Customer Service

How can you use collaboration tools to improve team communication?

Titilola Shittu
April 15, 2024

While free lunches and an in-office game room add enjoyment, they alone don't foster genuine teamwork. Effective communication reigns supreme, especially when enhanced by digital tools.


We get it. Collaboration tools can feel impersonal, overwhelming, or just plain… awkward. But what if we told you they could be the key to a communication revolution within your team?  

Read on to discover how the right set of digital tools can upgrade your team from a collection of individuals into a bunch of results.

What is a collaboration tool?

Online collaboration tools are software or applications designed to help individuals and teams work together more effectively toward a shared goal. They can be broadly categorized into two main types:

  • Physical collaboration tools: People use non-digital tools to brainstorm and work together in person. Examples include whiteboards, flip charts, sticky notes, and even simple pen and paper.
  • Digital collaboration tools:  These web-based applications provide a central platform for teams to communicate, share files, manage projects, and collaborate on documents. Popular examples include project management tools (Asana, Trello), communication tools (Simpu, Slack, Microsoft Teams), cloud storage platforms (Dropbox, Google Drive), and video conferencing tools (Zoom, Google Meet).

Collaboration tools are essential in today's workplace, especially in a remote work setting because it helps teams to work together. They help bridge the physical gap and keep everyone on the same page, ensuring a smooth workflow and successful project completion.

Why team collaboration tools are important to modern business?

Collaboration software is a subcategory of productivity software, but it's more tightly focused on enabling or facilitating teamwork, including remote collaboration. Team collaboration tools have become essential for modern businesses for several reasons:

1. Increased productivity and efficiency: These tools streamline communication and information sharing, eliminating the need for endless email chains or physical meetings for every update. Team members can access real-time documents, share files easily, and collaborate on projects simultaneously, leading to faster completion times and reduced wasted effort.

2. Enhanced teamwork and collaboration:  Utilising a central platform for communication and project management, online collaboration tools break down silos between departments and individuals. Team members can easily see each other's progress, provide feedback, and contribute their expertise, leading to a more cohesive and effective work environment.

3. Supporting remote and hybrid teams: The modern workplace is no longer confined to a physical office. Team collaboration tools allow businesses to seamlessly integrate remote workers and geographically distributed teams.  Everyone can stay connected, contribute to projects, and participate in discussions regardless of location.

4. Improved project management:  Many team collaboration tools offer built-in project management features like task allocation, deadline setting, and progress tracking. This gives businesses a clear overview of project timelines, identifies potential bottlenecks, and ensures everyone is aligned, leading to smoother project execution and better results.

5. Boosted creativity: Online collaboration tools can spark innovation by facilitating brainstorming sessions, knowledge sharing, and easy exchange of ideas across small teams.  Real-time communication allows for quick iteration and development of ideas, leading to more creative solutions and problem-solving approaches.

6. Increased employee satisfaction: Collaboration tools empower employees by giving them a platform to share their voices, contribute their ideas, and feel valued as a team. This can lead to higher employee satisfaction, improved morale, and a more positive work environment.

Businesses that leverage online collaboration tools effectively are better positioned to achieve success.  However, team collaboration software isn't a clear-cut category because it overlaps with several other tools, such as project management software, collaborative whiteboard apps, to-do list apps, and more.

Popular collaboration tools to add to your tech stack.

The best team collaboration tools for your team will depend on your specific needs and budget. Here are some of the top online collaboration tools you can consider adding to your tech stack;


Simpu is a communication and collaboration platform that integrates various channels like email, social media, SMS, and live chat. It helps to streamline communication within teams and with clients by eliminating the need to switch between different mobile apps. Thanks to this feature, customer support teams can organize their work more efficiently, and make sure all customer inquiries are addressed quickly.

Simpu shared inbox

The platform incorporates CRM functionalities, which can help manage customer support requests, track leads, and improve customer satisfaction. A shared inbox allows teams to collaborate on handling customer inquiries and support issues, ensuring no message goes unattended.

