10 Best Email Alternatives for Improved Business Communications

Best Email Alternatives for Improved Business Communications

Email has become such an inclusive part of our personal and professional lives that it is now difficult for most of us to recall life without it.

There are millions of people who receive, send, and respond to billions of emails every day. But despite it being the “king” of business communications, there is a significant rise in the demand for the best email alternatives.  

We are sorry to be the messenger here but email is not built for team collaboration or customer service. Email works fine in one-to-one conversations, but it turns to ashes when you’re gathering feedback from a group. 

Thanks to technology, email is no longer the default choice for business communication. Many alternatives in the form of shared inbox software, team collaboration tools, video conferencing apps, etc., have taken center stage. 

If you wish to rise above slow and sluggish email management, this blog is for you. We will discuss some common drawbacks of this tool and explore 10 alternatives to email for improved team collaboration and customer communication. 

Let’s go! 

Email Alternatives Feature & Price Table

Software Key Features Price
ProProfs Help Desk Automated email assignments
Create canned responses
Email prioritization
Starts at $10/user/month
Hiver Create customer contacts
Dedicated mobile apps
Email templates
Starts at $12/user/month
ProofHub Assign tasks to team members
Prioritize urgent tasks
Email notifications
Starts at $45/month
ThriveDesk Email Tags
Customer satisfaction surveys
Detect spam messages
Starts at $10/user/month
Slack Communicate using emojis
Access conversation history
Multiple integration options
Starts at $6.67/month
Mail.com Create filter rules
Two-factor authentication
65GB of online storage
Starts at $9.99 for three months
Zoho Mail Bookmark important emails
Share email drafts
Set up filters
Starts at $1/user/month
Microsoft Teams Access chats and files
Data encryption
Merge calls together
Starts at $4/user/month
Groove Create a knowledge base
Social media conversations
Private notes
Starts at $19/user/month
Fastmail Spam blocking
Powerful search bar
Turn emails into events
Starts at $3/user/month

Why Look For Email Alternatives? 

Although email has transformed communication, it has not evolved to meet the rising demands of teams across the globe. 

Here are some common drawbacks of email that will convince you to search for the top email alternatives: 

  • Cannot Be Accessed By Multiple People: As a tool, email cannot be accessed by multiple people at the same time. Even if you want an email account to be used by multiple people, you will have to share the login credentials (account ID and password) with everyone leading to potential security threats and data breaches. Most email clients can detect if an account is being operated from multiple devices and block the account temporarily. 
  • Not Built for Team Collaboration: Email was never designed for team collaboration. In fact, email is — by design — an individual talking to an audience, not a collaborative process. It misses out on key collaboration features such as internal notes, collision alerts, email draft sharing, and many more. 
  • Limited to a Single Channel: Email is limited to a single channel – email. While some email clients such as Gmail offer the chat feature, it has its own limitations. However, on the other hand, the best help desk tools can allow users to manage multiple communication channels under one roof such as email, live chat, social media, web forms, help center, etc. 
  • Lacks Reporting: Email does not help you see the bigger picture. In simple terms, there is no way to track key performance metrics such as the average first response time, email resolution time, agent ratings, etc. Without the presence of reports, you will never know if your team is moving in the right direction. 

Must-Have Features of Email Alternatives 

Searching for the best email alternatives for your team can be challenging. But don’t worry as we have done the heavy lifting for you. Here are some must-have features that you can expect an email alternative to offer: 

Shared Inbox: A shared inbox can be used by multiple users to receive and send emails simultaneously. With this email alternative feature, you can manage different team inboxes such as admin@, IT@, returns@, contact@, etc., from a single dashboard. 

Read More: 10 Shared Inbox Best Practices For Email Success

Private Notes/Comments: This is a crucial feature that can significantly improve team collaboration. Team members can share ideas, raise questions, or offer suggestions using private notes/comments. 

Reports & Analytics: In-depth and insightful reports can allow managers to review performance and monitor progress. For example, by tracking email response time, you can gauge your team’s promptness in responding to customers. 

What Are the Best Email Alternatives? 

Here are the 10 best email alternatives that can help you take your business communications to the next level. 

1. ProProfs Help Desk 

ProProfs is a popular help desk software like Email

ProProfs is a popular help desk software like Email that can free your team from the burden of long email threads. With a well-designed shared inbox feature, you can manage multiple team inboxes such as support@, info@, sales@, etc., in one place. 

When it comes to team collaboration, ProProfs Help Desk does a great job. Agents can assign tasks to each other, discuss emails using private notes, and see who is working on what to avoid duplicate replies. Managers can monitor team performance by tracking email response times, resolution times, pending tickets, and other relevant metrics. 

