Apple brings 'Business Chat' to Apple Messages

The tool enables customers to connect with businesses on their iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch.

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Apple this week announced Business Chat, a tool that enables people to connect with businesses via Apple Messages. Customers can use Business Chat to ask questions, get customer support, and make transactions on their iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch.

While other messaging platforms, like Facebook's Messenger and WhatsApp, offer customer support systems, Business Chat could appeal to enterprises all in on iOS. The tool lets users find businesses with Safari, Maps, Spotlight, and Siri. Additionally, users pay for purchases via Business Chat with Apple Pay, and they can schedule appointments and deliveries using a built-in scheduling app.

Businesses can give customers options within Business Chat using its built-in list app. They can also use Business Chat to prompt customers to download their custom-built iMessage app.

Meanwhile, a handful of companies have already integrated their customer service platforms with Business Chat, including LivePerson, Salesforce, Nuance, and Genesys.

Through the integration of Nuance's Digital Customer Engagement Platform, businesses can use Nuance Live or Asynchronous Chat to connect with customers, or Nuance's AI-powered Nina Virtual Assistant. With Nina, only around 20 percent or less of incoming customer messages have to be routed to a contact center agent.

"While Siri made the virtual assistant mainstream, the ability to start a chat session with businesses using Messages is positioned to turn message-based customer service into the dominant way consumers engage with brands," said Robert Weideman, executive vice president and general manager for Nuance's enterprise division, in a statement.

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