Apple just announced an exciting expansion to their Messages app. With Business Chat, companies all over the world will soon have an incredibly powerful way to communicate with Apple users. This new feature will effectively allow any business to add iMessage as a new customer service channel. iMessage has an incredible level of richness, allowing for buttons, pictures, video, stickers, selection menus, and even payments through Apple Pay.
Not only will Business Chat bring you a new channel with exciting customer service features, it is also integrated to a very deep level within the user experience of an Apple device - increasing the discoverability of this channel. Software developers will be able to add a contact button linked to iMessage directly into their app, but also through Safari, Maps, Spotlight, and anywhere on the Web through a link. Arguably, no other operating system or app has embedded messaging this deeply, apart from WeChat in China. iMessage Apps that were released in iOS 10 are given renewed relevance in iOS11 and with this announcement, with enhanced discoverability and a whole new platform to support business to person use cases.
The whole Smooch team is thrilled to see a brand like Apple take such defined steps towards business-to-person messaging. Business Chat is currently in developer preview, with general availability slated for 2018.
Smooch has commenced work on full support for the Business Chat developer preview, and we’ll make sure to remain in lockstep with Apple as the channel moves to become generally available. We’ll follow up with more information on our development roadmap as soon as more details emerge.