The rise of the remote workforce, especially due to the COVID-19 crisis at the start of 2020, has created a booming demand for business communications solutions.

But it’s not just internal communication that benefits from business communication software (BCS for short.) Recent studies on customer communications show that the average consumer uses at least 3 connected devices for business communication.

Today, seamless experience when it comes to both internal and external communication is essential.

The below business communication solutions will help you to stay in constant contact with clients and employees no matter where you are or how you prefer to connect.

Here are the types of business communications solutions we’ll cover:

  1. Business VoIP
  2. Video Conferencing
  3. Webinar Software
  4. Project Management
  5. Team Collaboration
  6. Customer Support
  7. Social Media Management
  8. Sales Team Management
  9. Email Marketing
  10. CRM Software
  11. Helpdesk, Self-Service Software
  12. Cloud Storage

 

 

Requirements For Featured Products

The top business communication solutions at the beginning of each product type section were required to meet a set group of standards to be chosen for a featured spot.

At least one tool in each featured section must offer a free plan, and additional featured tools should be within the average price range for their service category.

Requirements for featured products include:

  • Each section includes one tool with a free plan and one paid plan in the average price range of the software type
  • Each tool must offer basic integrations with other business communications tools (GSuite, Slack, Microsoft 365, etc.)
  • Must rank on page 1 to 2 of organic Google Search results for the primary category/keyword
  • Must offer several customer support channels ( 24/7 phone support, live instant messaging, dedicated account representative, etc.)
  • Tools can be used by both large and small businesses across multiple industries (no “niche” industry products)
  • Product has a high standard for user security (Two-factor authentication, data encryption, password protection, admin access control, etc.)

 

Business VoIP Software

Business VoIP software allows team members to make and receive calls from any device, increasing employee flexibility and availability.

Plus, companies have been able to reduce their business communication costs by up to 50% after switching to VoIP. Users also save on costly setup costs like cabling and phone hardware.

Top VoIP telephony features include:

  • Virtual voicemail and voicemail transcription
  • IVR auto attendant for customer self-service
  • Unified communications
  • ACD (automatic call distribution)
  • Call forwarding, routing, blocking, screening, and other advanced call management features
  • Business SMS text messaging
  • Call analytics
  • Scheduled callbacks
  • Call recording
  • Online faxing

 

1. Nextiva

Nextiva VoIP
The cloud-based Nextiva business VoIP business phone system includes some of the best solutions for small and enterprise-level businesses and is trusted by top businesses like Taco Bell, the YMCA, and The University of Arizona.

Users can select a standalone VoIP calling service or can purchase omnichannel business communication packages that include features like video calling, team chat messaging, and automation —  ideal for call centers.

Nextiva integrates with CRM software like Salesforce and Zendesk, providing detailed call pops with customer data for incoming calls.

All VoIP voice calls are encrypted, 24/7 support is available, and Nextiva boasts a 99.999% uptime. While Nextiva is compatible with most VoIP phones, it also offers phone hardware that integrates seamlessly with its VoIP software.

For more information, read our breakdown of 2020 Nextiva pricing and plans.

 

2. RingCentral

RingCentral Office

RingCentral Office is a cloud business telephone system that combines team messaging, virtual telephony, call analytics, and video calling.

Top features include RingOut one-touch calling, cloud PBX, unlimited calling within the United States and Canada, and audio conference calling for up to 40 participants. Call queuing, call waiting, and call parking are just a few of RingCentral’s advanced call management features.

It offers integrations with essential tools like Zendesk, GSuite, Microsoft 365, and Salesforce.

Like Nextiva, RingCentral also offers compatible phone hardware for sale in addition to BYOD options.

It offers 24/7 customer support, TLS call encryption, and HTTPS/SSL.

See our post for additional information on RingCentral pricing and plans in 2020.

 

More Business VoIP Solutions

 

Video Conferencing

 

Though video conferencing was already a popular method of business communication before the COVID-19 pandemic, it became essential at the start of 2020 as the virus caused the vast majority of American companies to transition to remote work.

Web conferencing software allows for real-time face-to-face internal and external communication, ideal for one-on-one video meetings or webinars with hundreds of attendees.

Essential features include:

  • Password-protected waiting rooms
  • Screen sharing and remote screen control
  • Meeting recording
  • In-meeting chat messaging
  • Breakout rooms for smaller discussions
  • Whiteboard tool
  • Integrations with other business communication tools
  • Admin controls to mute, remove, give hosting privileges to, or block attendees

 

1. Zoom

Zoom is the fastest-growing video conferencing software, with close to 13 million active monthly users.