Simpu is one of the best online collaboration tools with strong solutions for communication and customer relationship management. If your primary focus is on streamlining communication and managing client interactions, Simpu is a perfect fit. You can explore the free plan or request a demo to get a better understanding of its functionalities. The platform has seamless integration with other business apps like Google Drive and Dropbox to enhance workflow efficiency.


Slack is a collaboration tool with a user-friendly and intuitive interface that excels at facilitating real-time communication through channels and direct messages. Teams can stay updated on projects, share ideas quickly, and troubleshoot issues efficiently. It helps keep conversations focused and prevents information overload. Slack's free plan allows up to 10 published workflows or app integrations, paid plan comes with advanced features.

It integrates with a vast library of third-party apps and tools. This allows teams to connect their favorite productivity tools and keep everything centralized. As a workflow management software, it is powerful for real-time communication and team collaboration, especially for smaller to medium-sized teams. However, its project management capabilities are limited, and costs can add up for larger teams with extensive needs.

Microsoft teams.

Microsoft Teams integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft collaboration tools like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneDrive. This allows for effortless collaboration on documents without switching between apps, from instant messaging to video conferencing. Team members can co-author documents in real-time, see edits and updates instantly, and eliminate version history issues.

Similar to Slack, Teams offers channels for organized communication around specific projects or topics. This helps focused discussions and information sharing within creative teams. Teams incorporate built-in video conferencing and calling functionalities, eliminating the need for separate video conferencing tools. 

If you don't already use Google's suite of apps, there are lots of other solid options. OneDrive, for example, is great if you're an existing Microsoft Office 365 user. Microsoft Teams is a collaboration tool that excels in integrating communication, document collaboration, file sharing, and video meetings, particularly within the Microsoft ecosystem.  

Google workspace.

Google Workspace, formerly G Suite, is a popular suite of cloud-based productivity and the best collaboration tools offered by Google. The workspace offers applications like Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides which allow for real-time collaboration on documents. Team members can edit and see changes simultaneously, with automatic sync and version history tracking.

The various tools within Workspace integrate seamlessly with each other. For instance, you can easily insert a data chart from Sheets into a Docs document This streamlined workflow improves efficiency and reduces the need for multiple collaboration tools, multiple users can track and update changes in real-time.

Google Workspace is a user-friendly collaboration tool suite, particularly for teams comfortable with the Google ecosystem and seeking real-time file-sharing and document collaborative features. 


Trello is a collaboration tool, particularly known for its user-friendly interface and inbuilt approach to project management. Trello uses a Kanban board system with lists and cards. This visual approach makes it easy to see the workflow stages of tasks, track project progress at a glance, and identify bottlenecks.

The platform boasts a user-friendly interface with a minimal learning curve. This makes it accessible for teams with varying technical abilities. Trello offers flexibility in how you organize your boards and cards. You can add labels, checklists, attachments, and comments to cards, allowing for detailed task project management and information sharing.

A team member can be assigned to cards, collaborate on tasks within the card interface, and track progress updates. This fosters teamwork and keeps everyone aligned. Its ease of use, flexibility, and free plan make it a popular choice for small teams and startups. 


Asana is a project management and team collaboration tool known for its versatility and user-friendly approach. Asana offers various project views, including lists, boards, and timelines, allowing teams to choose the view that best suits their workflow. The Asana free plan is great for individuals or small teams of less than 15 people who need a basic project management tool.

It is one of the project management tools with robust capabilities. Project managers can create and assign tasks to a team member, set deadlines, and track progress. Dependencies for task management can also be established, ensuring a clear workflow sequence. Asana integrates communication features within tasks. Team members can comment on tasks, share files in a centralized location, and discuss project details directly within the platform, enabling team collaboration and reducing email clutter.


ClickMeeting falls primarily into the video conferencing and webinar software category,  rather than a general team collaboration tool like Slack or Asana.  While it offers some collaboration features, it's optimized to cater to various group activities, like stand-up meetings, brainstorming, and project management sessions.