Top Features of ProProfs Help Desk: 

  • Automatically assign emails to agents using the round-robin method
  • Create canned responses for common situations and save everyone’s time
  • Mark the priority of incoming emails as High, Low, or Normal
  • Encourage self-service and reduce email volume with a knowledge base
  • Customize email signatures to share professional messages

Pros: 

  • The tool comes with a minimum learning curve and helps you get started in minutes
  • You can develop chatbots to engage website visitors in real-time

Cons: 

  • Reporting could be more advanced
  • Integrations to third-party tools are limited

Choose it for: Shared inbox, AI-powered chatbots, private notes, canned responses, collision alerts, knowledge base

3rd party integrations allowed: Yes

Suited for: Startups, small to mid-sized businesses, large enterprises

Case Study: 

OpenCart is an open-source, PHP-based online store management system. The platform offers everything an e-commerce entrepreneur needs to create, scale, and run an online store. 

The company trusted ProProfs Help Desk as there was no need to manage servers or traffic. With over two million monthly visitors, ProProfs helped OpenCart improve its documentation and ensure self-service is always available to customers.

ProProfs Help Desk Pricing: 

Starts at $10/user/month

Read More: 25 Effective Email Management Tips Trending in 2022

2. Hiver

Hiver is another software like email

Hiver is another software like email that helps you offer stellar customer service right from your Gmail inbox. With this simple tool, you can assign emails to team members with a single click and track which emails are open, pending, or closed. 

Hiver offers a shared drafts feature that helps your team collaborate in real-time. For instance, you can share an email draft about a sales event invitation with your colleagues and ask them for suggestions before sending it. 

Top Features of Hiver: 

  • Create customer contacts to deliver personalized email responses
  • Use tags to organize your Gmail inbox
  • Receive collision alerts when another team member is viewing an email
  • Leverage dedicated mobile apps for Android and iOS
  • Create a vast collection of email templates and respond faster

Pros:

  • Great tool for internal collaboration
  • You can easily edit or delete SLAs based on business requirements

Cons: 

  • The tool is incompatible with all email clients other than Gmail
  • The Lite plan does not include CSAT surveys

Choose it for: Internal collaboration, Gmail-based help desk, SLA management

3rd party integrations allowed: Yes

Suited for: Startups, small to mid-sized businesses

Case Study: 

Vacasa is a vacation rental management business based in Portland, Oregon. The company’s aim is to make it easier for people to own and manage vacation rentals. Overall, Vacasa manages thousands of properties and pays over 2000 staff members to clean and maintain them. 

Their support team was using Google Groups to manage customer service emails. One of the biggest reasons for using Hiver was that the team did not want to spend too much time on help desk software training. Their support team can now reply to customers 60% faster than before. 

Hiver Pricing: 

Starts at $12/user/month

3. ProofHub

ProofHub is a powerful project management tool

ProofHub is a powerful project management tool that helps you avoid the back and forth email sharing at your workplace. Overall it is a simple collaboration solution that helps you avoid messy email threads. 

With the help of ProofHub, you can easily store and search for important docs whenever you need them. When it comes to team collaboration, multiple team members can use this tool to add comments, add tasks, share files, and do multiple other things without needing to log in to their respective email accounts. 

Top Features of ProofHub: 

  • Assign tasks to individuals or multiple team members for greater accountability
  • Prioritize tasks with the help of deadlines and labels
  • Integrate with Outlook, Google Drive, Dropbox, and other tools
  • Upload multiple file formats and share them with your team members
  • Stay updated with real-time email, in-app, or desktop notifications

Pros: 

  • Easy to understand with little to no learning curve
  • Get complete control over your teams and projects

Cons: 

  • Does not offer flexible pay-per-user plans
  • Forms are difficult to set up 

Choose it for: Project tracking, Gantt charts, time tracking, calendar view 

3rd party integrations allowed: Yes

Suited for: Startups, small to mid-sized businesses

Case Study: 

Delia Jalomo started deliabydesign.com to offer graphic and web designing services. Delia and her small team help clients with their branding, logo, website, and other digital or print designs. 

Previously, the design firm was wasting a lot of time proofing emails and tracking projects manually. After switching to ProofHub, team members use the platform to improve coordination, communication, and project execution.

ProofHub Pricing: 

Starts at $45/month

4. ThriveDesk 

ThriveDesk is an email alternative tool

ThriveDesk is another email alternative that deserves to be on your list. With a powerful shared inbox feature, you can manage all customer emails in one place without having to go through the struggles of managing multiple email accounts. 

Using ThriveDesk, team members can communicate with each other in real-time using private notes. These notes are only visible to internal staff and not to customers. Moreover, you can even receive collision alerts when someone else is viewing or replying to an email. 