It has four main plans to choose from, including its free basic plan that allows for unlimited one-on-one meetings and up to 40-minute meetings for a maximum of 100 attendees.

Zoom breakout rooms allow hosts to break up larger meetings into smaller discussion groups. While on video calls, users can upload and co-annotate files and presentations in real-time. Screen recording and transcriptions are also available.

Zoom integrates with tools like G Suite, Outlook, Salesforce, and Google Drive.

Although Zoom has struggled with security issues in the past, improvements like SSO, password-protected meetings, stronger admin controls, and AES-256 encryption have made it more secure.

Popular uses for Zoom include virtual classrooms for remote learning, telehealth appointments, and local government town hall meetings.

 

2. Cisco WebEx

Cisco WebEx is another popular web conferencing software with over 324 million users in total.

WebEx offers 5 plans, including a free plan that allows for 50-minute meetings for up to 100 participants, screen sharing, and breakout sessions. Popular integrations include GSuite, Office365, Salesforce, and Slack.

Standout features include live polling, an attention indicator tool, meeting attendance taking, and Noise Detection and Suppression. Users can click the “Meet Now” button to instantly transition from a text-based chat to a video call.

WebEx’s security precautions include end-to-end encryption, password-protected meetings, meeting locks, and encrypted cloud recordings.

To learn more about these top two web conferencing solutions, read our detailed comparison of Zoom vs. WebEx.

 

More Video Conferencing Tools

 

Webinar Software

 

Though some video conferencing platforms also offer webinar capabilities, some prefer to host online events using standalone webinar software.

Though the average webinar attendance rate is 44%, using the right tools can boost that attendance rate even higher — especially given the jump in using webinars for lead generation and education during COVID-19.

Essential features include:

  • On-demand and live webinars
  • Handouts feature
  • Q&A Session
  • Active speaker view (ideal for panelists)
  • In-presentation offers
  • Webinar analytics
  • Invitation and follow-up templates
  • Social media platform integration
  • Live polling, virtual hand-raising, breakout groups
  • Pass presenter tool

 

1. GoToWebinar

GoToWebinar by LogMeIn is a no-download webinar platform that can host up to 3,000 participants and allows users to create live, on-demand, serial, and recurring webinars.

It’s primarily designed for companies that use webinars for lead generation, or for those that sell their webinar content as a product. It’s also a popular choice for employee training webinars.

Custom registration forms, automatic attendee reminder emails, and branded templates are standout features that make the webinar scheduling process much easier. Webinars can be recorded and sent to attendees afterward, and hosts receive engagement data just 15 minutes after the webinar’s close.

Attendees have the chance to send in their questions before the webinar begins, which makes tailoring the right content even easier.

It offers four different paid plans, but no free plan.

 

2. Join.Me

Join Me Bubbles

Join.Me is a personalized webinar platform best known for its unique interface, which shows attendees onscreen as circular “bubbles” as opposed to on rectangular interlocked screens.

It can host up to 250 maximum attendees and 10 simultaneous shared screens, meaning it’s ideal for mid-sized companies, corporate meetings, and employee training.

Top features include screen sharing, whiteboarding, file sharing, chat messaging, and advanced host controls.

Available integrations include GSuite, Zaiper, Outlook, Slack, Office 365, and Trello. It also provides 356-bit TLS encryption, webinar attendance locks, and two-step authentication for added security.

Our past research shows that free webinar software is difficult to come by for users who need more than just the most basic of webinar capabilities. Join.Me, however, offers the best pricing options, with the cheapest of its three available plans costing just $10.00 per month.

Our complete review of Join.Me’s pricing and plans provides additional information.

 

Other Webinar Software

EasyWebinar

Cisco WebEx Events

Zoom Video Webinars

WebinarJam

 

Project Management Software

 

Project management software allows admins to assign clear tasks and subtasks to team members, leading to stronger team collaboration and freeing up employees for more important projects.

Essential project management features include:

  • Task and subtask assignment
  • File uploading
  • Task commenting and task status updates
  • Multiple board views
  • Time tracking
  • Workflow management

 

1. Asana

Asana Interface

Asana offers a robust free project management software plan and three paid plans.

Users can create unlimited tasks, projects, file storage, and activity logs. Teammates can assign tasks to one another, write comments and tag users, create deadlines, and complete tasks in a to-do list format. Gantt timeline project views, Kanban boards, and calendar views are also available, as are workload management tools.

