How do you choose the right communication software for your business? You are certainly not low on options. Thousands of tech solutions are fighting for your attention (and your wallet).

While options can be a good thing, too many of them can easily lead to decision overwhelm. Back when Oracle offered the only CRM software out there, things were easy– you chose Oracle or built your own.

But now thanks to the exponential increase in choice and quality, picking software feels harder than finding the perfect pair of jeans. But it doesn’t have to.

Here are seven simple steps to help you find the perfect communication software for your business.

1. Map out your existing communication process

How do you talk to your team and manage projects? How do different sub-teams share information with each other and make sure everyone’s on the same page?

Map out that process in explicit detail. Add every tool and every channel everyone in your company uses to talk to each other– both the official and unofficial ones. If your team uses unofficial channels like Messenger or FaceTime to talk among themselves, then something is missing from your business toolkit. Now’s the time to find out what it is so you can remedy it.

Once you’ve got your process mapped out, start by identifying overlapping tools. Maybe the product team and the marketing team use two different types of video conferencing software or three different types of project management tools. For now, just make a note of the overlap. Once your map is ready, it’s time for step two.

2. Talk to your team

Find out how different people on your team, and different departments, use each communication tool. You can start with a survey and then interview key team members in more detail. This will help you understand how each tool gets used in the day to day.

Ask your team about their struggles and frustrations, as well as their successes. What do they wish the software could do? What kind of functionality would help make life (and communication) easier for them? Identifying both needs and deficiencies gives you a clear idea of what your team needs to communicate better.

3. Choose software your team wants to use

One of the biggest barriers to software adoption is getting your team to embrace it.

We all get used to our own ways of doing things. It’s hard to make a complete shift to something new. That’s why it’s so important to choose software that solves the problems people are struggling with.

But solving problems isn’t enough. The software should also be easy to use and understand. Ideally, you want something with a clean, simple UI that you can feel comfortable with in under 15 minutes.

At the same time, the software should be robust enough so that it can grow with you as everyone’s skills improve. It’s a fine line but a crucial one.

4. Works well on mobile

Unless there’s a legal reason not to (like compliance issues), your communication software should be usable across different devices.

Technology has blurred the lines between work and free time. The same devices we use to relax often get used for work too. Plus, when we are caught in the heat of a project, it’s nice to be able to check in on your phone. That’s why software should either have a mobile app or be responsive.

5. Easy to search

One of the best things about instant chat software like Slack isn’t the ability to create different channels and split off into small groups. Or even the ease with which you can integrate other tools. The real winner is its searchability.

Anyone who’s a member of a channel can search through past messages by scrolling or using keyword search. This keeps important communication from getting lost and ensures anyone who needs it, can find it.

Slack is just one of the dozens of tools that lets your team speak openly. It beats email because it gives everyone easy access to all the conversations instead of siloing important updates away in one person’s inbox.

Whatever tool you use to chat, pick one with a strong search functionality– it saves a lot of back and forth.

6. Minimizes the need for extra channels

If I want to get in touch with a colleague, I’ve got dozens of options– WhatsApp, text, phone call, VOIP call, Facebook, email… you name it. But all these options create stress and clutter.

Instead of improving communication across the board, they make your team jump from option to option looking for the right one– the one where the message is. Because we can send messages in so many different ways, it’s easy for crucial information to slip through the cracks. There are simply too many channels.

That’s why whatever software you use should be capable of handling all your communication– or as much of it as it’s viable. And you should make a concerted effort to keep communications confined to it– otherwise, things will get missed.

7. Choose for long-term potential

Choosing the right communication software for business isn’t easy. Like with any other move, it’s about more than making a simple decision.

You need to look into the software’s longevity and ask questions like:

  • Does the team that built it offer good support?
  • Can you trust them to offer continuous support and help to your team after the adoption process?
  • Do they stay up to date with the latest trends and offer frequent updates?
  • Do they take customer feedback into account?

Choose communication software backed by a strong team who are committed to being there for you in the long run. That way, you save yourself (and your team) the hassle of switching back and forth.

That’s why at Versatech we only work with vendors we trust. Ones that will always deliver high-tech solutions that are the perfect fit for you.