Top Features of ThriveDesk: 

  • Organize your conversations better with the help of Tags
  • Create a collection of saved replies for common email queries or complaints
  • Easily move a conversation from one inbox to another
  • Share customer satisfaction surveys as soon as a ticket is closed
  • Automatically detect spam messages and add them to the spam folder

Pros: 

  • You can automatically update the status of tickets as active, pending, and closed
  • Reopen tickets after a specific time

Cons: 

  • The community forum needs improvement
  • ThriveDesk’s user interface is quite basic and lacks a modern touch

Case Study: Not Available

Choose it for: Customer satisfaction surveys, shared inbox, community forum, knowledge base

3rd party integrations allowed: Yes

Suited for: Startups, small to mid-sized businesses

ThriveDesk Pricing: 

Starts at $10/user/month

5. Slack

Slack is a popular alternative to email

Slack is a popular alternative to email that is used by thousands of organizations across the globe for internal and external communications. You can create different channels for different tasks or topics that you are currently working on. 

The channels include all the people, files, and messages related to that topic in one place. As soon as you create your Slack workspace, you can invite your colleagues and kickstart the conversations that matter. 

Top Features of Slack: 

  • Use emojis to respond faster and keep the conversation more engaging
  • Use the conversation history to easily find any relevant information you need
  • Receive notifications on the move with a dedicated mobile app
  • Connect Slack with tools such as Google Drive, Office 365, and many more
  • Share files from your computer storage or cloud storage services

Pros:

  • You can save time by automating routine actions or communications
  • Slack Connect helps you collaborate with teams of other companies 

Cons: 

  • The calling feature needs improvement
  • The Search feature does not always show accurate results

Choose it for: Real-time messaging, file sharing, integrations, automated notifications

3rd party integrations allowed: Yes

Suited for: Startups, small to mid-sized businesses, large enterprises

Case Study: 

Gympass is a corporate well-being platform founded by César Carvalho in 2012. The platform provides companies and their employees with a global network of fitness gyms, digital workouts, and mental health and nutrition services at discounted rates.

Gympass employees were operating in multiple markets across three continents and needed a centralized tool. Their team relied on emails and WhatsApp to exchange information; however, it led to siloed communication. Now, all Gympass employees use Slack as it grants them instant access to information that was previously buried in emails

Slack Pricing: 

Starts at $6.67/month

6. Mail.com

Mail.com is a popular email service provider

Mail.com is a popular email service provider headquartered in Pennsylvania, United States. Users can create a free email account from over 200+ domains such as engineer.com, dr.com, musician.org, etc. 

Mail.com offers top-notch data security to all its users. For instance, built-in antivirus protection offers complete email security. In addition to this, you can even protect your system against viruses and malware embedded in spam emails

Top Features of Mail.com

  • Create filter rules to automatically sort incoming messages
  • Monitor your emails on the go with free mobile apps for Android and iOS
  • Protect your email accounts by enabling two-factor authentication
  • Enjoy 65GB of online storage for your email accounts
  • Import and synchronize contacts with other address books

Pros: 

  • You can receive browser notifications with the MailCheck extension
  • The tool allows you to send file attachments of up to 30MB

Cons: 

  • The free version of the tool is full of advertisements
  • The customer service needs improvement 

Choose it for: Multiple domain options, create email accounts, spam filter, email organizer

3rd party integrations allowed: Yes

Suited for: Startups, small to mid-sized businesses, large enterprises

Case Study: Not available 

Mail.com Pricing: 

Starts at $9.99 for three months

7. Zoho Mail 

Zoho offers an ad-free email service

Zoho offers an ad-free email service that comes with a simple user interface. The company promises 99.9% uptime and secure email hosting so that your business can always stay connected with the people who matter. 

With Zoho Mail, you can set up unique and professional email addresses that offer your business better visibility. Admins can use the control panel to explore different settings, configurations, and customizations. 

Top Features of Zoho Mail:

  • Access calendar, tasks, contacts, notes, and bookmarks right within your inbox
  • Collaborate internally by sharing notes or creating events
  • Share email drafts to get them reviewed by fellow teammates
  • View attachments or upload them to the cloud in just a few clicks
  • Set up filters to automatically organize incoming emails

Pros: 

  • You can set an “out of office” response to let people know you are unavailable
  • Protect your data and communications with two-factor authentication

Cons: 

  • Buying additional storage space can prove to be quite expensive
  • The Lite plan does not offer email backup and restoration

Choose it for: Email draft sharing, advanced search, filters, signature

3rd party integrations allowed: Yes

Suited for: Startups, small to mid-sized businesses

Case Study: Not available

Zoho Mail Pricing: 

Starts at $1/user/month

8. Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a free email alternative

For years, companies have used video conferencing tools to communicate with each other in real-time. As a free email alternative, Microsoft Teams helps you video call and chat with your work colleagues no matter where they are. 

