What to Consider When Choosing an Application – Communication

by Mateusz Kuczera

Published October 10, 2023

“Riopel Properties needs to change a light switch,” randomly texts Harry to Lira, the dispatcher.

Lira reads the text and immediately responds “when? And which address?”

“Tomorrow,” responds Harry.

“We can’t tomorrow. We’re completely booked.”

“I spoke with Vic,” texts Harry back. “He said we can take Malory off the reno job for a day if there are emergencies.”

Lira reads in silence, then decides to text Victor to confirm. She asks “Vic, can I have Malory tomorrow? Harry is telling me he spoke to you.”

After a few minutes of inactivity, Vic replies “I told him next week, not this week. Can you text him back?”

Already seeing how the miscommunication can become worse, Lira sighs and tells himself “There has to be a better way than this…”

In previous articles on communication, namely The Importance of Communication and Purposeful Meetings, we discussed which methods are best for which situations. However, without the right tools for the methods, communication can become difficult, full of gaps, frustrating, and ultimately lead to conflict. In this article, communication will be addressed from a software standpoint and will be discussed what needs to be considered to best choose an app for each type of communication.

Depending on the nature of the communication, several methods and apps can be used to address individual discussions. While previous generations tended to favor phone calls and face-to-face discussions, younger generations are shifting the focus to a more asynchronous means of communicating such as text messaging or chat. Both are good, so long as they are used appropriately. We will start with the method which provides the most information, to the one which provides the least. Face-to-face conversations, despite providing the most information, will be excluded simply due to the fact that an app is unnecessary.

Synchronous Visual Communication – Video Calls

The best method after face-to-face conversations is videoconferencing. It will lack some elements to give full communication information, but falls pretty close. Videoconferencing tools should of course provide visual feed, allow screensharing, provide a stable connection, allow for more people to be included, and allow recording. For organizations using videoconferences as marketing, the selected tool should provide enough flexibility to conduct webcasts. Videoconferencing may be used for both internal and external communication.

Synchronous Audio Communication – Voice Calls

Old habits die hard. Phone calls are still considered by most as the tool of choice for synchronous communication. They are even used today in situations where asynchronous communication should be used. And despite their popularity, they are not the best way. Of course, phone calls can provide information on tone of voice and response delay, but lack the ability to view non-verbal cues. Choosing an app for voice discussions should of course be as reliable as can be but should also allow conferencing capability. If video is not available, most videoconferencing criteria can be applied to a voice-only conferencing app. Podcasts are a popular approach to marketing and are oftentimes voice-only. If podcasts are a marketing strategy for your company, the selected app should provide such a functionality. Voice calls can also be used as internal and external communication.

Asynchronous Visual Communication – Video Messages

We are in a platform economy. This means that social media currently reigns as to where digital marketing should be done. Facebook brings the vast majority of its revenues from advertising, and companies know that advertising on social media works miracles. One of the best methods to promote your company and products is by producing short videos and diffusing them on said platforms. Videos may also be used asynchronously within your company to explain complex topics, diffuse previous webcasts or conferences, or simply talk to your people. Such a method would be best used within an app integrating several platforms together, as well as your internal communication platform. The selected app should also allow transcripts. Videos may also be used asynchronously for one-on-one discussions.

Asynchronous Audio Communication – Voice Messages

Similar to asynchronous video, audio messages provide a lot of the same benefits but of course cut the video feed. Some benefits include the size of the message (which can sometimes be pretty massive with embedded video) and the fact it can be recorded without looking at the camera (such as when driving).

Asynchronous voice also includes voicemail, which is still widely used. Voicemail should of course be one of the first things that your company sets up but should also allow easy integration with other tools, such as a ticket or help desk app. Voicemail transcripts are also important as they can eventually be used with AI for further automation. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is strongly recommended as it is easy to integrate with multiple software apps and tools.

Asynchronous Written Communication – Chat and Emails

Ah, good old email. Although invented more than 50 years ago, it is still widely used and doesn’t seem to be ready to die. More recent than email, Chat and Short Messaging Service (SMS) have similar functions.

Email is a tool which is recommended for both internal and external communication. Email should be used for formal communications, requests, and even as a task list. It should be avoided for informal communication. Your inbox should also be maintained either by having as little unread elements as possible, or, as Nick Sonnenberg describes in his book Come Up for Air, should be kept completely empty. Whatever strategy works for you, the most important is that email is kept clean. Regarding which tool to select, it must allow easy maintenance, permit some level of automation and integrate with other company-used tools.

Despite what seems to be common understanding, chat and emails are both asynchronous communication methods. However, it seems to widely recognized that an email answer can wait while a chat answer should be given faster, if not immediately. If something is pressing enough to require an immediate answer, we recommend using a synchronous method such as a phone call. Chat should also be used for internal informal communication, such as chitchat, announcements, brainstorming, and occasional quick questions. The first attempt at answering task related questions should however be through knowledge management tools and not chat. Chat tools should allow creation of channels (for multi-user discussions), enable linking to other systems, and be easy to integration with other tools used by your company.

On News and Announcements

News and announcement can be communicated in various different ways. Short announcements can be done via chat and specific channels, while longer announcements should have a dedicated page and article to more extensively describe what is announced. News should also have dedicated pages which can then be linked in the announcement channels of chat. We recommend using an internal website, commonly called an intranet, for extensive announcements, news, and articles. When selecting an intranet tool, it is important that it is easy to set-up, maintain, and user friendly. After all, your intranet page is where your employees will go for information, it must therefore be easy to use.

On Meetings

Meeting tools should allow to schedule meetings, track attendance, send minutes, and easily provide visibility on attendees’ agendas. Read more on meeting best practices in our article Purposeful Meetings.

On VR and AR

At the time of this writing, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have not yet reached sufficient maturity to be widely adopted for communication. Meta’s attempt at developing the first metaverse was mostly a failure, and AR tools have yet to find application purely for communication. Despite its limited success to date, we believe that VR, and likely AR, will eventually find its way as a mainstream communication method and will most likely trump synchronous video as the preferred communication method for remote teams.


In this somewhat lengthy article, software applications for communication were discussed. Going from the one providing the most information, synchronous video, to the one providing least, email, consideration for choosing an app were discussed. And as you can see, it is not necessarily an easy choice. Luckily though, most of the applications currently available on the market offer most of the capabilities described above. The choice therefore usually rests on how easy is the integration of the app with the rest of the software tools which are or will be used by the company. Contact Mondro to learn more about communication apps!

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