The platform excels at hosting video conferences, webinars, and online events. It offers features like screen sharing, breakout rooms, recording capabilities, and whiteboarding tools, making it suitable for screen-sharing presentations, training sessions, and online meetings.

ClickMeeting is a strong option for businesses or organizations that frequently conduct webinars, online presentations, or large-scale video meetings.

What does effective collaboration look like?

Effective collaboration involves teams working together successfully to achieve a shared goal. Everyone on the team should understand the project goals, individual roles, and team expectations from the outset. Here are some key characteristics that contribute to a collaborative work environment;

Define and communicate your team's goals.

If you have a team setting, get everyone together for a dedicated goal-setting workshop. Start with a brainstorming session to gather ideas and identify areas where the team can make the most significant contributions.

Align team goals with the company's overall objectives to ensure everyone's efforts contribute to the bigger picture. Once you have a good list of potential goals, prioritize them based on importance, feasibility, and impact. Refine the goals to ensure they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound).

Foster collaboration as a value.

Team leaders play a crucial role in setting cultural norms. Leaders who actively collaborate, solicit input, and value teamwork demonstrate the importance of collaboration. Recognize and reward team achievements and successful collaborations. This reinforces the value of collaborative efforts and motivates teams to work together. Communicate the benefits of collaboration, such as increased efficiency, innovation, improved problem-solving, and higher employee morale.

Ensure open communication channels exist where team members feel comfortable sharing ideas, concerns, and updates without fear of judgment. Equip your team with the online collaboration tools they need to manage projects effectively. This could include project management software, communication platforms, cloud storage solutions, and conferencing tools.

Don't just celebrate individual accomplishments; recognize team achievements and the successful collaborations that made them possible. Share success stories of how collaboration has led to positive outcomes. This can inspire others to collaborate more effectively.

Encourage team members to brainstorm.

Clearly define the problem you're trying to solve or the question you're trying to answer. This provides direction for the brainstorming session and helps participants generate relevant ideas. If possible, choose a comfortable and inspiring location for the brainstorming session. Ensure everyone has the materials they need, such as whiteboards, markers, sticky notes, or brainstorming software.

Establish ground rules at the beginning of the brainstorming session.  These rules should emphasize openness,  respect for all ideas,  and avoiding criticism during the brainstorming phase. Use techniques to encourage participation from all team members,  especially introverts who might hesitate to speak up in a larger group.  

In the initial brainstorming phase,  focus on generating a large number of ideas.  Don't censor or judge ideas at this stage.  The more ideas you have, the greater the chance of finding creative solutions. Once you have a list of ideas, discuss and analyze them as a team. 

Consider the feasibility, potential impact, and alignment with the overall goal. Categorize the ideas based on themes or criteria and then prioritize the most promising ones for further exploration. Develop an action plan to move forward with the chosen ideas. Assign tasks and set deadlines for further development.

These tips can help you create a stimulating environment where the team feels comfortable sharing your ideas and collaborating creatively to generate innovative solutions.

Encourage open communication.

Fostering open communication within your team requires creating a safe space where everyone feels comfortable sharing ideas, concerns, and updates. Leaders play a crucial role in modeling open communication. Actively listen to team members, solicit their input, and be open to feedback.

Don't shy away from difficult conversations. Address concerns promptly and transparently to demonstrate your commitment to open communication. When someone raises a concern, focus on understanding the issue rather than placing blame. Actively listen and ask clarifying questions.

Ensure there are multiple open communication channels available to team members. This could include team meetings, one-on-one meetings, anonymous feedback surveys, or online communication platforms like Slack. Make an effort to respond promptly to questions, concerns, and feedback from your team members. This demonstrates that you value their communication.

By implementing these strategies, you can cultivate a culture of open communication where team members feel empowered to share their ideas and concerns freely.  This will lead to a more collaborative,  productive,  and successful work environment.

Promote cross-departmental training and knowledge sharing.

Cross-departmental knowledge sharing can break down silos and lead to a more holistic understanding of the organization's processes. This can improve efficiency by streamlining workflows and fostering collaboration on project management functions. Cross-departmental training provides opportunities for employees to learn new skills and broaden their understanding of the organization. 

