The Internet age has brought us to a point where real-time, stable communication is a must, especially for businesses. Just considering the kinds of problems that could stem from poor communication makes it doubly crucial for businesses to see how they can leverage the technology to minimize or eliminate these problems and establish substantial growth. Late project deliveries, inaccurate business information and worse, poor customer engagement, are today’s equivalent of the Sword of Damocles, which make it imperative to invest in reliable communication software.
Not all solutions are created equal, however, so to give you a better idea of how these solutions work and the options that you have, we have compiled a list of the top 10 communication software available. We’ll discuss their key features, functionalities, along with their unique selling propositions so you don’t have to labor on these tasks and expend an unnecessary amount of time and resources. Think of it as a tour of the vast sea of communication software. By the time you’re done reading, you should be able to choose the right tool for your organization.
Communication tools have proven beneficial to most organizations, particularly in internal communication matters. This is reflected in a survey by Ragan Communication and RMG, which revealed that 46% of employees are satisfied or highly satisfied with the current state of their internal communication. This positive result reflects the inherent communication software benefits, particularly those that impact employees, some of which are listed below.
Among these tools, unified communication systems or those that combine different technologies impact users the most. When it comes to costs, the use of unified messaging alone saves companies around 25 to 50% compared to using different platforms. Calling and conferencing features, meanwhile, have been found to result in healthy collaboration, which 62% of IT managers believe as important to their organizations. This development plays a key role in the popularity of leading communications software.
It is no secret that businesses like online retailers, service providers, and knowledge workers all need quality communications software to eliminate the fuss that could arise from limited information access. Using top communication platforms, teams actually work as teams, saving time and boosting the productivity of their businesses. Let’s examine how these best communications software applications make this possible:
First in our list of best communications software is RingCentral, a well-known cloud phone system. Unlike what a company would expect from a phone system (and which usually goes down to purchasing hardware and installing applications), RingCentral is one of those apps you set up and manage in minutes. It is basically a testament to how cloud-based solutions help small businesses.
RingCentral offers a variety of enterprise-level communication capabilities, including texting, call handling, voicemail, fax, mobile apps, and even BYOD. It will blend seamlessly within your already installed software infrastructure, and you won’t have to bother your IT department to make data run smoothly from leading business apps such as Zendesk, Desk, Dropbox, Google, Salesforce, and the Microsoft suite. In fact, RingCentral will hardly ever make you rely on technical support, as using it is simplified specifically to suit the needs of less savvy users. Finally, RingCentral is also suitable for audio and video conferencing, even if its flexible pricing scheme is not such a financial burden as similar apps can be.
You can use all the features for free for a period of time to see if the software matches your needs. Simply sign up for RingCentral free trial here.
Key Features of RingCentral
The social media behemoth figures in our list of the 10 best communication software systems through Workplace by Facebook. The application is everything you know about Facebook, except this one is geared towards empowering teams to communicate and message one another in real time. And as with Facebook, you get to create groups or join them, organize any corporate or business event and make sure the stakeholders get the notice and schedule they need. What you get with all these is a nifty, familiar platform to generate information or share them.
Employees can create the profiles they want as with the social app, leverage the instant messaging app to ask a question or get an answer, pronto. Employees can jump departments to join groups that they feel they have more connection, and be happier and productive for good measure.
If you want to investigate the features closely you can easily do so when you sign up for Workplace by Facebook free trial here.
Happy, connected employees are matched by their employer businesses that can leverage the communication hub to distribute information, tasks, special requests or anything that just makes it easy to advance the companies forward. They get a powerful multimedia solution that allows them to set up events, conduct presentations, stream videos or record them for future reference.
As with other Facebook offerings, this one is reasonably priced so businesses of any size will have a hard time looking for another solution elsewhere.
Key Features of Workplace by Facebook
Slack presents a whole new level of instant messaging, uniting various communication channels in one platform. It is another one of our popular and top-rated communication apps, which helps both individuals and businesses to communicate and store their interaction data in a searchable and actionable database.
