The Business Benefits of Instant Messaging

Posted on: 2017-06-13 | Categories:SIP

There are few things more important to a business than communications. Effective internal and external communication can be a challenge in this fast paced and globalized world for organizations. But it is also the key to success in the marketplace. Compared to just a few decades ago, we now have multiple means of business communication. It can be daunting to try and integrate all of them in your organization but it’s certainly not impossible.

Instant Messaging and VoIP

One of the less obvious benefits of VoIP is how it can bring together many different types of communication channels on one infrastructure. With a traditional phone system, you might have to buy separate services for video calls or conference calling. And then you need an entirely separate solution if you want to add instant messaging to the mix.

With VoIP, you can bring together voice calls, video calls, conference calling and even instant messaging on one platform. This is the core of Unified Communications – the holy grail for businesses. While US is a marketing term, the benefits it can provide are endless.

So now that you know how you can deploy instant messaging within your enterprise, let’s talk about why you would want to do that.

What is Instant Messaging?

Instant Messaging or IM has long been used as a social networking tool or method communicating for people. However businesses are also beginning to embrace IM for their internal communication. IM is real time communication like voice calling but less intrusive than the latter. It is text based like email but not as slow either. It is less formal than a face to face meeting and quicker as well. It can bridge the gap between email, phone calls and video chat.

The Benefits of IM

Companies can use IM to support their existing communication channels. Smaller businesses might even replace other channels completely with IM. While it is great for bringing employees in different locations together, even colleagues sitting in the same office can benefit from IM.

IM for Group Chat

Instant messaging is great for groups to share information and communicate. Teams can communicate in real time but conversations can also be stored and archived for later perusal. It’s very easy to switch between multiple chat windows, whether it is one to one or group conversations. It’s great for those instances when you need to send documents, images or other files to colleagues. It’s much easier to send pictures or screenshots in the middle of a chat window rather than putting someone on hold and sending them a separate email with no context.

IM is less Disruptive

Messaging is less disruptive to workflows than a phone call. After all, it’s much more difficult to manage multiple calls at the same time but juggling a few different chat windows is something we’re all used to. A message over IM is not as insistent as a phone call where you have to answer immediately. Leaving the chat window open can also double up as a reminder to send requested information to a team member later on.

IM for Effective Collaboration

How often have you called someone to discuss a document that your entire group is editing together? IM makes this collaborative process much quicker. Instead of juggling your phone and computer to see the file, you can simply open up a chat window and the document side by side on the screen. Quite a few document editors even include chat options in the sidebar for precisely this function.

Bring Employees Together

IM can be useful for communicating with team members who are at different locations like a client site. It can also bring down language barriers present in voice communication. Words can be misheard or misunderstood in a phone call. This is less likely to happen over text. It also gives users an opportunity to review the message they’re about to send before hitting enter.

Many businesses have staff from different countries and backgrounds on the same team or project. IM can help with preventing miscommunication, especially if some employees have accents that are difficult to understand. This method of communicating can also help if one or more people involved are at a crowded or noisy location.

That being said, IM does have a few drawbacks. For one thing, businesses may find that a few employees use the program to chat with friends and family. IM clients that are focused on enterprises can help solve that problem since only your internal staff can access it. IM clients can also be less secure than other channels. Employees should be aware that the same protocols apply to IM, as say email. Spam or viruses can also be sent through chat windows, compromising security.

However businesses are finding that the benefits of IM far outweigh the drawbacks. So have you tried IM for your office yet?