/>
X

Business Chat in iOS: How it works and which businesses support it

If you're a business looking for new ways to offer customer support, or maybe you're an iPhone or iPad user who wants a way to easily contact a business, consider using Business Chat. Apple launched the new tool via its iOS 11.3 update. Here's how it works and which businesses support it at launch.
zdnet-logo-large.png
By ZDNet Editors, Contributors on
1a.jpg
1 of 12 Newegg

Business Chat: Now available in beta

Apple has added major new tool to its Messages app: Business Chat. It essentially allows businesses to offer real-time customer support to iPhone and iPad users.

Read also: Apple brings 'Business Chat' to Apple Messages | Apple releases iOS 11.3 with iPhone battery tool and Business Chat

2a.png
2 of 12 Lowe's

Business Chat: Access it from Safari, Maps, Spotlight, or Siri

Using Safari, Maps, Spotlight, or even Siri, you can find any business that supports Business Chat. And, from those same services, you can initiate a text-based conversation with the business. The conversation will take place in Apple's Messages app.

Read also: Apple brings 'Business Chat' to Apple Messages | Apple releases iOS 11.3 with iPhone battery tool and Business Chat

3a.jpg
3 of 12 Marriot

Business Chat: Look for the Messages icon

So, if you're looking up a business in Maps, just tap the Messages icon to start a conversation.

Read also: Apple brings 'Business Chat' to Apple Messages | Apple releases iOS 11.3 with iPhone battery tool and Business Chat

unnamed-1.jpg
4 of 12 1-800 Flowers

Business Chat: Also acessible from websites and apps

Many businesses even let you start a conversation directly from their app or site -- just look for this Chat with Messages icon.

Read also: Apple brings 'Business Chat' to Apple Messages | Apple releases iOS 11.3 with iPhone battery tool and Business Chat

5a.jpg
5 of 12 Home Depot

Business Chat: Use it to offer or get real-time customer support

While in a chat with a business, you can get answers to your questions, resolve any issues, schedule appointments, and file a dispute -- all from the same thread.

Read also: Apple brings 'Business Chat' to Apple Messages | Apple releases iOS 11.3 with iPhone battery tool and Business Chat

9a.jpg
6 of 12 Apple

Business Chat: Checkout with Apple Pay

You can even shop and complete transactions (through Apple Pay only).

Read also: Apple brings 'Business Chat' to Apple Messages | Apple releases iOS 11.3 with iPhone battery tool and Business Chat

6a.jpg
7 of 12 Lowe's

Business Chat: Smart suggestions and predictive text

For appointments, Business Chat will link to your own calendar and smartly suggest times that don't conflict with your schedule. Business Chat also offers predictive text, which means it'll auto-load an address or number if a business should ask for it.

Read also: Apple brings 'Business Chat' to Apple Messages | Apple releases iOS 11.3 with iPhone battery tool and Business Chat

7a.png
8 of 12 Lowe's

Business Chat: Most conversations are with live agents

Most conversations will be with live agents, though you may get some automated responses for simple requests.

Read also: Apple brings 'Business Chat' to Apple Messages | Apple releases iOS 11.3 with iPhone battery tool and Business Chat

8a.jpg
9 of 12 Newegg

Business Chat: Customers control their conversations

Only you can start a conversation, and you'll see a different thread for each business in the Messages app. Once you delete a thread, the business can't contact you again until you start another conversation with it.

Read also: Apple brings 'Business Chat' to Apple Messages | Apple releases iOS 11.3 with iPhone battery tool and Business Chat

unnamed.jpg
10 of 12 ZDNet Editors/ZDNet

Business Chat: Customers can keep their information private

A business can't see your personal information, like your name or phone number or payment details, unless you share it for appointments or other reasons.

Read also: Apple brings 'Business Chat' to Apple Messages | Apple releases iOS 11.3 with iPhone battery tool and Business Chat

10a.jpg
11 of 12 Apple

Business Chat: A handful of businesses support it at launch

A bunch of businesses have already signed up, including Discover, Hilton, The Home Depot, Lowe's, Marriot, Newegg, Ameritrade, Wells Fargo, and 1-800 Flowers. Each business can integrate their own customer service platforms and develop custom features for certain tasks.

Read also: Apple brings 'Business Chat' to Apple Messages | Apple releases iOS 11.3 with iPhone battery tool and Business Chat

11a.jpg
12 of 12 Newegg

Business Chat: It's in beta and US-only for now

Business Chat is now available in the Messages app on iPhone and iPad. It's in beta and is US-only for now.

Read also: Apple brings 'Business Chat' to Apple Messages | Apple releases iOS 11.3 with iPhone battery tool and Business Chat

Related Galleries

Cybersecurity flaws, customer experiences, smartphone losses, and more: ZDNet's research roundup
shutterstock-1024665187.jpg

Related Galleries

Cybersecurity flaws, customer experiences, smartphone losses, and more: ZDNet's research roundup

8 Photos
Inside a fake $20 '16TB external M.2 SSD'
Full of promises!

Related Galleries

Inside a fake $20 '16TB external M.2 SSD'

8 Photos
Hybrid working, touchscreen MacBook hopes, cybersecurity concerns, and more: ZDNet's tech research roundup
Asian woman working at a desk in front of a computer and calculator

Related Galleries

Hybrid working, touchscreen MacBook hopes, cybersecurity concerns, and more: ZDNet's tech research roundup

8 Photos
Developer trends, zero-day risks, 5G speeds, and more: Tech research roundup
Person seated at a booth in a cafe looks at their phone and laptop.

Related Galleries

Developer trends, zero-day risks, 5G speeds, and more: Tech research roundup

10 Photos
Drive Electric Day: A dizzying array of EVs in sunny Florida
ca3b4019-26c5-4ce0-a844-5aac39e2c34b.jpg

Related Galleries

Drive Electric Day: A dizzying array of EVs in sunny Florida

16 Photos
Incipio, Kate Spade, and Coach cases for Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: hands-on
s22-ultra-incipio-coach-cases-2.jpg

Related Galleries

Incipio, Kate Spade, and Coach cases for Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: hands-on

15 Photos
Casetify Impact Crush Galaxy S22 Ultra case hands-on: in pictures
casetify-s22-ultra-3.jpg

Related Galleries

Casetify Impact Crush Galaxy S22 Ultra case hands-on: in pictures

10 Photos