We were pretty happy to use Skype during the last decade.
Skype has managed to become a synonym for instant communication just like Xerox used to be a synonym for photocopying. We’d ask people to meet on Skype, added Skype name to the email signature. It’s been a part of everyday life at work.
Then Slack popped up in 2013 and turned the world of business communication upside down. Was it the first app of a kind? No. Its competitor HipChat has launched long before Slack was even publicly introduced. But why is Slack considered a pioneer of a business communication niche? What made it such a success?
Some claim it’s the ambitious marketing – Slack initially positioned itself as an ‘email killer’. Others say it’s the powerful network of people that Stewart Butterfield (the founder) was initially able to introduce the app to.
Anyway, Slack has become the trendsetter in the niche and the business communication tool everyone is talking about. What surprises me though is that many people still don’t understand the value behind Slack and use it just because it’s popular.
I’m going to make a detailed comparison of Slack and Skype, explain what makes these two apps different and cover their pros and cons for business.
Slack vs Skype. What are Slack major advantages?
1. Closed team space
You can communicate with everyone on Skype. The list of contacts isn’t limited to those working in your company. While you can chat with your colleague, you might as well talk to your Mom, physician, or a high school friend. At the same time it’s pretty strict in Slack – it’s you and your team. You can also give a guest access to members outside of your team. However you end up with less distractions and time-wasting chit-chat in Slack.
2. Single notification center
A large number of integrations is another key to Slack’s success. There are many Slack users out there who don’t realize the value of integrations. Here’s a simple explanation. We are bombarded with hundreds of notifications from the tens of apps we use daily. Unless you are a highly stress tolerant person, the level of anxiety will drive you crazy.
Luckily with communication apps designed for business you can integrate all the apps you are using for work and receive all your notifications in one place. Imagine MailChimp, Zendesk or Salesforce notifications directly at your communication app. This helps to stay on top of things with less amount of stress involved. What’s cool about Slack is they’ve integrated with pretty much all the major apps (more than 500) available online.
3. Powerful search
Search functionality in Slack is powerful enough to find what you need within the documents. I can’t say this was a feature of a high demand by our team while using Slack. However, it might come in handy when you don’t remember the title of the document, but can recall the context of the file you are looking for. At the same time you can only search for text in Skype and view (not search) the files folder which is a recently added feature.
Skype vs Slack. What are Skype major advantages?
1. The price
Well, Skype is free. Unlike the version for business that we are not addressing in this article, good old Skype charges for telephone numbers as well as outgoing landline/mobile calls. They also show you ads to make a living. But there’s no ‘per user’ payment or any limits when it comes to a searchable message history. At the same time 10K messages limit often comes as a pain for many using Slack’s free plan. Unfortunately, not every company is ready to pay $8 per user per month to get rid of it in Slack.
2. Higher quality free video calls
For years Slack video calls were a headache. You had to integrate with Google Hangouts or Skype to start a video conference. Now when Slack has introduced built-in video calls, it seems like they’ve closed an issue. However, we’ve still experienced some connection problems during a video call in Slack while we had no problems whatsoever in Skype. Moreover, in a free Slack plan you are only allowed to include two participants into a video call with no screen sharing option. Would you like multiple teammates along with a screen sharing option? Upgrade to the Slack paid plan or use Skype for free that let’s you talk to up to 25 people.
3. Sending text messages and calling landline/mobile number
One of the cool Skype advantages is the ability to send a text message or call directly your colleague at work. Although Skype does charge for this functionality, it’s still useful especially when you are in a different country for a business trip with an expensive roaming plan. At the time Slack doesn’t support this feature.
Now with the wide variety of communication apps available, it’s hard to make up your mind. Skype is a tool we’ve been used to for years. It’s served its customers well and it’s still great when it comes to a casual communication, but it’s time to move on to the team chat tools that are meant to increase productivity and connect with other apps you use at work. Although Slack is quite popular, there are multiple more affordable Slack alternatives that we’ve given our team feedback on.
If you are looking for a team communication app, you should definitely take a look at Chanty – AI-powered business messenger and a single notification center. We are building it with love and passion in mind. It is designed to save your time and increase your team productivity. Feel free to leave your email and receive an early access to Chanty team chat:)
Also published on Medium.