Apple has released a first version of Business Chat, which makes it possible for consumers to communicate with companies and organizations. Customers can talk to businesses through the existing iMessage application.
For now, Business Chat is only available within a developer preview of iOS 11, which was announced earlier at the WWDC conference. Interested companies can sign up on Apple’s website to try the service, but the chat option is not yet available to customers. That will likely happen this fall, when the final version of iOS 11 is released.
Communicating works via Apple’s iMessage platform, while companies can integrate their services with existing business software platforms such as Salesforce. It is also possible for customers to use Siri, or to make payments via Business Chat. For the latter, however, Apple Pay must be used; other payment methods are not supported. Other options include integration with the user’s calendar, so that you can immediately make appointments for a meeting.
The service seems similar to Facebook Messenger. This service also includes a business feature that businesses can sign up for, allowing them to run some of their customer service through the Messenger service.