What is really impressive about Slack is that it never stops developing. It was introduced as a basic chat app but grew to be an all-in-one business communication service which now integrates with many popular systems to make sharing as easy as possible. In fact, you can count on numerous configurable synchronization features to make sure data will run smoothly and without delay. On top of that, you will have access to native mobile apps to communicate and share on the go.
Other important features you should consider checking are the configurable and flexible notifications (both for the phone and the desktop app), the webhooks and the open API which allows integration with every business app you may be using, 1:1 private messaging, open communication channels, snippets, emoji support, and many others.
Key Features of Slack
There are a lot of discussions going around on whether businesses can really benefit from a VoIP system or not, but 8×8 VoIP Service is one of the most successful apps that make those benefits visible. After it was first introduced, 8X8 didn’t take long to impact the market; today, it is the preferred communication service provider of many brand giants, such as McDonald’s, Shutterstock, iCruise, Allstate, and others. Surprisingly enough, 8×8 VoIP prices start for as low as $19.99 per month and the transition to higher plans is painless.
There are many reasons why 8×8 is such a popular VoIP software, the main one being the suite of advanced features such as instant messaging, smartphone integration, internet faxing, automated answering and call routing, and the unique smartphone-managed web conferencing. Users have also been impressed by the company’s reliable support, being one click away from solving any problem that may arise in the system. We also recommend 8×8 VoIP to small and mid-sized businesses as it is tailored to suit every company with 5 to 5,000 employees.
Key Features of 8×8 VoIP Service
From its very first arrival at the digital scene, Join.me was tagged as a business collaboration app rather than a personal communications one. It is because it helps companies organize and hold online business meetings, web conferences, and presentations, keeping everybody in the company one button away from joining a conversation.
Join.me is LogMeIn’s top product developed by both IT and business experts interested to deliver an unbreakable base for your corporate information, which is why it is empowered with enterprise authentication and share control. The security provisions count for every plan, including the forever-free one which covers 10 users and a plethora of VoIP capabilities. What this means is that small businesses suddenly acquired a powerful tool like Join.me at their disposal at no cost at all.
The same as in the previous cases, Join.me is a cloud-hosted service, meaning that there is no need for you to download or install the software. The interface is friendly and appealing and can be customized to make it more brand-appropriate. In fact, the spontaneous nature and personal background/URL customization make it more than suitable for creative and artistic businesses.
Key Features of Join.me
Although primarily a project management tool, ProjectManager offers a wide array of communication features that help managers and team members stay on top of their tasks. It combines robust collaboration and project management features, making it one of the most popular systems of its kind in the market. Project collaboration is made easy with the tool, with members allowed to post task updates from anywhere at any given time.
The system provides users with updates in realtime, directly from the dashboard, making Project Manager the ideal solution for those who operate teams around the world. This means that you get a clear view of project status and tasks and other relevant information. It also makes room for project discussions online, keeping everyone in the loop at all times. If you need to, you can create group discussions and send chat invites to colleagues.
Should you want to investigate the platform firsthand, you can easily do so when you can sign up for ProjectManager free trial here.
Key Features of ProjectManager
Project management software Backlog offers teams all the functionalities of a project management tool while catering to their communications needs. It was built to help project teams boost coordination, collaboration and communication, particularly between non-technical teams and developers. It accomplishes this through functionalities like issue monitoring, project tracking, and task management.
Backlog also allows for efficient file sharing while keeping all your information in a secure location. You can assign attachments to files, which can be edited by team members. Project files can likewise be uploaded to team, issue or project folders. What’s good about the tool is that it allows you to use a variety of access levels, keeping your data secure by allowing only relevant personnel to access them.
Key Features of Backlog
There is little we can share about Skype and which you don’t already know, except maybe of the fact that this cloud-hosted and open source solution can be equally as good for large corporations as it is for small businesses and individuals. Being a pioneer in the industry, Skype pushed traditional communication boundaries long ago, and almost eliminated phone communication from the scene. The reasons were more than obvious.