Each user has an individual inbox that lists completed, in-progress, and upcoming tasks and task status updates are available.

Additional features include:

  • Data exporting
  • Subtask creation
  • Custom rules builder
  • Unlimited guest users
  • Integrations with Salesforce, Creative Cloud, Slack, and more
  • Milestones
  • Private project and team creation
  • Time tracking

 

2. Wrike

Wrike Interface

Wrike is a work management platform with over 20,000 customers including Dell, Siemens, Airbnb, and Okta.

It offers multiple project views including list, spreadsheet, calendar, forms, and Gantt chart views. Multiple users can be assigned to a single task, and users can easily upload multiple file types.

Users can assign tasks and subtasks as well as set task dependencies, which prevents users from going forward with a project until a certain task has been completed.

Wrike currently offers one free plan and three paid plans.

Top features include:

  • Task status updates
  • Color coordination
  • Real-time progress reports
  • Online document editing
  • Project templates
  • Project time tracking
  • Integrations with Google Drive, GSuite, Microsoft 365, JIRA, Slack, Github, and more

 

More Project Management Software

 

Team Communication/Collaboration Software

 

Team collaboration and communication software allow internal team members and guests with access to these tools to instant chat message one another, have video meetings, edit and collaborate on documents in real-time, and more.

Users can create public and private communication channels on team communication tools get a quick clarification on questions that don’t require a larger meeting or a separate email.

This prevents workflow stoppages, encourages teamwide participation in planning and executing projects, and allows managers to send quick company-wide announcements.

Top features include:

  • File sharing and editing
  • File version control
  • Channel and user tagging
  • Document synchronization
  • Calendar tools
  • Reply threads and reactions
  • In-app phone and video calls
  • Click-to-call or click-to-video-call
  • Message and file storage

 

1. Slack

Slack is easily the most recognizable team collaboration tool and is best known for its instant chat messaging interface.

Users can create their own topic/department channels and set them to public or private. Users can react to messages with emojis and reply to threads instead of clogging up channels for a conversation between just a few individuals.

In addition to chat messaging, paid versions of Slack also allow for video calling, voice calling, and screen sharing. It’s easy to instantly transition a chat conversation to a video call.

Slack offers one free plan and three paid plans.

Additional features include:

  • Searchable chat history
  • User status updates and profiles
  • Do Not Disturb/Snooze notification
  • Integrations with Microsoft 365, Google Calendar, Zoom Google Drive, and over 2,000 more business communication tools
  • Unlimited message history
  • Up to 1TB per storage member

 

2. Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a team collaboration tool that combines video calling, chat messaging, audio phone calls, and real-time file editing within a singular interface to take internal communication to the next level.

Users can schedule a meeting ahead of time through calendar app integrations, or simply click to turn a chat into a call. Meeting recordings, file storage, and unlimited chat messages are all included, and users can host larger online events for up to 10,000 people.

Teams offer one free plan and three paid plans.

Additional features include:

  • Over 250 app integrations
  • Custom meeting backgrounds
  • Searchable message history
  • In-chat file attachments
  • Web versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

 

More Team Communication Software

 

Customer Support Software

 

Customer support software allows agents to communicate with customers over multiple communication channels, providing both live support and automated responses from bots depending on current communication needs.

It makes support ticket management tracking easier and speeds up the overall resolution process. These tools also provide insight into customer information and history through CRM integrations, speeding up the resolution process.

Customer support software also serves as an information hub regarding products/services, billing resolution and order updates, and other more general queries.

 

1. Zendesk

Zendesk is an omnichannel customer support software trusted by over 200,000 clients.

Connect with customers and manage support requests over social media, live website chat messaging, SMS texting, phone, and email. Team members are provided with knowledge bases and customer information from across multiple data sources, allowing them to provide the best possible assistance.

Zendesk offers five Customer Support Suite plans, all of which are paid.

Additional features include:

  • Skills-based routing
  • Multiple ticket forms
  • Custom business rules
  • Performance dashboards and customizable metrics
  • Customizable support dashboards
  • Branded interface

 

2. Freshdesk

Freshdesk tool

Freshdesk is a customer support app that can move customer queries from any channel into the Freshdesk unified dashboard, making it much easier to avoid ticket loss.

Users can prioritize and organize support requests, update ticket status, and take advantage of automated canned responses. Collaborative ticketing as well as ticket merging for similar issues sent to multiple agents is also possible.

Freshdesk offers one free plan and four paid plans.

