How to Select the Best Internal Communications App for Your Business
You should be careful when selecting the appropriate technology for your business. This is because it can affect your business either positively or negatively.
What is an Internal Communications app?
It is simply a platform where your contractors and employees can use to communicate and share ideas about the task at hand, beyond using traditional channels such as phone calls and emails. Also, an internal communications app may or may not be an intranet app.
Before the introduction of internal communication apps, the communication channels for businesses were phones and emails. However, the email started to indicate its shortcomings, as it was made to be the pillar of internal communications.
Each day, an average worker would get approximately 121 emails related to work, making internal communication difficult.
Internal communications apps allow you to centralize. Unlike an email, the app allows all your employees to access everything in a single platform.
Is an Internal Communications App Important?
Undoubtedly, an internal communications app is essential, and you require one for your business. According to research, 78% of employees in the US do not connect with their workplace. As a result, they cost the US economy $350billion per year. Besides that, these figures agree with the increased use of social and instant interactions as opposed to email. Also, the best means of building an engaged workforce is by creating a company culture where users are engaged.
Furthermore, the study shows that on average, Americans utilizes their mobile phones for more than 3 hours in a day, thus making mobile apps for internal communications a solution for employee engagement.
Although you might have read some blogs that say the number of email accounts has grown more than before, they might be misleading. Reason being, despite the increase of email accounts, their role as valid forms of intranet have decreased.
On average, employees take 64 seconds to return to their work after they have read and responded to an email. So, if your internal business communication uses email, it might be the primary source of disturbance and unproductivity in your business.
According to experts, this kind of email-based disturbance is known as “internal spam,” and it costs businesses a lot of money.
Moreover, irrespective of your business’s size, whether small or big, you should use an internal communications app to enhance the effectiveness of your communication, get more done within a short time, and avoid communication problems.
Apart from wastage of time, ineffective internal communications come with a lot of costs. Besides this, the email inboxes of your current workers are crowded. Thus they might archive, unread, ignore or delete them accidentally. As a result, you might miss great opportunities, as well as incur high losses.
How Can You Select the Best Internal Communications App for Your Business?
Irrespective of businesses being in the same niche, they are entirely different. Therefore, choosing the right communications tool that fits your requirements without incurring higher costs for a modified solution is vital.
Here are the factors to consider in doing so:
1. Understand the needs of your employees
Ensure your internal communications app suits the needs of your employees. This is because if your employees hate using the app, chances are that it might not enhance their capacity.
An internal communications app with the best code or finest interface is not always the best. In most cases, an app that suits well in the processes that are familiar with your employees is the best.
So, before choosing a communications app for your business/company, seek suggestions from employees regarding various tools. You should ask them if a specific tool gives them comfort, and if there are steps that affect their capacity to utilize the app in undertaking their jobs.
Also, you should ensure your employees do the test run of the app you intend to purchase. By doing so, they can tell if the solution is appropriate for use by the rest of the employees in your company.
2. Is it easier to use/ user-friendly?
You should consider if the app is easier to use/ user-friendly. During your comparison of various communications apps, you should prioritize the ease of use, as well as user encounter because internal communication is an essential part of your business.
Besides, the ease of use is essential in your business as your employees will be using the app that you will select either on an hourly or daily basis for a long duration.
3. What are the costs?
Internal communications tools come with three types of costs. These are:
- Usage cost.
- Training cost.
- The price of the product itself.
Note that the cost can be huge if your business has never used an internal communications app. Besides this, a complex solution that appears to be affordable might cost more than a simple but expensive tool, mainly because of costs related to training.
Besides, there is the cost of using the app. Indeed, the more employee time that an app need is directly proportional to the amount of productivity lost in your business.
Finally, you should go beyond the monthly subscription fee when calculating the costs of an app that you intend to purchase. Your internal communications app should be user-friendly, faster to set up, and without overhead expenses such as installation fee.
4. Know what your company/business requires
The most important thing when choosing an internal communications app for your business is knowing the essential needs of your business. Here are the questions to ask yourself: Do you need a group chat app or work tracing platform? Do you require an all-in-one app or best of the breed? Do you require a shared calendar for conference calls or meetings? Or Do you need a project management platform for tracking and keeping goals and milestones?
Since each business has different requirements, the best way of selecting an efficient communications app is knowing the needs of your business, for ease of identifying the best tool to offer a solution.
Failure to do so will not solve your needs. For example, some communications apps, such as Connect team allows you to modify your app and concentrate on a feature that is essential in your business, while Basecamp is for project management, and Slack for chats only.
5. Is it easier to establish?
Whether you are a business manager, administrator, or owner, you should know that some solutions might need you to:
- Implement rules and processes of ensuring communications are smooth and efficient.
- Train the employees on how to use the app, to ensure they are both confident and able to use it from the start.
- Install the app in all your mobile devices and network of workstations.
Establishing an app might take a lot of time if the app is complicated or problematic to set up. Therefore, you should check the setup and establishment process of an app before you purchase.
To determine if the app is easier to establish, consider these questions: Is it more accessible to set up? Is its interface spontaneous? Or, is it problematic to find the way around the app? Does it need a lot of training? Will it be more comfortable for your employees to change from using email to the app? your app and concentrate on a feature that is essential in your business, while Basecamp is for project management, and Slack for chats only.
Also, the most critical question to consider is: Will the app integrates easily with work and communications tools that you have been using before? In case it fails, then let the implementation be a gradual process instead of switching immediately.
Recently, there is a revolution towards cloud and mobile software. However, these solutions are ideal for smaller enterprises because cloud solutions might not offer the kind of modification and establishment required by a large business.
6. Does it have helpful, friendly, and timely support?
A functional app can help your business make more revenue and save time. However, if the app does not work, more so if the support is not available immediately, it might halt the activities of your business.
Therefore, before you purchase any app, ensure that helpful, friendly, and timely support is available. Although you might not see support as a primary factor once you start utilizing an app, you will need them when a problem arises.
7. Calculate the benefits you will gain
It is worth noting that higher costs do not guarantee rewards. Therefore, when calculating the costs of an internal communications app, remember to calculate the benefits you will receive by using it.
Among the significant benefits is swift, and precise internal messaging. Your employees should be able to quickly respond to new events and developing stories, irrespective of their location because the app centralizes your communications for easier access on mobile.
Accuracy is the other benefit. Unlike emails that can get ignored or lost, an internal communications app centralizes your group chat, making all employees follow with ease. Reason being, all unread messages get counted and highlighted, thus allowing all members of the team to remain updated regarding the project.
Although all these benefits cannot be measured, some can be easily measured. For instance, do you know the amount of time that your business takes on email, as well as the time saved by an app? If so, you will be able to measure the savings and enhance the results made by the productivity app.
In addition, you can measure the effectiveness of your workforce in using this app. What do you need to enhance? Which features are popular? You can measure all these.
Finally, measurement is another benefit to consider. Measurement is the only feature that lets you know where you can invest your company funds for enhanced output at minimum cost.
You should go for an internal communications app that meets all the above factors. Equally, your communications app should be user-friendly to avoid frustration and confusion to your employees.