Apple Business Chat has the enterprise talking about iMessage Apps

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Ten years ago, Steve Jobs announced the App Store. While its first titles were mostly games and novelties, soon major businesses began to recognize the power of mobile apps, shifting major investment from desktop PCs and web apps into iOS. This year, Apple is inciting new enterprise investment in iMessage Apps with Apple Business Chat–billed as an interactive, personal way to connect with customers while respecting their privacy.
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Businesses that support Business Chat in Messages

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If you’re looking for a list of Apple’s Business Chat partners, you’ve come to the right place.

One of the more interesting new features found in iOS 11.3 is Business Chat, which lets you securely communicate with businesses in Messages on your iPhone or iPad. You can get information, schedule appointments, or even make purchases with a text. At launch, Business Chat has support from a handful of partners, along with Apple itself.

What exactly is Business Chat?

If you’re looking for more information on Business Chat, check out this excellent overview by Jeffery Battersby about the system and it’s advantages and potential.

How Business Chat works for businesses and consumers

Business Chat partners

To start, Business Chat has a small group of partner businesses, though that’s sure to grow as the system becomes more popular. We’ll be updating this list over time with additional partners.

  • Apple
  • Discover
  • Hilton
  • Home Depot
  • Lowe’s
  • Marriot International
  • Newegg
  • TD Ameritrade
  • Wells Fargo
  • 1800Flowers.com

Spot a new one?

Have you been able to use Business Chat with a business that isn’t on this list? Let us know in the comments.

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Snapchat Group Video Chat Feature Announced, Here Are The Details

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Snapchat has just announced new Group Video Chat and Stories mentions features for iOS and Android. Here’s what you need to know.

[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

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macOS 10.13.4 lands with eGPU support and business chat in iMessage

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Mac owners can finally use an external GPU to boost their computing power now that Apple has released macOS 10.13.4 to the public. The software update has been in beta testing with developers for months and is now available to everyone for the first time. macOS 10.13.4 brings a number of improvements to the Mac, […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

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Hands-on with Business Chat for iMessage in iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4

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Included in iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4 is a new way to communicate with companies called Business Chat. Available in the United States as a beta to start, Business Chat lets you conveniently use iMessage for customer service and even complete transactions with Apple Pay. Check out our hands-on to see how it works.

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9to5Mac

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How to Use Business Chat in iOS 11.3 and macOS Sierra 10.13.4

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Among the new features baked into Apple’s iOS 11.3 and macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 software updates is the company’s promising Business Chat platform. Designed to address the growing needs and trends of a busy populace who continue to increasingly rely on texting more than talking on the phone, Business Chat is an innovative new addition […]
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How To Use iMessage Business Chat In iOS 11.3 Or Later

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Here’s how to go about using iMessage Business Chat feature in iOS 11.3 or later on your iPhone, iPad (or even Mac running macOS 10.13.4).

[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

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Apple releases macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 with eGPUs support, Business Chat in Messages, and more [changelog]

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Apple on Friday released macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 with support for external graphics processors, and support for Business Chat conversations in Messages as the two tentpole features. This release also contains a number of additional features, as well as bug fixes and stability improvements…. Read the rest of this post here


Apple releases macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 with eGPUs support, Business Chat in Messages, and more [changelog]” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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How Business Chat works for businesses and consumers

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Business Chat is here for Messages and it’s a great way for customers to talk directly with companies.

You may have missed it if you didn’t look at the fine print when you updated to iOS 11.3, but there was an interesting feature added to iOS. Yup, it was five lines down in the update notes:

Business Chat (Beta) – US only * Communicate with companies to easily ask questions, schedule appointments, and make purchases inside the built-in Messages app on iPhone and iPad

Business Chat was released as a part of iOS 11.3 as a way to make it easier for businesses to create contact with customers, clients, and potential customers and clients. The service, which is built into the Messages app, also offers APIs for integration in custom apps as well as working with off-the-shelf CRM apps such as Nuance, LivePerson, Gensys, zendesk, In The Chat, and Salesforce Service Cloud.

Business Chat is consumer-focused, business-friendly

Business Chat is designed for customer-initiated contact, which is to say that your customers will contact you when they need assistance. Apple makes it easy for you to be discovered by clients after you go through a Business Chat registration and approval process. Once registered, your business will appear with a chat button in Siri web searches and Apple Maps links. Customers interested in initiating a chat simply tap the chat bubble and you’ll get the message directly in Messages or the customer relationship management (CRM) service you’re using. You have the ability to determine the end-user experience and can use any combination you choose of live contact and chat-bot support. you can even create chat links that are accessible from your website or Yelp page.

