The term “chat room” might bring to mind late 1990s internet spaces where teens would congregate to talk about pop culture, but chat room tech and live chat features have helped to create better business experiences for customers and employees alike. Some businesses do develop their own proprietary chat apps, but there are dozens out there meant to take care of your business needs right out of the box that already easily integrate with your existing tools.
Here are some of the best chat applications available for your business and how these types of chat rooms can serve your organization and your employees.
Types of Chat Room for Business
1. Google Hangouts
If your company uses the G Suite app from Google to host email and other business functions, Google Hangouts Chat is a great option that’s a built-in solution. You can invite team members to rooms you create, but also have a private one on one discussions with employees. You can add a video to your chat rooms or share documents directly from Google Docs, Sheets, and Sides. This gives businesses a way to not only drive productivity, but also stay organized, as all chats and document sharing are backed up and stored as searchable parts of the G Suite functionality.
Slack is another popular, helpful chat room style tool. In addition to one-on-one chat options, you can create group chats and video conferencing chats. Like Google Hangouts, you can share files using Google Drive, Dropbox, or other services. This makes overall communication and collaboration easier and more effective. More and more businesses are seeing the value in creating spaces for their employees to connect digitally and professionally; it can improve morale and grow productivity. What’s more, is that the types of chat rooms that are available now really are more “room” and less “one on one only conversation”. This means that multiple people can be part of a discussion or thread, enabling for more transparent communication.
If you don’t need the full project management functionality of Basecamp, but would benefit from the connectivity and communication features, you can try Campfire. According to Business News Daily, “Campfire is a web-based chat tool that eliminates the need to install any instant messaging apps or clients. You simply create a password-protected chat room and invite team members to chat. Users can share files with live previews within chat rooms; supported files include image files (PNG, JPG and GIF), Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.The service also comes with such extras as conference calling, chat transcripts, and add-ons for integration with popular Windows and Mac business software.” The ability to create useful chat rooms without it being connected to another platform is very attractive to some businesses.
Skype is a long-used messenger tool. Not only can businesses use it for one to one instant messaging, but they can also create group conversations, video conferencing, and even phone calls. Its popularity is based on its ability to create several kinds of communication options from one platform; it also works well from web-based or mobile-based applications, so it can keep employees better connected.
Discord is growing fast. Once a chat room option for gamer specific topics, it’s become a way for people to talk about any topic. It’s also made its way into a business application. It has a unique “always-on” voice feature that was once used for group gaming but has found usefulness for business communications. About Discord, Zapier notes, “There are channels for every topic you want to discuss, emoji reactions to give quick feedback, and pinned messages so you don’t lose track of important ideas. Behind all that are Voice channels, always-on phone calls where you can talk to anyone on your team. You can keep your mic off, then push a key to start talking whenever you want to jump in. It’s designed for gaming, with an overlay view that shows voice channels on the side of your games—but could be as handy to talk to colleagues while working remotely in a shared Google Doc.”
For freelancers, contractors, or independent business people, there are other kinds of chat rooms available, like those that can enable you to host a webinar or live training. Business people can also find industry-specific chat rooms to help them learn more about a subject, network with other professionals in chat forums like Business Chat.
Chat rooms and chat apps are no longer for messaging friends or having casual internet discussions; chat rooms and chat apps have become a staple of modern-day business communication. Whether it’s a more efficient way to help your team communicate or a way to learn from and connect with other business professionals, the types of chat rooms and tech behind chat rooms are important for businesses to not discount.