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Slack vs WhatsApp

Did you know that there is an alternative messaging system to WhatsApp? Yes, there is WhatsApp for Business, and there is also Slack.

Slack is a communications tools whereby discussions can be broken down into channels giving everyone on your team a shared view of all related discussions, tasks, progress etc. While WhatsApp has many advantages for communication, we also like Slack for our internal purposes, and here’s why:

1. Slack was created for Professional Communication.

Professional communication within corporate organisations, your business, your teams, leadership teams, or cross-functional departments and teams. Whereas WhatsApp was made to keep communications between friends simple. WhatsApp has great features, like it’s end-to-end encryption, meaning it has some security benefits that do appeal to businesses, but at the end of the day, trying to make WhatsApp work for business use is like trying to put a round block in a square hole. You might be able to make it work if you force it, but there are going to be some gaps. It will allow you to pass a message to someone, but you’ve not got lots of options as to what you can send and as for your recipient, they’ll have very few options as to how they manage the messages they receive.

2. Slack was made for Desktops.

Due to it being specifically for business, it was created with the desktop in mind. WhatsApp was made for mobiles. And while the mobile version of Slack is pretty well designed and user-friendly, the Desktop version of WhatsApp is a little bit basic. What’s more, it relies fully on your smartphone. Should your phone battery die, or your phone be placed a little bit too far away from your computer, you’ll no longer have access to WhatsApp on your desktop. This means it’s incredibly easy to go the whole day thinking you’ve had no notification, when in fact your phone is in the next room and you’re simply not receiving your notifications.

3. Slack has features that WhatsApp does not.

As well as being more desktop friendly, Slack boasts a whole list of features that WhatsApp does not. Starring messages, following messages, quickly reacting with an emoji and setting yourself reminders are all Slack features that we absolutely love and use on a daily basis. We really like that you can put memos on messages, making them much less likely to be missed or forgotten. Unfortunately, WhatsApp has no such feature, meaning missing a message, particularly in a busy group chat, is extremely easy to do.  Besides these features, you can sync Slack with other apps – Zendesk, HubSpot, Salesforce, Dropbox, GSuite, Office 365 and hundreds of others – helping you to increase your productivity and efficiency.

4. Channels versus Groups

The WhatsApp group can be useful, but I think everyone agrees it’s a bit annoying. Messages can ping through at any time of the day or night, distracting you from whatever you’re doing and stealing your attention away from other tasks. This is why we prefer Slack channels. It’s a similar idea, a message broad where multiple people discuss certain topics. These channels can be external, meaning you can add in clients or other outside organisations, or they can be internal, meaning only your team are involved. You’ve got some really useful notification settings on Slack. You can choose to only be notified when someone mentions you by name, or even choose to mute the channel entirely if you’re focusing on something else, or colleagues are discussing a topic which doesn’t really concern you. The same principle applies across the whole of Slack, where you can input your working hours and only receive notifications during those times, set yourself to busy or even on holiday. It’s so easy to see at a glance who’s around to talk and who isn’t, meaning not only can you work without the constant pinging of messages to distract you but you can reach out to others and have a pretty good idea if they’ll be straight back in touch, or if you’ll need to wait a while.

5. Search functionality.

This brings us on to the feature that really sets the two platforms apart. The search function. Both Sack and WhatsApp have a pretty user-friendly search bar, but Slack is that bit more sophisticated, really giving it the edge. Both platforms allow you to search for keywords in messages, but Slack also allows you to type in details like dates and users before intelligently bringing up a list of messages that might be what you’re looking for. The best bit? You can even search WITHIN documents. So say you shared a document and can’t remember what it was called, or even who you sent it to. Search for keywords and voila, your document will appear.

If you are deciding on how to better communicate with your team, do consider Slack, and even give it a go. You may end up ditching internal emails and using Slack instead.

Virtual Support Specialist, Hong Kong

Are you using multiple systems, or trying to run your business by yourself? If so, organise a call with me to find out how we can help you streamline your systems, and at the same time support you so you can focus on serving your clients.

Written by: Nicole Graham


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Established in 2007, Bauhinia Solutions is a boutique virtual business support agency with a team of dedicated and experienced business specialists, administrators, and virtual assistants.