During a session yesterday at WWDC 2017, Apple detailed their solution to Facebook and Twitter’s customer service platforms it calls Business Chat. It allows businesses to get in touch with potential customers to give them quotes on pricing, schedule appointments, file disputes, and even help them make purchases for services or other products using Apple Pay. The feature is currently available in a developer preview which is accessible via iOS 11. Businesses can register for the service here.
Users can begin messaging businesses using Business Chat from one of four different places: Safari, Spotlight search, Siri, and Maps. Features like Apple Pay, scheduling, lists for products or services, predictive text for faster communication, and custom iMessage apps for interested businesses will all land at launch.
Currently, other customer service platforms like Nuance and Salesforce are utilizing the new technologies Apple has cooked up. Those with or without brick-and-mortar retail locations are also eligible to register for Business Chat. Clearly, this service will be much more widespread than anything Facebook or Twitter have tried in the past. You won’t be talking to a bot while communicating (it’s actual human beings this time around) and a vast majority of iPhone users will get iOS 11 when it ships this fall, therefore enabling their device to have the capabilities necessary to get in touch with businesses who have registered. Overall, Business Chat seems like a pretty nice place to do business, especially since it will reach so many people.