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We’ve Tried 7 Slack Alternatives during 7 Weeks (Our Team’s Feedback)

May 31, 2017
23 min read

Looks like Slack doesn’t meet your needs.

Are you looking for faster, less cumbersome and more affordable communication tool?

We’ve been there.

Let us share our in-depth feedback after using top alternatives to Slack:

N.B. Until recently we featured Stride and HipChat in this list. But as we know, Slack acquired both tools with plans to migrate their users to its team chat. Since both services have been discontinued after February 15th, 2019, we don’t consider them as Slack alternatives anymore.

Anyway, our team used Slack, but it wasn’t a 100% perfect solution for us. We’ve realized there’s a market out there for a less complicated and more affordable business communication tool that would be a great fit for small teams. In a few words, that’s why we started Chanty.

Chanty is a simple AI-powered team chat that we are building, so when I say we spent several weeks analyzing each and every Slack competitor, I really mean several weeks of in-depth research. Moreover, we’ve actually tried to use the tools with our team for about a week.

Our list includes the top apps that (in our opinion) are the best alternatives when it comes to communication and productivity tools. In other words, these are the apps we consider best Slack alternatives and, with time, to our Chanty team chat.

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100+ apps are Slack competitors. Or are they?

A few posts in Google top-10 for “slack alternatives” name various CRM apps that are hardly Slack competitors. This mispositioning may confuse people looking to replace Slack.

Why are they doing it? Probably, for the sake of numbers. If you are after numbers as well, you can visit alternativeto.net and take a look at more than 100 (!) different Slack competitors out there. If you are looking for quality rather than quantity, keep reading.

Why people choose Slack?

Slack is a tool that mainly solves three issues –  team communication (instant chat), collaboration (file sharing and integrations) and staying up-to-date (notifications). It lets you transfer all the important communications from email inbox and other software to one place.  

Here’s a video telling us more about Slack.

For a more careful exploration of Slack, read our Slack review article. Here we’ll briefly consider the “pros” of using Slack compared to other team communication alternatives.

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Ok, enough about Slack, it’s now time to take a look at the top Slack alternatives. Some of them are similar to Slack, others are wildly different. Hopefully, you’ll the one that fits your needs best.

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1. Chanty

It wouldn’t be our blog if we didn’t put Chanty team chat as a #1 on the list. We work hard on our product and believe it’s going to be a strong AI-powered Slack alternative. This is a product made with love and passion for technology, communication and collaboration. Having currently our product in beta, we admit Chanty isn’t yet perfect. However, this 2018 newcomer is definitely worth your attention.

Chanty vs Slack. How is it different?

Our goal is to create an intuitive and seamless experience for our users. This is why our onboarding flow and user interface are simple and clean. While Slack is getting more complicated with hundreds of little-used capabilities that get in the way of the handful that are really important, Chanty keeps the balance between features and usability. We have opted to stay simple yet to have just enough powerful features a team needs for effective work.

Chanty is a faster and more affordable solution offering twice as much storage space compared to Slack. All your files, links, tasks, and conversations are neatly organized in a Teambook. A built-in task manager allows you to turn any message into a task and get notified when it’s done. What’s also attractive about Chanty is its unlimited searchable message history even in a freemium plan while the limit in Slack is just 10K.

Chanty has a lot of features scheduled to roll out in 2019, such as third-party integrations you’ll be able to connect Chanty with a ton of apps through Zapier. Calls and voice messages are just around the corner, as well as workflows and threads. Supporting the AI trend, Chanty will be saving even more time and continue increasing team productivity by focusing your attention on what’s important.

Feel free to join our community of early adopters. We are looking forward to your feedback😊

Improve your team communication with Chanty

Give our simple AI-powered team chat a try

2. Flock

Flock is a messaging app founded in 2014 in India (Slack was founded in 2013). This communication tool features group chat, video and audio calls, screen sharing and more. The polls and to-do lists are already in the app so you don’t need to set up an integration for it. Flock supports multiple language interfaces – in Spanish and Portuguese, apart from English.

Flock vs Slack. How is it different?

We asked the guys from Flock how are they better than Slack. Here are some points they’ve outlined:

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Our experience using Flock

I think we should give some credit to Flock by admitting that our team tested out this messenger for the longest period of time compared to other Slack alternatives. Interface as well as design look and feel pretty good – I personally felt a strong appeal for the parakeet green color used in Flock. Although, the 5-column desktop interface was a bit too much for our team as I mentioned earlier. Nevertheless, it turned out to be a pretty easy-to-use solution.

The one big issue we’ve experienced with Flock was a message history loss for over than 8 hours. It happened on the third day of our test period – our entire message history both in channels and private rooms was unavailable during a whole working day which really dazed us out.