Additional features include:

  • CSAT surveys
  • Multilingual knowledge base
  • Email and social media ticketing
  • Round-robin and skills-based routing
  • SLA management
  • Ticker trend reports and performance reports
  • App integration
  • Customer segmentation

 

More Customer Support Software

 

Social Media Management Tools

 

Over half of social media users say they use their favorite social platforms to research companies and make buying decisions.

In addition to being a huge part of your marketing strategy, social media channels are also an important part of customer service and customer feedback/interaction.

The right social media management tools should allow you to post simultaneously across multiple platforms, provide hashtag suggestions, create automatic responses to messages, and of course, schedule future social content.

 

1. HootSuite

Hootsuite social media

HootSuite is a social media management and marketing platform trusted by more than 800 of Fortune 1000 companies.

It allows users to create and schedule posts in a single platform for publication across multiple social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and more.

Additional features include:

  • Social media ad analysis and optimization
  • Post creation assignment and social team creation
  • Integration with Adobe, Google Drive, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more
  • Access to HootSuite Academy training
  • Trend monitoring
  • In-interface social post sharing, liking, and commenting
  • Private social media message management
  • Campaign analysis

HootSuite offers one free plan and four paid plans for up to 35+ platforms and over 10 users.

 

2. Buffer

Buffer is trusted by over 75,000 clients including Spotify, Shopify, Huckberry, and Food52.

In addition to combining all social media platforms into a single interface for post scheduling, Buffer also provides detailed analytics on individual posts, hashtags, and audience engagement within the same dashboard.

It automatically generates exportable daily customizable reports, allows users to schedule the first post comment and create multi-photo posts, and even enables social media shoppable posts.

Users can easily schedule both permanent posts and 24-hour stories.

Buffer offers one free plan and 6 paid plans.

 

More Social Media Tools

 

Sales Team Management Software

 

Sales team management software helps managers and sales team members understand target KPIs, provides current client insights and is often a tool by which managers evaluate representative success and productivity.

It allows employees to keep track of their current leads and sales pipelines, streamlines the data entry process, and identify trends.

 

1. SalesHub by HubSpot

Sales Hub by HubSpot is a sales team management tool used by Casio, Legal Zoom, and Motley Fool Wealth Management.

It provides agents with email templates and tracking that sends employees a notification when the lead has opened an email, making it easy to know exactly when to follow up. Agents can use the tool to prioritize sales calls, make and record calls from their web browsers, and then automatically update their CRM systems with the call results.

Additional features include:

  • Lead rotation automation
  • Predictive lead scoring
  • Trend/sales forecasting
  • Productivity reports and performance rating
  • Deal pipelines
  • Quote management
  • Live chat
  • Call tracking and recording
  • Accounts-based marketing

Sales Hub offers one free plan and 3 paid plans.

 

More Sales Team Management Software

 

Email Marketing Software

 

Every dollar spent on email marketing has an average return of $42.00 — meaning that investing in the right email marketing software can significantly increase your profits.

Email marketing software gives insights into which segment of your market should receive emails about specific products, the best time of day to send out emails, and which subject line gives you the highest open rate.

Essential features to look for include:

  • Pre-made email templates
  • A/B Testing
  • Email segmentation
  • Drag-and-drop email design interface
  • Open rate, link click, and subscriber analytics
  • List management features
  • Email automation
  • eCommerce integration

 

1. Mailchimp

Mailchimp dashboard

Trusted by over 20 million customers, MailChimp is easily the most well-known email marketing platform.

Its intuitive drag-and-drop interface and robust email template library are beginner-friendly, but the capabilities and insights it provides are suitable for large-scale enterprises, too.

It offers a free plan for sending emails to up to 2,000 contacts, marketing CRM integrations, website building tools, forms and landing page creation, and a MailChimp domain. MailChimp currently has three available paid plans for up to 200,000 email subscribers.

Top features include:

  • Landing page creation for lead generation
  • Customer journey creation for automated marketing workflows
  • Real-time analytics per email
  • Behavioral targeting and market segmentation
  • Custom branding
  • Send time optimization

 

1. Constant Contact

Constant Contact

Constant Contact has over 600,000 current customers and has numerous email marketing templates and strategies for multiple industries including payroll services, nonprofits, financial management companies, and medical professionals.

As of this writing, Constant Contact does not offer a free plan and has two available paid plans.

Top features include:

  • Automatic email resends to non-openers
  • Welcome emails to new subscribers
  • Contact segmentation
  • List management tools
  • Triggered emails
  • Email marketing calendar
  • Email templates and a drag-and-drop interface
  • eCommerce integration

 

More Email Marketing Tools

 

CRM Software

 

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is an upgraded digital version of a Rolodex.

