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12 things you should know about
Business Chat in iOS 11

14 September 2017

Some of you might have viewed the Keynote during WWDC17 on the latest features under iOS 11. But if there’s one feature that might get some of the business owners excited, it could well be Business Chat. Announced by Grant Ritchie during WWDC17, we will take a look at 12 things that you should know about Business Chat.

 

1.       What is Business Chat?

 

Business chat is like a marriage between eCommerce and Messages. Customers can communicate and get in touch with you via Messages and businesses can engage, promote and sell products to customers via Business Chat. Customers can even make their payment via Apple Pay, which is integrated to Business Chat.

 

2.       What are the apps supporting Business Chat?

 

For a start, Maps, Safari, Spotlight and Siri will be Business Chat ready and help end-users discover Business Chat in their discovery journey. 

 

3.       How can you integrate to your existing app?

 

You can add a message button to your app, webpages or emails using Links. An example quoted during WWDC17 looks like the below. To create a link, you will need your Business Chat ID. 


Source: Apple Worldwide Developer Conference, June 2017

4.       How do I register for a Business Chat ID?

 

Go to register.apple.com to apply for access to Business Chat Developer Preview.

 

5.       Can I use Business Chat to track intent?

 

You can configure and assign a business intent ID in your product configuration so that your chat agent can easily pull out the product configuration and provide a faster response so that you customer do not have to search for it.

 

6.       How do I create a workflow?

 

You can create a team code in the Group field so that you can automatically route the message to the team handling that specific issue.

 

7.       How can I use Business Chat as part of an online to offline experience?

 

You can use the Location IDs that are used in Maps so that you client who may want to chat with a specific store can just tap on the message button in Maps to chat with that specific store, where the chat is routed automatically. 

8.       How do I ensure continuity with my customers?

 

It is important to note that the first message has to start from the customer. The conversations with your customers are Long-lived and there is no need to re-identify themselves when they jump into that chat conversation.

 

9.       Are there any shortcuts to communicate with customers better?

 

The quick type keyboards can make intelligent suggestions such as email address, phone number, postal address and location so that your customers can just reply with a tap.

 

10.       Does Business Chat support attachments?

 

Business chat support photos, videos and documents since it sits within the Messages app.

 

11.       What are some of the built-in features on Business Chat?

 

Time Picker for appointment scheduling

List Picker for selecting a list of options so that you customers can select one or more for easier response to you.

Apple Pay is also one of the built-in feature on Business Chat.

 

12.       When is Business Chat ready for operations?

 

As per announcement during WWDC17, Business Chat is available for developer preview but not ready operationally ready (as when this article was written). You can keep track of the latest announcement by Apple on Business Chat at https://developer.apple.com/business-chat/.

 

It would be interesting to see whether Apple’s Business Chat will eventually revolutionise the e-Commerce industry so we await with bated breath on the first businesses that will adopt Business Chat in Singapore. 

 

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