Businesses, choose your fighter(s): Apple Business Chat is coming out swinging in the battle between Facebook Messenger, Twitter, WhatsApp Business, and Google My Business, as they vie for dominance in the B2C communication arena.
What is Business Chat?
Currently in beta, Business Chat uses Apple’s existing iMessage platform for businesses to connect directly with customers, which offers several distinct features:
- Every iOS device comes with iMessage
- It doesn’t get easier than that. All 700 million iPhone users can just keep doing what they’re doing without having to change habits or learn new systems.
- All business transactions can happen within iMessage
- Customers can chat with representatives, make payments via Apple Pay, schedule appointments, even change their seats on airplanes, all through iMessage.
In a coup of convenience, Business Chat will let users open an iMessage window from Safari, Spotlight, Maps, or Siri. When you search for a business, a chat icon will appear next to all the usual features (business name, address, rating, phone icon, etc.)
When customers say they’re interested in learning more about “the thing with the stuff,” agents will know what they’re talking about. Chat Intent enables companies to tag specific links with information like product codes, or they can route customers to the most relevant team or store location.
What if customers don’t even have time to text? No problem. They can simply scan a QR code (one of those black and white pixelated ID squares that appear on many new products) with their smartphone. iMessage will notify them that they can start chatting with the company about that product.
- Users have control over messaging
- Showing that they’ve gained some wisdom from the recent rash of privacy scandals making the rounds in the tech world, Apple is yielding control to customers over when contact begins and ends, as well as what personal information Apple receives in each chat. No nuisance marketing messages will come through Business Chat to rudely interrupt your dinner date.
- A lot of big dogs are already participating
- Home Depot, Lowe’s, Marriott, Hilton, and Wells Fargo are some of them. Woof.
What you’ll need for infrastructure
Business Chat works with customer service platforms like Salesforce, Zendesk, LivePerson, and many others. It will also support your company’s chatbot so that your agents can save their magic touch for more complex interactions.
Considering that the majority of people want to text, rather than call, customer care, and that a further 67 percent said they expect to message more with businesses over the next two years, it’s probably wise to jump on board this B2C messaging hyperloop before it leaves the station.
More information on the infrastructure you'll need and customer engagement platforms here. Interested in using this technology to increase your CSAT score? We have you covered over here.
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