Our team rated Flock and other messengers we used according to these five parameters:

  1. Is it easy-to-start for you, on a scale of 1–5? (5 – very easy, 1 – isn’t easy at all)
  2. Is it easy-to-use for you? (5 – very easy, 1 – isn’t easy at all)
  3. On a scale of 1–5, rate how its features meet your business needs at work. (5 – meet perfectly, 1 – don’t meet)
  4. How many technical issues have you experienced (eg. chat not working, problems with file sharing, privacy settings, UI bugs, etc.) while using it? (5 – no issues, 1 – lots of issues)
  5. How likely are you to recommend it to your friends? (5 -very likely, 1- very unlikely)

50 is the maximum number of points that a chat could receive for each of the questions. Here’s how our small team of 10 people rated Flock.

Flock summary

You should use Flock if:

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3. Fleep

What’s interesting about this app is that you can send a message to any person in Fleep. All you have to know is the person’s email. Therefore, this app is supposed to fill in the gap between email and a team messenger. Instead of creating a closed team ecosystem (or a walled garden if you like), you can communicate openly with everyone who is and isn’t using Fleep.

Fleep vs Slack. How is it different?

We have personally discussed the difference between Fleep and Slack with the Fleep staff. This is how they explained their positioning:

  1. Fleep is an open network so you can chat with anyone else who is on Fleep. If you need to be a member of several projects or teams, you only need one account, whereas in Slack belonging to several teams would mean several accounts.
  2. Fleep is free to use if you don’t require admin controls over your company’s accounts & conversations. The “Fleep for Business” package is €5 per user.
  3. Fleep also features an unlimited message history as well as unlimited integrations in its free package.

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Our experience using Fleep

A user-centered concept that Fleep supports with its app makes it more complicated to use for teams. I thought of it as a Skype, but with an option to send and receive emails. Which is innovative and not bad at all, but Skype isn’t that great for team communication, is it?

One of the things I like in Slack is having this “My name” personal channel where I can keep track of my monologue with myself. Before I came across this feature, every time I needed to send something from my phone to my laptop, I’d send it to my friend on Viber with a note “Sorry, that’s for me”. My personal channel made things easy. Fleep has that same option, only you can create unlimited monologues with yourself. As a result, you can easily lose track of them.

Here are the points Fleep has received from our team.

Fleep summary

You should use Fleep if:

4. Microsoft Teams

Even though the main target audience of Microsoft Teams is the enterprise sector, the app was obviously inspired by Slack considering the way it looks and feels. We decided to give it a try.

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Microsoft Teams vs Slack. How is it different?

Powerful features of Microsoft Teams include full integration across Office 365 apps making it a particularly useful app for those already using various Office 365 products. Unlike Slack, MT doesn’t target the small and medium business sector. You can buy Microsoft Office 365 package that includes MT for $5 per user per month.

Besides giving you the access to MT, the $5 fee will also open up other Microsoft apps for you. If you want the full Office 365 package (that includes MT as well), you’d have to pay $12.5 per user per month. 

For those who are interested, we wrote an in-depth comparison of Microsoft Teams vs Slack.

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Our experience using Microsoft Teams

To begin with, we have spent an entire day at work setting up Microsoft Teams as a part of Office 365 Business Premium package. The most tolerant and patient guy in our team – our highly skilled backend developer with over 15 years of experience, fell short of patience when installing Microsoft Teams.

I’ve submitted the form twice as the site wouldn’t work. Then I waited for 10 minutes to receive an email and get into the system. Next 30 minutes I’ve been waiting for all the Microsoft Office 365 apps to launch. Microsoft Teams app was the last to load. Then I had to dig into settings trying to figure out how to invite users and break them into groups.

What I find particularly piquant about the app is that every user of the team has to set up a unique email user@teamname.onmicrosoft.com and every time you log in you must use this email. In case you forget or lose the password (which happened to me twice – I’m blonde, you know) you enter the world of pain for another half an hour.

Make sure you have a skilled admin as it’s unlikely you’ll be able to install Microsoft Teams by yourself. If you are a fan of drag and drop, you’ll be surprised to find MT doesn’t support this feature.

I believe Microsoft Teams is a great product, the problem is – the user experience leaves you with low chances to fully enjoy it.

According to the survey our team had completed, though Microsoft Teams is not easy to start and use, it might still meet your business needs.

I feel like I have to say something nice to wind up the MT review. Here it is – I really like their video: 

Microsoft Teams summary

You should use Microsoft Teams if:

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5. Ryver

It was 2015 when Pat Sullivan has founded Ryver. Slack was already flourishing by that time. The marketing strategy, Ryver has chosen to get the maximum buzz around the young brand, was to attack Slack with Twitter ads. You’ve probably seen their ad where ‘free’ Ryver is confronting ‘so-last-year’ Slack.