It acts as an online database of real-time customer data like personal notes, sales history, current orders, and more. It helps to connect departments and agents that may end up speaking with the same client.

CRM software provides insight into customer journeys and leads to a more personalized customer service experience.

 

1. Salesforce 

Salesforce is a cloud-based integrated CRM solution that has helped users increase customer retention by 45% and gain an average of 44% more leads.

It combines information relating to marketing, sales, commerce, and customer service into one centralized platform that offers a 360-degree view of customers. Salesforce’s app exchange allows users to customize their software’s functionality and identifies clear touchpoints throughout the customer journey.

Top features include:

  • Case management
  • Service contracts
  • File sharing and collaboration
  • Case auto-assignment
  • Lead management tools
  • Omnichannel routing
  • Milestone tracker
  • Opportunity tracking for cross-selling
  • Email templates

Salesforce doesn’t offer a free plan, but its Sales and Service cloud platform has four available paid plans.

 

2. Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM serves 150,000 companies across 180 countries, including Amazon, Netflix, and Suzuki.

It includes lead, deal, contact, and workflow management automation. It also has a sophisticated approach to process management that allows admins to design an escalation matrix, assignment and approval rules, and a scoring system.

It evaluates customer journeys, allows for omnichannel customer support via several communication systems, and offers lead and deal predictions.

Top features include:

  • Mass emails
  • Customized dashboards
  • Team collaboration tools
  • Performance management features
  • Customer and agent analytics
  • Scheduling automation and management
  • Web forms
  • Marketing automation

Zoho CRM offers one free plan and four paid plans.

 

More CRM Software

 

Helpdesk Ticketing, Knowledge Base, and Self-Service Platforms

 

Helpdesk ticketing software and self-service platforms allow customers to access a business knowledge base that answers their product or IT service questions, eliminating the need to connect with a live service representative.

These tools also help to manage customer support queries, creating a digital ticket of the inquiry and notifying agents if a conversation is needed. Help desk ticketing also tracks customer support requests across multiple channels.

 

1. Kayako 

Kayako Software

Kayako is a help desk platform providing deep insights into the overall customer journey across multiple communication platforms. It also helps users create a Help Center, so that customers have access to self-service 24/7.

Top features include:

  • Multi-lingual support
  • Canned responses
  • Live chat support
  • CSAT scores
  • CRM integration
  • Customer ratings for support articles
  • Help Center search bar

Though Kayako doesn’t offer a free plan, it has three affordable paid plans from $15/agent per month.

 

More Self-Service Platforms

 

Cloud Storage Software

 

Cloud storage software provides additional secure storage space for files by sending them to multiple servers over the Internet, as opposed to storing them exclusively on a computer’s hard drive.

Users can then access, share, and edit/update files through a password-protected online interface.

Top cloud storage benefits include its affordability, better options for data recovery, automatic file syncing, and better security measures than standard hard drive storage.

 

1. Google Cloud Storage

Google Cloud Storage offers unlimited scalable cloud storage space for files with no minimum individual file size and maximum individual file size of 5TB.

Pricing is determined by the type of storage you use, the amount of space you need, and the length of storage time you’ll require.

Top features include:

  • Worldwide storage accessibility
  • Multi-region/dual-region storage for geo-redundant data
  • Object Lifecycle Management
  • Data transfer professional services
  • Object versioning and object holds
  • Encryption keys

 

2. Odrive

Odrive Storage

Odrive unified cloud storage lets users access files from numerous storage applications like Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, Facebook, Sharepoint, and more within a single interface.

It syncs files to a user’s computer to transform cloud files into local ones for easy file sharing, collaboration, and storage.

It offers a robust free account with standout features like:

  • Single Sign-on
  • Desktop file sync for Mac and Windows
  • Automatic file synching
  • File and weblinks sharing
  • File manager integration
  • External storage synching

A paid premium account is also available, offering features like unsyncing to free up space, file backup, and automatic file encryption.

 

More Cloud Storage Software

 

Additional Reading on Top Business Software

Want to learn more about the features, available plans, and user experience of some of the business communication tools highlighted here?

Whether you’re primarily interested in team collaboration tools, video conferencing software, or other technology solutions, our database of the top business SaaS applications provides you with the most up-to-date information possible.

Read user reviews, see head-to-head comparisons of popular software within each category, and determine which tool best fits with your budget and current business phase.