receive authorization to join the network.
While there are many ways to improve your efficiency at work, good office communication software can streamline your entire workflow. Centralizing company communication and collaboration eliminates unproductive multitasking while mobile apps enable teamwork regardless of whether you’re working from home, the field, or somewhere in between.
Strengthen Team Camaraderie
When employees have friends at work, their job is more enjoyable. Of course, electronic communication can’t replicate in-person interaction, but the consistency and ease of interoffice chat can strengthen relationships around the workplace, especially for remote teams.
Group chatting is one of the best ways to share team victories, birthday or anniversary wishes, or morale-boosting GIFs and memes. Over video chats, on the other hand, you could share a coffee break or carry out a fun remote team-building activity.
Employing multiple software applications is costly, especially for startups and small enterprises. Team chat apps can help you reduce business costs, by consolidating on one platform various paid services, such as text communication, phone plans, collaboration tools, and data security and protection.
Ensure Record-keeping and Compliance
Team chat software often includes features that can simplify the process of electronic record-keeping, as well as ensure compliance with business regulations. Chat histories and activity logs allow team members to easily review conversations, quickly recall details and information, and ultimately save time and frustration. They can also ensure compliance with an ever-growing list of regulations that mandate electronic record-keeping.
Modern offices are packed with productivity killers. While a team chat app won’t fix your social media habit or messy workspace, it can play a role in boosting productivity. For starters, platforms for internal communication reduce cluttered email discussions, not to mention the inefficiency of switching back and forth between multiple collaboration tools. What’s more, you often can tailor the network to meet unique team needs or business specifications.
Transform Business Meetings
Applications for business communication provide a range of useful functionalities beyond quick team messaging, such as improving the quality of business meetings. Chat rooms, for example, can serve as a space for the distribution of relevant meeting materials, pre-meeting brainstorming and discussion, and post-meeting follow-ups. Employing whiteboard conferences or screen sharing drives engagement.
How to Choose A Team Chat App
Good communication software is vital to your business. But with so many apps, services, and work instant messengers on the market, choosing the right tool requires some homework. You’ll need to weigh several factors against company and team requirements.
- Functionality – Business chat software should scale to team size, chat habits and preferences, and task load.
- Security – Not all apps pay equal attention to privacy and data security. For maximum security, go for encrypted chat channels on a closed network, if possible.
- Features – Feature stacks often vary. Watch out for surprises as some team chat apps don’t come with audio, video, or collaboration tools, for example.
- Price – Costly integration packages and add-ons for storage and searchable chat histories can quickly skyrocket the price. Have in mind the features that you need to ensure productivity.
- Control – A lack of control options hinders efficiency, productivity, and security. You should be able to fully manage your network including users, chat spaces, and collaborative features.
The best team chat apps should come as close as possible to meeting each of the above conditions. If you still can’t make up your mind, take Brosix for a spin. It’s a highly capable, secure, and customizable instant messaging software designed to improve team communication and drive your business. Request a free demo today.