How does Business Chat work?
In June, Apple® unveiled Business Chat service in a bid to compete in the messaging space. For business owners, it holds potential as a sales and marketing tool. This would allow consumers to interact with businesses through the existing Apple messaging framework.
What is Business Chat and how does it work?
Business Chat allows users to open an iMessage® window through Safari®, Maps, Spotlight® or Siri® to get answers to questions. It can also resolve issues or complete transactions with businesses through their iPhone®, iPad® or Apple Watch®. At the same time, consumers have the ability to block alerts or delete conversations. This is done so they’re only connecting with the brands and businesses they choose.
The chat service is designed to facilitate easier interaction between customers and businesses. It will also take the quality of service up a notch. Rather than dialing into a customer service number or talking to a chatbot, Business Chat users will be able to initiate a chat session with a human service rep to get personalized help in real time. Chatbot support isn’t currently available, but it may be forthcoming in the future.
Business Chat features
Business Chat will integrate with Apple Pay®, making it possible for customers to make purchases in the chat session. Apple is also letting businesses create their own customized app extensions. In a presentation at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Apple highlighted a chat session in which a customer was able to choose an airline seat in-message, without having to open a separate app.
Another unique feature is the ability to launch a chat using QR codes found on things like business signage, packaging or websites. The customer would scan the code to launch a chat in iMessage. The code includes information about the user’s geographic location, their purchase history with the business or other details that could make routing them to the right customer service representative easier.
What does it mean for business owners?
Business Chat may afford businesses the opportunity to assist their customers in a streamlined, efficient way. Business owners can integrate their customer support channel to be compatible with Business Chat. Alternately, they can work with established third-party customer service providers on the platform.
It could also make it easier for consumers to find businesses and shop from their Apple devices, which may result in a sales boost for companies that use Business Chat. The service will be publicly available when iOS 11 rolls out this fall. In the meantime, businesses may consider how to leverage Business Chat’s capabilities to improve customer relations and advance sales goals.