Debunking 9 Common Myths around Instant Messaging apps

Avatar Ashwini Moopanar

As a business, your inbound and outbound communications might be suffering due to lack of efficient mediums, which would be negatively affecting your business. All this while, you might not have the slightest idea about it. This is because the positives of proper communication and the negatives of miscommunication in business are most often subtle and qualitative. Meaning, they can’t always be quantified.

To alleviate the problem, you as the business leader might be spending tons of money and human resources on expensive CRM/ productivity software that reaps minimal improvements and brings no noticeable change. Might we suggest an evergreen solution that would effortlessly adapt to your employee and customer needs? An IM app.

The thought of using such an app can bring up lots of resistance and misconceptions sometimes. However, it is important to dig deeper and investigate whether these misconceptions and myths are actually true or not. Are they founded on solid evidence and real-life usage? Or are they simply a flimsy set of experiences of a few people that are now floating around as irrefutable truths?

Because irrespective of the app, if you and your employees aren’t using it in the best way possible to maximize results, then even the most expensive apps and software cannot transform your business for the better.

With the above-mentioned truth laid out clear and bare, let’s look at some of the most common myths surrounding the IM apps and what the actual truth about them is.

Myth #1 WhatsApp is the golden standard for IM apps

Since maximum people heavily use WhatsApp for quick, real-time, efficient communication, they end up thinking that there is no IM app better than it.This might be true but only for consumer-grade apps.

Business IM apps, on the other hand, work on and require a different set of principles. So, any features that you see in WhatsApp would be present in an enterprise-grade one, albeit customized to suit a professional, working environment.

Myth #2: Instant messaging apps are counter-productive for work

They are. But, only if you are using the wrong ones. If your employees are using Facebook Messenger for connecting to one another, then guess what? They are going to be distracted. Just as the offline environment around them needs to be conducive for work and productivity, so does the chat environment.

This need is met through enterprise-grade instant messaging apps. These apps are specifically designed for fast and real-time conversation in the workplace which means you only reach out to your colleagues and clients whether individually or in groups. Google+ Hangouts, WeChat Work, and Slack are some popular choices when it comes to IMing in business.

In fact, according to one report, 21% of respondents have seen a moderate to significant increase in their productivity as a result of IM. This is because information sharing happens at a faster pace (66% said that simple questions were resolved quickly) and dependence on other slower forms of communication like phone or email was reduced (for 75% of respondents).

Myth #3: Instant messaging apps only work for desk-based jobs

The power of IM apps is that they work independently of the person’s location. Be it in-office employees, remote employees, on-field employees, IM apps can connect all of them seamlessly and easily through video or voice calling either one-on-one or in a group.

Also, since these apps are operative on multiple platforms like desktops, laptops, and smartphones, employees can stay connected irrespective of the medium they have and be able to get work done. In this era of on-the-go mobile connectivity, this location independence becomes even more crucial since 70% of employees spend more than 2 hours per week accessing company information on mobile devices.

Myth #4: The more expensive the IM app, the more useful it will be

This behavioral and purchasing tendency is not limited to apps. We believe that the more expensive an app is, the more value it has to offer to us. In reality, the IM app which would be most suited to you and your organization will likely not be the most expensive one.

Also, once businesses and people go for expensive IM apps, they discover that instead of optimizing their work, these apps decrease productivity and increase overwhelm. Whenever possible, choose top-notch functionality and security instead of glitzy features.

Look at the needs and the current state of your organization to choose the best IM app that does not disrupt your already-set productivity methods.

Myth #5 You have to compromise on security to bring an IM chat in your business operations

For organizations, security is a prime concern and it is this very concern that stops them from investing in IM apps when it isn’t this way.

If you are looking at WhatsApp as the standard IM app, then the standards set are wrong. WhatsApp is a consumer-grade app and does not provide the same level of stringent security that an enterprise-grade app does.

The developers of these apps know that sensitive information is being shared and communicated all of the time, and hence, protecting it and keeping it secure is a topmost priority.

Myth #6 Video calling and other collaborative features are actually a distraction

Meetings can take up a lot of precious time in office. According to Atlassian, 45% of employees feel overwhelmed by the number of meetings on their plate. For a remote or on-field employee especially, rushing to attend the meeting on time, sitting through it, then going back to their home/ field if needed can consume a lot of time and energy which could have been directed towards the completion of their tasks.

Here, video calling and other collaborative features like screen sharing come and save the day. With video conferencing, one can simply get together with a global team to discuss agendas and proposals. No one needs to leave/ arrive, leading to optimal utilization of time.

This global gathering is especially crucial when you are planning an international level campaign. Everyone gets a chance to discuss their ideas in real-time, debate, discuss, digress, and finally decide. Not to mention, you’ll be able to get a lot of varied perspectives which would not have been possible if everyone had to travel to the meeting room.

Myth #7 You have to have a chatbot

This is the case only if the chatbots in question are pull chatbots since these will respond to your employee’s queries for support or fulfill their need for a little entertainment.

The other type of chatbots- called push chatbots- are the ones which prove to be a distraction. They request information, initiate conversations, or poke the user to take some action- all of which are counter-productive on an IM app. Unfortunately, push chatbots are the ones being developed in abundance. So, you’ll have to be extra vigilant when it comes to this feature.

Myth #8 It’s frivolous to invest in IM apps. They don’t reap results.

IM apps will change your workforce and the productivity of your employees from the ground up and you’ll see it reflected in the day-to-day operations as well as in the big picture. Still, here are a few statistics to break this myth:

  • According to McKinsey and Company, a failure to implement social technology decreases the productivity of high-skill employees and management by 20-25%.
  • According to NCC.co.uk, employees using social business tools have felt a 39% increase in connectedness.
  • According to ICE3, 97% of businesses are bettter able to provide customer service because of business collaboration software.

In reality, IM apps and social collaboration tools benefit the entire organization be it in terms of file sharing, data sharing, team calls, security, or productivity.

Myth #9 It is difficult to manage IM apps in a professional environment

Again, if you go for a consumer-grade app like WhatsApp for business communications, it will be difficult to manage both the app and the employees using it.

But, if you go for a well-built enterprise-grade IM app, they will actually add value to your day-to-day business tasks. For example, one of Slack’s basic features is the creation of channels. People can create a public channel where conversations will be accessible and searchable in that workspace. Private channels will only be open to those who have been invited to be a part of it.

This division of channels offers control to the people of the organization and helps to manage them better. This principle can be applied to IM apps, too.

There you have it. The above list details the most commonly held myths about IM apps that might be sabotaging your efforts to make them a part of your workforce or why you might be resistant to the idea of them in the first place.

To wrap up the realities related to IM apps, here are a few numbers:

  • 87% of companies depend on their employee’s ability to access enterprise apps on their smartphone.
  • Work productivity is improved by 34% because enterprises allow their employees to use enterprise mobile apps.
  • Employee satisfaction increases by 23% due to the use of enterprise mobility apps.
  • Internal communication improves by 47% due to the usage of these apps.
  • Employee loyalty goes up 21% due to working with these apps.

To sum up, IM apps can help to boost productivity through collaborative features, quicken the execution of business processes, maintain security, reap assured ROI, help every kind of employee to work better and ultimately, add value to every day and long-term business operations.

If you are ready for your business to experience all of the aforementioned benefits (and lots more), waste no more time and say yes to a productive and empowered organizational experience now!

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WRITTEN BY

Ashwini Moopanar

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