***Update*** You can now request beta access to Apple Business Chat
What is Apple Business Chat?
Currently in beta, Apple Business Chat, or simply Business Chat, allows consumers to engage with companies’ customer service agents within the Apple Messages app. Consumers can connect with customer support agents for, say, an airline to ask for information, just as easily as sending a text or a voice memo.
Apple, always a perfectionist and typically late to market with new services and devices, is finally catching up to messaging platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp, but with an app that carries a major advantage – it’s native to all two billion or so Apple devices around the world.
Status: In beta
Consumers get support right from Apple devices
Facilitates connected commerce
- Pay via Apple Pay directly in messages
Availability: Only on Apple devices: iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple Watches. Consumers can reach businesses for support through Apple search tools: Safari, Apple Maps, Apple Search, Siri
Consumers will soon be able to reach Business Chat when they search for companies on Safari, Apple Maps, Apple Search, or via Siri. The conversation is encrypted, and the app allows brands to customize their color scheme and logo. Apple’s reputation for quality, attractive design, and 24 percent smartphone market share make it an attractive support partner, and the rapidity with which consumers adopt new Apple products is sure to appeal to businesses.
Why does Apple Business Chat matter?
It’s endlessly annoying for customers to tweet a brand, for example, only to be told to call a number, where they reach a new agent and start things over again. Now, consumers can conveniently connect with a brand right from their phone or watch by simply tapping the Messages icon. Ultimately, your customers control when to start the conversation, what information to share and can respond as and when they are ready to do so.
Apple Business Chat also capitalizes on the rise of distributed commerce, or the idea that consumers want to make purchases or get support from within their devices. Business Chat gives customers a one-stop-shop where they can chat with agents via their Apple Watch, for example, without ever opening a mobile web page. This end-to-end customer experience also means checkout is easy with Apple Pay. The benefit? You can even pay without leaving the messages conversation.
Apple's Business Chat comes hot on the heels of WhatsApp's and Facebook's own Messenger Customer Chat. Clearly, customers want to connect to companies easily and get resolutions faster. WhatsApp’s integration has proven successful, with brands around the world using it to allow customers to purchase products, solve customer service issues, and access branded content.
Research from Sapio points to a 63 percent satisfaction rate from customers who communicate with brands over messaging apps – a number that will likely grow. As
"Customer expectations are changing; gone are the days of using social just for public venting, customers now want to receive issue resolution over private messaging channels. Corporate leaders obviously understand this, with 96% looking to implement Apple Business Chat this year"
Messaging is the future, iOS or not
Consumers are looking to tech giants to provide integrated brand messaging options, and the
For more about how messaging will help your brand, take a look at our recently published 6th Definitive Guide to Customer Service in the Era of Social Messaging.