Ryver makes a power move combining team communication and task management features in one app. It’s like putting Slack and Trello into a single tool. This idea sounded exciting, so we were eager to explore Ryver.

Ryver vs Slack. How is it different?

Ryver stresses that having both communication and task manager tools in a single app is highly beneficial. Apart from native task manager, they also have built-in integrations with Google Drive, DropBox and Box, so you can choose files to share directly from your file storage. Ryver claims to integrate with 500+ apps via Zapier.

We were able to successfully connect several apps to Ryver. Here’s the thing though – Zapier lets you receive up to 100 tasks in its free plan. If your team relies on integrations heavily, you’ll have to pay for Zapier plan which is quite pricey (e.g. $250 for 50K tasks). It means your ‘free’ Ryver plan may end up with a paid Zapier plan.

To compare with Slack, I must say, that their integrations take just a few clicks while connecting apps via Zapier is more complicated. Moreover, Zapier requires to run a test of the integration which, in our case, resulted in some errors for a few times.

We wrote a ridiculously comprehensive comparison of Ryver vs Slack that you can check out in case you are looking for the in-depth feedback. In a nutshell, Slack search options, notification management as well as integration options are far more advanced and intuitive.

Price could become a deal breaker when choosing between Slack and Ryver. The freemium plan in Slack is very limited, motivating you to switch to Standard (from $6.67 per user, per month) or Plus (from $12.50 per user, per month) plans. Ryver has been experimenting with its pricing a lot. As of December 2018, it doesn’t have a Freemium version anymore, even for small teams. The tool is $49 per month for teams up to 12 users and $99 for unlimited users. The price tag for the Enterprise package starts at $399.

Ryver’s audio and video calls are built-in. We tested them and were satisfied with the quality. But we didn’t notice any advanced call features. E.g. you can’t react with emojis to what your colleague said (like in Slack) or record a call (compared to Microsoft Teams). However, the call quality was rather good.

Chanty team is testing video calls in Ryver

In Slack, if you remember, there’s a limit for 15 people in audio/video calls. If that’s not enough, connect Slack to any conference tool and enjoy the call with your big team.

Our experience using Ryver

When I first opened Ryver, I felt a bit confused, as it didn’t seem intuitive to me. What is the difference between Forums and Teams? What does ‘All Hands’ mean? Why cannot ‘Task Stream’ and ‘Personal Tasks’ be wrapped up under a single ‘Tasks’ menu item? It seems like Ryver can do better with it comes to UI and UX of the tool.

Ryver’s user interface

Just like in Slack, with their private/public channels and direct messages, conversations in Ryver are organized in Open forums, Private teams and Direct messages. There are also Topics which are equivalent to Threads in Slack.

Of course, we’ve given a try to the task manager in Ryver and… went confused. Initially, I wasn’t able to assign a task to my colleague out of the message in a conversation with her. The search results did not return any Forum or Team, that’s why ‘Assign to field’ was disabled and no team member could be assigned to the task.

I created ‘SMM’ Team in Ryver

I couldn’t find it when setting up a task

I turned to the Ryver support team, and it turned out that Tasks must be ‘initialized’ before you can use them. This should be done by clicking on the “Tasks” tab within the Team or Forum.

“Tasks” tab within a Team

This didn’t seem intuitive to me. It’s very hard to guess you need to do ‘Tasks Setup’ for each Team or Forum before assigning a task.

Anyway, here’s how our team rated Ryver:

Ryver summary

Choose Ryver if:

Kanban is a good fit for your projects
You are ready to face some possible challenges with UX and UI
You need integrations and already have a premium Zapier plan

6. Glip

Glip is a conversation platform by RingCentral. It was released to the market in 2013 (as well as Slack). Here’s how it’s supposed to be different from other team communication apps on the market according to Peter Pezaris, founder and CEO: “With Glip, we are introducing a new wave in team collaboration – one that keeps conversations at the center of teamwork.” Glip seeks to improve the way people collaborate by combining instant messaging, video calls, task manager and team calendar in one application.

Glip vs Slack. How is it different?

Glip offers more built-in options while in Slack with its numerous integrations and customizations, you basically design the tool that works best for your team’s workflows. Glip lets you create and assign to-do lists in ‘Tasks’, schedule meetings and set deadlines in Glip’s shared calendar, keep track of your notes and thoughts in the Notes app.

Glip video conferences take place in RingCentral Meetings. Unlike Slack, where video conferencing feature is built-in, you need to download this software to make video calls. Moreover, you can integrate Slack with several video conferencing services (e.g. Google Hangouts, appear.in, etc.) while Glip doesn’t integrate with other video conferencing apps.

When you are a freemium user in Slack you face strict limits of message history as well as a number of integrations. For a change, Glip doesn’t limit you much in its free plan. On top of that, Glip paid plan will cost you less ($5 per user, per month).

