Slack Review: Best Collaboration Software for Small Businesses
What is Slack?
Slack is a business communication platform that provides teams with a central place to instantaneously communicate. Since its launch in 2009, Slack has gained a massive following with more than 10 million daily active users.
Because many of Slack's features help replace other tools like built-in file uploads, voice conferencing, and video conferencing, Slack is an essential productivity tool that helps companies of all sizes streamline their communication.
Table of Contents
- What is Slack?
- Slack Review Summary
- Slack Pricing
- Slack Key Features
- Slack Customer Support
- Slack Alternatives & Competitors
- Is Slack Right For You?
Slack Review Summary
Slack was founded in 2009 by Cal Henderson, Eric Costello, Serguei Mourachov, and Stewart Butterfield. With more than $1 billion in funding and millions of customers, Slack is one of the foremost software platforms in the world.
Slack is a business collaboration platform that provides teams with a central place to chat, share files, and collaborate on projects. Designed to increase productivity by reducing the amount of time spent drafting emails, Slack has gained a following among companies of all sizes that benefit from real-time chat and collaboration.
Slack integrates with various other software systems that you may use in your business, including project management tools like Trello and file storage solutions like Google Drive. With comprehensive search features and data retention, Slack enables users to easily search across messages, channels, and files to find the information they need.
Slack offers four different plans to choose from, and Slack pricing ranges from entirely free to $15 per active user per month. If you pay for a yearly subscription, you'll receive a discount from the month-to-month pricing.
More specific details about Slack pricing can be found below.
|$8 per active user per month
|$15 per active user per month
|Enterprise Grid Plan
Slack Key Features
Below, we'll discuss the key features of Slack, and how they can benefit your business. We'll discuss usability and customer service availability as well. Throughout the review, we'll include images of the software to give you a sense of what it's like to use Slack.
Teams typically use Slack to discuss and share files in one central location, known as their workspace. Each workspace is typically organized into various "channels", which are topic-focused chat rooms.
For example, your workspace may be divided into team-focused channels where members of that team can discuss their shared projects and tasks. As you can see in the image below, the workspace is divided into channels, which are identified by the "#" symbol.
Channels can be public, meaning that any member of your workspace can search and join them, or private. Private channels are only accessible to members who have been invited to that channel. This helps further categorize the way that information is shared and discussed across a company. Channels that are private are indicated by padlock icons.
Voice & Video Calls
In addition to its real-time chat features, Slack also includes built-in video chat and phone calling functionality. This allows users to easily transition from a chat to communicate through other mediums when necessary. During a video call, you can also use screen sharing to illustrate what you're talking about.
Though Slack is primarily focused on developing features for chat-based communication, and therefore the video conferencing capabilities are not quite as robust as Skype or Google Meet. If you need to integrate a more developed video system, Slack has native integrations with Zoom, BlueJeans, and more.
Slack includes a default bot called the Slackbot, which answers questions about Slack features, will automatically respond to default slash commands, and can respond to reminders. For example, you can use the "/remind" slash command to trigger the Slackbot to create a reminder.
Let's say that you send the Slackbot a message with the following text: "/remind Amy about the meeting at 3PM tomorrow." The Slackbot will automatically respond with a message that confirms that it will remind you to notify Amy at that time, as shown below. You can also create your own custom slash commands to either trigger an action in another application.
To message the Slackbot, send messages in your own personal chat.
Slack is designed to be used in combination with many of your team's existing tools, ranging from G Suite applications like Google Calendar to project management tools. Users can customize their Slack workspace by making these tools easily accessible within direct messages and channels, which means that they won't have to switch back and forth between applications during a conversation.
Here is a list of the major tools that Slack has native integrations with.
Customization Options & API
Slack provides technical users an API in order to encourage teams to build Slack apps. For this reason, it has gained a following among tech companies that have software developers who can use the API to make Slack serve their exact use case more efficiently.
Slack's API makes it possible for software developers to create custom integrations that react to certain snippets or terminology throughout their teams' conversations. This means that potentially you can custom applications or control specific parts of your workflow right from Slack.
Slack Customer Support
Slack offers many self-help service options for customers like their blog, demo videos, a Help Center, and specific portals for developers and Slack partners.
Slack also offers live chat on their website, so you can instantly get in touch with a member of the support team. Customers can also fill out a form on the website to be contacted via email.
|Customer Support Channels
|Live Chat, Email
|Other Support Resources
|Blog, Developer-Specific Help Page, Help Center, Demo Videos
|Application Status Page
Slack Alternatives & Competitors
Slack is similar to other business communication platforms like Microsoft Teams. While it doesn't have many direct competitors, alternative software platforms like Skype and Google Meet have chat functions built in.
Is Slack Right For You?
If you're looking for a real-time communication platform that integrates with your existing business applications, and helps drive more effective conversations within and across teams in your organization, then Slack is the best option on the market.
Slack has gained a reputation for facilitating communication and increasing productivity in the workplace. It offers an impressive number of integrations with widely used applications, including business applications like G Suite by Google and Microsoft Office 365, as well as project management tools like Trello and Asana. These integrations, as well as Slack's support for creating custom integrations, have enabled Slack to fit neatly into many companies' existing workflows.
To learn more about Slack, you can visit their website here.