Form project-based teams that include members from different departments. Working on a common goal helps enable teams to collaborate and exchange knowledge. Develop cross-training programs that allow employees to learn the basic skills and functionalities of other departments. This can be particularly useful for roles that interact frequently.

How to choose the right collaboration tools for your team.

1. Identify your team's needs.

Tools that match the team's workflow and processes help team members work more efficiently and effectively. This reduces unnecessary complexity and streamlines communication and collaboration. Understanding your team's existing infrastructure and systems can help you choose tools that integrate seamless collaboration. This prevents disruptions and ensures continuity in your team's work.

By choosing tools that meet your team's specific needs, you avoid spending money on features or capabilities that the team may not use. This helps optimize your budget and resources. When online collaboration tools align with the team's needs and are user-friendly, team members are more likely to adopt them. This leads to better communication, coordination, and teamwork.

Tools that cater to the team's communication preferences—such as team chat, video conferencing, or document sharing—help facilitate clear and effective communication among the team. Understanding the team's needs, including any industry-specific regulations or data security concerns, helps you choose tools that protect sensitive information and comply with legal and regulatory standards.

2. Prioritize key features.

Prioritizing key features ensures that the tools you choose address the most important aspects of your team's work, such as communication, project management, and document sharing. Focusing on essential features helps streamline your team's workflow and improves overall productivity. When the tools offer the features your team values most, they are more likely to be accepted and used effectively. This can lead to better collaboration and smoother teamwork. 

By concentrating on key features, you can narrow down your options and make a more informed decision. This saves time and effort during the selection process. Tools with the right set of features can accommodate your team's current and future needs, providing flexibility and the ability to scale as your team grows.

A focus on key features can help you select tools that prioritize security and comply with regulatory and industry standards, safeguarding your team's data and sensitive information.

3. Research and compare tools.

Researching and comparing different tools provides you with a comprehensive understanding of the available options. This allows you to make an informed decision based on the features, capabilities, and potential benefits of each tool.

By comparing tools, you can find the one that best matches your team's needs and work processes. Leverage free trials to test drive features and read user reviews to understand real-world experiences. This ensures that the tool aligns with your goals and requirements. A thorough comparison helps you identify the strengths and weaknesses of each tool. This can guide you in selecting a tool that maximizes benefits while minimizing drawbacks.

Different tools offer varying levels of security and compliance features. Comparing tools helps you choose one that meets your team's security and regulatory requirements. By thoroughly researching and comparing tools, you can minimize the risk of choosing an unsuitable option. This can prevent issues such as low user adoption or integration problems.

4. Consider user adoption and budget.

A user-friendly tool that meets your team's needs is more likely to be adopted and used regularly. High adoption rates lead to better collaboration and productivity. Tools that are intuitive and easy to use can help reduce resistance to change, making it easier for the team to embrace new technology and processes.

Staying within your budget ensures that you choose tools that provide the best value for the cost. This helps you avoid overspending and wasting resources on features your team may not need.

Budget constraints encourage you to prioritize essential features and avoid unnecessary extras, allowing you to allocate resources strategically to other areas of your team or projects.

Making a decision that aligns with your budget prevents financial strain on your team or organization and allows you to allocate funds effectively across different priorities.

Work environments are now dynamic and effective communication is crucial for team success. Online collaboration tools have emerged to help with this change. From using real-time chat and videos to project management platforms and knowledge-sharing solutions, you can empower your team’s communication.

These tools are not magical, but rather tools to assist.  The goal is to choose tools that align with your team's specific needs and workflows.  By taking the time to identify your pain points and strategically integrating these solutions, you can ensure team success.

Titilola Shittu

Content Writer
Titilola enjoys writing content that resonates with a target audience. With an interest in product marketing, she understands the importance of using data to provide actionable insights that help with informed decisions. You can find her listening to music or reading African literature when she's not doing anything marketing-related.

Transform Your Customer Support Experience.

Start a free trial.