Before anything else, Skype is a free service. It will enable you to hold online meetings for up to 250 people and encrypt your information without paying a single cent. There are also higher plans, such as the Online Plan ($5.50), Office 365 Business Essentials ($5.00) and Office 365 Business Premium which includes HD videos, IM, audio calling, and technical support, while some of them offer even a 50GB mailbox and office apps for mobile devices. In any of those cases, Skype remains an easy to use and affordable service applied everywhere around the world, which makes it one of the primary products you should consider when looking for the perfect communication system for your business.
Key Features of Skype
Video conferencing and online meeting suite Lifesize is a popular software that boasts a huge customer base in over 100 countries. This cloud-deployed system lets you to easily create online meeting rooms and directories. Its numerous features make for better collaboration and communication, which results in improved productivity.
The software was created to help you set up the ideal hardware, equipment, conferencing software and device in any location. This makes the product ideal for use in setting like huddles, forms, one-on-one meetings and seminars, among others. It facilitates connectivity among meeting participants, audiences and employees no matter the device they are using.
Lifesize also plays well with numerous third-party applications, including Skype for Business, IBM Sametime, HipChat and Slack. This allows you to retain your workflows while making use of all the tool’s communication features. It also has functionalities that administrators and IT professionals will certainly appreciate. The system allows them to monitor meeting rooms, tweak its home screen and check on call quality across devices.
Key Features of Lifesize
Communication app Zoom is built to host webinars, hold online training, video conferences and demonstrations, and teach online courses. The tool is a combination of a video conferencing, group messaging and online meeting tool that harnesses the power of the cloud. It is highly recommended for SMBs, and organizations in the healthcare and education sectors. It can support participants of up to 100 and 10,000 view-only guests.
Zoom helps improve collaboration among remote workers, participants and team members by providing high-quality video, screen-sharing and audio features. With the software, you can easily start or join a meeting, which takes only a click of a mouse or a tap on your mobile device. In wireless mode, the system allows you to share content.
When hosting webinars, the tool enables audiences to view both presentation and panelist screens as it supports dual screen viewing. You can share your screen with members of the audience, which may include an active window, your whole desktop screen or even those displayed on a whiteboard. Its collaboration features are quite excellent, able to send text, audio or image files and create groups. Invites can be sent out and received through smartphones.
Key Features of Zoom
With the technology train showing no sign of stopping, communication apps are bound to hitch a ride and further expand their functionalities and corresponding benefits. Despite the numerous features that users currently enjoy, the largely untapped potentials of these tools have yet to be seen. The following are but some of the technology trends that are expected to change the communication landscape.
AI tools have changed the way companies communicate, inside and out. And because this technology comes with machine learning capabilities, it can very well change the way we communicate. In addition, it is expected to replace 50% of human communication jobs in the near future. When applied to business communication, this technology cannot only speed up the process but use human behavior to improve it.
Although yet to find its niche application, blockchain is beginning to emerge as an important tool for communication. Its ability to store data could result in a single database for all communications data.
Personal digital assistants shocked the world when it successfully booked a haircut appointment the way a human would. Imagine using the technology to answer phone calls, send emails or SMS. However, just like in the case of AI, its use could result in a great reduction in human jobs.
Currently a key technology in customer service, chatbots provide businesses with automated interactions with their customers. They keep clients and prospects engaged while they roam websites and still be able to address queries and concerns. They likewise employ machine learning, allowing them to provide smart responses to specific questions. Thousands of queries can be handled, making them a lot proficient in tasking than human agents.
Communication software has indeed become a key part of every organization. After reading our 10 best free communication software list, you now may have an idea of what tool will work best for you. However, before you sign on that dotted line, take time to consider the features that you need in such a platform. You can likewise go for free trials and see what a product can do for you. Or even better, you can take our top solution for a test drive if you sign up for free RingCentral trial here.
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