You can easily upload, create, and share files to exchange information and keep things moving forward. Microsoft Teams makes it easier for users to schedule online meetings with high-quality audio and video. You can schedule these meetings ahead of time or start one instantly. 

Top Features of Microsoft Teams: 

  • Access chats and files shared during online meetings
  • Protect your sensitive information with data encryption
  • Create a better virtual meeting experience with the Together Mode
  • See live reactions during PowerPoint presentations
  • Merge calls together to talk to everyone at once

Pros: 

  • You can host an interactive webinar for up to 1000 attendees
  • Get access to office apps and services

Cons: 

  • Viewing the meeting screen and chat window at the same time can be problematic
  • The voice quality needs improvement

Choose it for: Audio and video conferencing, real-time chat, webinars, live reactions

3rd party integrations allowed: Yes

Suited for: Startups, small to mid-sized businesses, large enterprises

Case Study: 

Crocs is an American footwear manufacturing company best known for its Crocs brand of foam clogs. The company was founded in 2002 and has sold over 300 million pairs to date. 

The company was struggling to keep the business moving forward and launching new product lines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Crocs launched the Free Pair for Healthcare campaign to give away more than 860,000 pairs of shoes to frontline warriors. Their team connected with one another using Microsoft Teams and tuned this into a successful campaign. 

Microsoft Teams Pricing: 

Starts at $4/user/month

9. Groove 

Groove is an email alternative

Groove is an email alternative and shared inbox software designed to meet the needs of small businesses. You can organize all your mailboxes in one place, assign incoming emails to the right team members, and share faster responses with key stakeholders. 

Bring all your communication channels like email, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram into one collaborative inbox. In addition to a shared inbox, Groove even allows you to create a dedicated knowledge base. You can edit articles, view the performance metrics of your help content, and enhance the self-service experience. 

Top Features of Groove: 

  • Optimize your knowledge base for multiple devices
  • Manage all social media conversations in one place
  • Choose knowledge base backgrounds provided by Unsplash
  • Create greater accountability by assigning emails to relevant agents
  • Discuss emails using private notes

Pros: 

  • The shared inbox offers multiple team collaboration tools
  • Reduce your customer service email volume with a knowledge base

Cons: 

  • Frequent changes in pricing structure or plans can confuse users
  • Emails often take time to show in your inbox

Choose it for: Automated email assignments, email templates, tags, mobile apps

3rd party integrations allowed: Yes

Suited for: Startups, small to mid-sized businesses

Case Study: 

Handsoncode is a small and growing software development firm popular for its JavaScript data grid component called Handsontable. The company’s aim is to provide powerful development tools for applications across multiple devices.

The software company was looking for a Gmail alternative for improved team collaboration. With a Gmail-like interface, their team did not face any challenges when moving to Groove. The tool helped them support their growing customer base, from 1 to 1500 customers. 

Groove Pricing: 

Starts at $19/user/month

10. Fastmail

Fastmail is an Australian-based email hosting company

Fastmail is an Australian-based email hosting company that safeguards your privacy. For instance, the company does not share any data with advertisers, and users are never targeted with intrusive advertisements. 

As an email management tool, Fastmail allows your team to easily manage emails and contacts with the help of folders and labels. Furthermore, you can pin important email messages to the top to address them on high priority. 

Top Features of Fastmail: 

  • Avoid irrelevant emails with superior spam blocking 
  • Plan your tasks and schedule emails with a fully-functional calendar
  • Easily find the conversation you need with a powerful search bar
  • Turn email conversations into events
  • Access and respond to emails on the move with mobile apps

Pros: 

  • Access emails, calendars, and contacts from a single app
  • Easily import your data to get started quickly 

Cons: 

  • The Basic plan offers only 2GB of space per user
  • Expensive plans if you compare it with competitors like Gmail

Choose it for: Calendars, spam blocking, automated alerts, advanced search 

3rd party integrations allowed: Yes

Suited for: Startups, small to mid-sized businesses, large enterprises

Case Study: Not available

Fastmail Pricing: 

Starts at $3/user/month 

Simplify Communication Management With the Best Email Alternative 

Love it or hate it, but email is here to stay. Proper email communication can help you communicate with customers professionally, show competency, and establish a solid brand reputation. 

While choosing an alternative to email, you must look for features such as a shared inbox, private notes/comments for internal collaboration, and in-depth reports and analytics. 

If you wish to manage all customer emails and communications from one place, you can go for a tool like ProProfs Help Desk. If you want to speed up internal communications and make conversations more interactive, go for Slack. For advanced data security and storage, you can bet on Zoho Mail. 

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About the author

Jared is a customer support expert. He has been published in CrazyEgg, CoSchedule, and CXL. As a customer support executive at ProProfs, he has been instrumental in developing a complete customer support system that more than doubled customer satisfaction. You can connect and engage with Jared on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn