As most companies haven’t standardized and regulated how their teams communicate digitally, the employees have blurred the lines between personal messaging and business communication.
Some 70% of the workforce prefers to be reached via text message, while about 79% of professionals have admitted to using WhatsApp to communicate at work.
Unsupervised text and instant messaging use may seem benign. Still, the recent spate of WhatsApp fines issued by regulators to major Wall Street firms underlines the importance of choosing an optimal communication tool employees exclusively use for business communication.
But that is easier said than done, given the emergence of trends, such as hybrid work, mobile-first communication, the need to quickly and securely share multimedia files, and most importantly, increased scrutiny from regulators (SEC, FINRA, CFTC, etc.), lawmakers, international bodies (EU, etc.), and the judiciary as well.
Key factors to consider while choosing the right communication tool
The features and specifications that you require for your organization or team-wide communication tool depend on the use case. Factors to keep in mind are whether the app or software will be used for communication among colleagues or outreach efforts centered around customers.
In some instances, the management may need a channel where they can broadcast information, and conduct live audio events, webinars, or video conferences where the employees can tune in for updates but not participate in the conversation. Otherwise, the management might want a group chat or video call application, where they can garner employee input.
Ideally, the chosen communication tool has the following capabilities:
Support for all types of communication
Your employees need to make calls, send texts, initiate video calls, and share multimedia files with a group or with an individual, so the communication tool has to facilitate all of these or at least whatever you require for smooth operations. Going a step further than this, WhatsApp and WeChat have enabled screen sharing for business users.
Along with enabling communication, the platforms also need a reasonable backup so companies can have a record of employee text messages, which is increasingly crucial given that regulators are now warning companies to even regulate emoji use. Another essential feature to look out for is the ability to perform call monitoring for compliance and productivity measurement purposes.
Emails, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and productivity/ task management software (Asana, Trello, etc.)—none of these come close to the convenience or popularity of text messages and instant messengers, like WhatsApp, Telegram, and WeChat. Undoubtedly, these apps have the upper hand when it comes to employee preference due to the fact they can be accessed via mobile without the need for complicated logins or a learning curve.
If companies invest in something like WhatsApp, WeChat, or Telegram for their business communication needs, they can rest assured they have end-to-end encryption. Only 14% of businesses are properly equipped to face a cyberattack, so it is crucial to have the data of employees and customers protected by the highest level of encryption in the market. But it is worth noting WhatsApp GDPR compliance issues have come up time and again with European regulators, so companies have to be one step ahead.
Scalable and reliable for use globally by remote teams
If you plan on enforcing the use of an authorized and official communication tool throughout the company, it needs to be widely available and used throughout the world. Apps, including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram have hundreds of millions and even billions of users around the world who seamlessly use it across devices and networks with minimal downtime.
Scalability across your increasing workforce is also not to be overlooked. Telegram is a standout for allowing 200,000 people to be part of a group, while the other apps are also fast catching up with the ability to stay connected with a large number of your customers or employees.
Customizable with integration support
Each business will have its own unique need when it comes to a communication platform. Increasingly, apps have started offering the ability for businesses to integrate various functions seamlessly to provide a smooth employee/ customer experience. Users of WhatsApp and WeChat especially have the option of providing a shopping experience for their customers, who can add items to the cart, make payments, access AI customer support, and even get live updates of their payment confirmation or shipping details.
Meanwhile, some apps can integrate with HR and CRM software to track sales team and customer support staff performance, employee engagement, and productivity levels, and also inform the employees of key events in the company. Interestingly, WeChat and WhatsApp allow companies to garner employee / customer sentiment through the use of polls.
Companies also need to identify communication tools that provide them with features, like disappearing messages to get rid of outdated information, the ability to send bulk messages and AI-enabled conversation support. The conversation support can be for anything from sending automated greetings to someone upon first contact or during holidays to resolving customer support issues. WeChat and WhatsApp are especially known for their ability to allow businesses to set up an automated reply workflow based on customer inputs. Having these capabilities will go a long way in helping you serve customers 24×7 and also make your team more productive.
The communication platform you choose needs to be accessible to people from across cultures and ability levels, so you must pick one that supports multiple languages and has an easy user interface. Multi-currency support is another nice feature for dealing with international clients.
Important documents, such as company communication policy, updated HR policy, invoices, etc., that are sent via communication platforms may likely get buried under other conversations. So, like Facebook Workplace has a Knowledge Library, where teams can collaborate on and share common documents, your chosen communication platform needs a place for documents to be accessed and shared in a clutter-free manner.
Proper documentation and support
Since you are going to extensively use the communication platform, you need to select one that has a dedicated customer support line and extensive user documentation that you can refer to perform integrations, access various features, and use the app to its full potential.
Compliance, the glue that holds everything together
The most meticulously chosen communication platform still won’t be enough to pass scrutiny in the modern regulatory landscape. As a business, you also need to invest in a recordkeeping solution that
- provides communication compliance
- can record voice calls,
- retain text messages, including multimedia files
- maintain all the instant messenger conversations for the retention period.
Most of the communication platforms have essential backup support, but they always run the risk of employee deletion and tampering.
So, an enterprise needs a real-time capture, retention, and maintenance solution that can serve as a reliable and undisputable source of truth, come e-discovery, regulator-mandated turnover of employee communication, or internal investigations. These archives can also be searched easily, given that the conversations are stored along with the relevant metadata, such as the time and date of the message. Importantly, you can implement the automatic flagging of certain keywords, so the management or compliance team gets alerts as and when an employee uses them.
No matter which communication tool you pick for your company/ team, you can rely on TeleMessage to archive your business messages securely and in compliance with all the relevant regulations. Reach out to the team for a demo.
TeleMessage captures and retains mobile content, including mobile SMS messages, voice calls, WhatsApp, and WeChat conversations from corporate or BYOD mobile phones to ensure compliance with various data protection regulations. The messages are securely and reliably retained within TeleMessage servers or forwarded to your choice of archiving data storage vendor.
Our mobile archiving products securely record content from mobile carriers and mobile devices for various ownership models (BYOD, CYOD, and employer-issued). With our multiple archiving solutions, you can always find the right tools or blend for your requirements:
- Network Archiver
- Enterprise Number Archiver
- Android Archiver
- WhatsApp Archiver
- WeChat Archiver
- Signal Archiver
- Telegram Archiver