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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.

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Topic: Mobility
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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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