Our experience using Glip

Once we’ve created and entered the team space in Glip for the first time, we were up for a surprise. We found ourselves being members of different teams. Moreover, we didn’t see everyone who joined among the list of team members. It took us some time to solve the puzzle and realize that Glip creates separate team spaces for emails within different domains. It happens without any explanation for the user, so you have to discover this on your own.

The takeaway from our experience: the best way to create a team in Glip is to make sure all the emails you’ve invited are within one domain.

Glip interface

Just like Slack, Glip lets you communicate in public, private or one-to-one conversations. You can also have ‘conversation with yourself’ which I find extremely useful for work. However, messaging options are less powerful in Glip compared to Slack. E.g. although you are free to like, pin or quote any message, you won’t be able to forward messages to another conversation.

With RingCentral Meetings, you’ll be able to have high-quality video conferences along with screen sharing during a call. You can enjoy 500 minutes of shared video chat with up to 100 people in its free plan, while Slack offers one-to-one free calls only.

You can manage your tasks in to-do lists in Glip. In case you need more powerful features then Pivotal Tracker, Asana, Jira or Trello integrations are at your disposal.

It turned out, it is not that easy to connect your Glip account to a third-party app. For instance, when we’ve tried to integrate it with Confluence, we’ve faced the eight-steps process along with several lines of code we had to insert somewhere. As you see, setting up an integration can become a strain for non-tech savvy teams.

Steps to set up the Confluence integration in Glip

Overall, we’ve tried Glip for about a week. One day we’ve opened the app and the entire team message history was gone. I don’t know what was the reason for it. Unfortunately, it never came back. We’ve tried contacting the support center, but it didn’t help either.

Overall, here’s how our team rated Glip:

Glip summary

You are more likely to get the most of Glip in case:

Bonus:

We’ve written an in-depth article on Glip vs Slack so feel free to check it out for more comparison details.

7. Hangouts Chat

Hangouts Chat is Google’s messaging platform for teams released in February 2018. The tool is available as a core G Suite product, having deep integrations with G Suite services. This allows to view content from Drive and Docs directly in conversations.   

Hangouts Chat interface

Like Slack, Hangouts Chat provides dedicated spaces for group conversations: Rooms are basically the analog of Channels. You can also send private one-to-one or group messages within the tool. As for the third-party integrations, more than 50+ are available in Hangouts Chat. Asana, Box, and Zendesk are among them, but no connection to Zapier so far.

Hangouts Chat currently supports the interface in 28 languages, which is quite rare for a team chat. Each room can accommodate up to 8,000 members.  

Hangouts Chat vs Slack. How is it different?

First, Hangouts Chat doesn’t have a Freemium version (at least so far). As we know, Slack has one, but with appreciable restrictions like limited integrations and message history.     

Second, the communication is Hangouts Chat is organized in threads, while Slack’s Public Channels are basically chat rooms and Threads are just a feature.

Third, Rooms in Hangouts Chat – are private by default. No one in your G Suite can view or join them unless invited. At the same time, when creating a Channel in Slack you can choose whether to make it public or private.

Our experience using Hangouts Chat

When exploring Hangouts Chat, we found out some features are unique for the tool. E.g. Google brought into the team chat its Smart Reply feature. If you’ve used it in your Gmail inbox, you know what to expect. You’ll be offered Smart Reply suggestions to reply with.

However, notification settings in the tool are not so diverse. It has no Room-specific notifications or a possibility to adjust time settings for Do Not Disturb mode. At the same time, you can tune your notifications for Web, Desktop, Mobile and Email.

Notification settings in Hangouts Chat

Hangouts Chat summary

Hangouts Chat seems to fall back in functionality comparing to Slack. Although the tool is fairly easy to use.

Using Google’s messaging platform seems like a reasonable choice if you have a G Suite subscription. But bear in mind that Hangouts Chat has no Freemium version. No money – no honey.

If you choose Hangouts Chat, make sure, you are comfortable with communicating in Threads and check if it has your favorite integrations with third-party apps you need.

Will it be able to outpace Slack eventually? Well, I guess, it’s too early to say.

The results of our voting

My teammates and I have been using different team communication tools for several weeks.

In the end, we’ve completed the survey that consisted of 20 questions.  

We’ve summarized the results in these charts. The possible maximum # of points that one app could get was 250. As you can see Flock is slightly ahead of the game. Glip follows closely while Fleep and Hangouts Chat are pretty much at the same level when it comes to our team feedback.

Our goal with Chanty is to create a team communication tool that would score higher than our competitors. We are aiming for an easy-to-use, easy-to-start solution that meets your business needs at work. It’s going to become the tool that you can rely on and would be proud to recommend to your friends.


Also published on Medium.

Author:

Olga Mykhoparkina

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