The beauty of Business Chat is that it integrates with Apple Pay, allows you to send product information directly to customers, and makes it easy to schedule appointments that your customers can check for conflicts in their iOS calendars. Business Chat also allows you to provide your customers with a branded end-user experience. Your chat messages display a header with your logo and contact information that is easily accessible from within the chat session. To that end, Business Chat may be able to make your business seem bigger and more responsive than it actually is. A one-person shop can feel like a huge company without having to pay for a big CRM application or hiring more employees.

Customers won’t feel pressure from businesses when they chat

From an end-user perspective, this is a pretty sweet deal. Contact is user-initiated, provides no personal information to the business, unless you choose to do so, and allows you to break contact once your conversation is complete: simply delete the message and the conversation is gone. Keep the message and the company you’re working with has the ability to view the entire context of your conversation. Additionally, because you’re communication is essentially a text message, you don’t have to wait on hold to “speak to a representative” or provide an immediate response to questions the company asks you. Reply at your leisure and the conversation picks up right where it left off.

It’s still in beta, but it totally works

Set up for businesses is simple, although you won’t get the immediate satisfaction of signing up for Business Chat and putting it to work in a matter of minutes. I went through the setup process for my business and 24 hours later, while my application has been received, I’m still waiting for my business to be approved. That’s good because, presumably, Apple is vetting me to make sure my business is legit, but I didn’t have the immediate satisfaction of setting up Business Chat and putting it to use immediately.

I did get to test Business Chat with some existing vendors, though, and found the experience to be excellent. I searched for Home Depot on my iPhone, found and tapped the chat bubble in my search results and made immediate contact. A branded Home Depot chat opened in Messages and I entered my question. The initial response I received was from a chatbot, but within less than a minute I was speaking with a live representative who responded promptly to each of my questions. The process was painless and simple, although the end result didn’t differ at all from my initial web search on the Home Depot website: Neither the live customer support person or I could locate the item I was looking for.

The future of Business Chat is in our hands

At present, I use Messages as a standard form of communication with all my customers. It’s the way existing customers get my attention and schedule appointments, so Business Chat seems like an obvious fit for the way I do business. But, my spidey senses tell me there’s a possible downside, at least for smaller businesses such as my own. Because Business Chat is one-sided communication, and because a search for your business can result in contact from customers via a simple web search, I’m concerned about the potential for trolling. I know, I know, call me paranoid, but I’ll be curious to see how many “I need your help” messages I get from people who need no help at all. Hopefully none, but to that end, just as I finished this article, I changed my registration request so that my business address, which is also my home address, doesn’t show up on Apple Maps.

What do you think about Business Chat?

Are you a business owner? Will you register for Business Chat with Messages? As a consumer, do you think you’ll take advantage of the ability to chat live with a business representative through the Messages app?

Business Chat seems like a tool with excellent business potential. I look forward to having the opportunity to put it to work.

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How to Use Business Chat on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac

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How to Use Business Chat iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch

After a long wait, Business Chat has finally been rolled out with iOS 11.3. It’s an all-new way for organizations to connect with customers directly from within Messages app. As a customer, you can quickly reach out to businesses, ask any questions and get the quick fix! Knowing how eagerly many of you would be craving for this feature, we have made a quick guide to let you use Business Chat on iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch.

Using Business Chat, you can get instant answers to questions, resolve issues and complete transactions on your iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. Customers can find your business and start conversations with you. One thing worth mentioning is that currently, Business Chat is available only in the US. More after the break:

How to Use Business Chat iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch

How to Use Business Chat on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch

How to Sing Up for Business Chat

Businesses need to register with Apple and sign-up with the customer service platforms that have already integrated with Business Chat. Some of the customer service platforms are LivePerson, Salesforce, Nuance, Genesys, InTheChat, and Zendesk. Head over to https://developer.apple.com/business-chat/ to get started and follow the instructions to sign up.

How to Start Using Business Chat

  • Make sure you have iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch is running iOS 11.3 or later. You will also be able to respond to your conversations with your Apple Watch or Mac, provided they are running the latest version of watchOS and macOS respectively.
  • Businesses aren’t allowed to start a conversation with you.
  • They will only respond to you with relevant information.
  • Your personal information remains secure and is not shared with businesses until you provide it.

You can use Maps, Safari, Siri, and Search and also the support businesses’ websites and apps. Simply search for the business and then tap on the message button and start the conversation as usual.

Just in the message button doesn’t appear when you search for a business, it might not be verified with Business Chat. Keep in mind, not all verified businesses may not have the same capabilities like making purchases or scheduling appointments through Business Chat.

How to End a Business Chat in iOS 11 on iPhone and iPad

Once you have used the Business Chat conversation, you can delete the thread to completely end the conversation.

If you want to return to the conversation, you can keep the thread open and send messages as needed. Businesses will be able to send you relevant messages if you don’t delete the conversation.

Even if you delete a conversation on one device, you will be able to view the message thread on your other devices. However, the thread will need to be enabled to start the conversation again.

Have your say

I find Business Chat enormously helpful for both businesses and customers. What do you think about it?

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