Article

How to use Apple Messages for Business for customer service

Use Apple Messages for Business to connect with customers on the Apple devices and platforms they use every day.

By Emily Miels, Contributing Writer

Published October 1, 2021
Last updated October 15, 2021

It’s hard to find a brand with a more loyal following of diehard supporters than Apple. According to a 2021 SellCell survey, brand loyalty for Apple customers is at “an all-time high of nearly 92 percent.” That’s up from (an already high) 90.5 percent in 2019.

Those Apple users already likely spend much of their time in Apple’s Messages app—making it the perfect place for companies to reach customers and provide support.

Your business can reach Apple-loyal customers by embracing Apple Messages for Business for customer service. You’ll have the ability to connect quickly and efficiently with customers on the Apple devices and platforms they use every day.

What is Apple Messages for Business?

Apple Messages for Business (formerly Apple Business Chat) is a messaging platform that allows companies to communicate with customers directly through Messages in iOS, macOS, watchOS, and iPadOS.

Similar to Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and other rich messaging channels, Apple Messages for Business allows for advanced features like high-quality videos and images, list pickers, payments, and augmented reality. Customers can ask questions, get support, schedule appointments, make purchases with Apple Pay, and more.

Best of all, customers don’t need to download a separate application to take advantage of these features. Instead, they’re available right through the Messages app on the Apple devices and platforms they’re already using.

Why use Apple Messages for Business for customer service?

Use Apple Messages for Business alongside other messaging apps to connect with more customers on their preferred platform in a convenient and safe way.

Simplify your support experience for Apple users

In general, people prefer messaging over other channels. Research from Avochato, a business messaging platform, showed that 63 percent of respondents would opt to “switch to a company that offered text messaging as a communication channel.”

The popular meal delivery service Freshly partnered with Zendesk to embrace text messaging to promote engagement, sending more than 400 texts per week. The result was more communication with customers and increased efficiency.

“There’s an overall organic increase in the number of customers contacting us because we’ve now made it easier for them to do so,” says Colin Crowley, Freshly’s VP of customer service. “Zendesk has allowed customers to move away from other channels while also putting contacts into more efficient channels for us.”

“There’s an overall organic increase in the number of customers contacting us because we’ve now made it easier for them to do so.”Colin Crowley, Freshly’s VP of customer service

Take that preference for messaging and apply it to the more than 1 billion active iPhone users worldwide, not to mention Apple Watch and Mac users. It only makes sense to give these Apple loyalists—many of whom are or could be your customers—the best customer service experience possible on the devices they prefer. Apple Messages for Business can help you do that.

Apple users can easily connect with your business and initiate a conversation through apps they’re already using on a daily basis, such as Safari, Spotlight, or Apple Maps. With Message Suggest (formerly Chat Suggest), users also have the ability to start a conversation by simply tapping on your company’s phone number.

“It’s really for businesses to support those diehard iOS fans,” says Panchaya Pimprapoat, a Zendesk product expert.

Keep customer data safe and private

With the average data breach costing $3.86 million and more than 334,000 complaints of fraud via text last year alone, companies and customers alike are concerned about protecting sensitive information.

Apple Messages for Business has privacy protections in place to bring both parties peace of mind. Companies must go through an approved vendor like Zendesk to use Apple Messages for Business. This additional vetting makes it more difficult for scammers and illegitimate organizations to set up Apple Messages for Business accounts.

Apple Messages for Business also allows verified companies to include branded logos, colors, and imagery in their messages. This, plus the “Verified” mark next to the brand’s name, provides instant recognition and a sense of legitimacy, increasing the likelihood that the customer will engage with you.

For example, when interacting with 1-800-Flowers.com over Apple Messages for Business, customers see the same purple branding and logo as they do across the company’s other platforms. It’s easier to tell whether a message is coming from a legitimate, well-known brand—or from a scammer.

lead gen forms

Customers also have to initiate Apple Messages for Business conversations. Their personal information, including their name and phone number, is hidden unless they opt to share it. Once they delete or end a conversation, you can’t contact the customer again unless they reach out. Customers feel safer when they have control over what data they’re sharing and how they interact with your business.

Increase speed and efficiency

Apple Messages for Business features make customer service interactions quick and streamlined for both the business and the customer.

Customers using Apple Messages for Business can easily make payments, schedule appointments, select items from list pickers, and escalate to a customer support agent right through the text conversation. There’s no need to use another app or switch between platforms.

Overall, texting can also be less taxing on customers than a phone call. There’s no need to wait on hold, which customers say is one of the most frustrating aspects of a bad customer service experience, according to the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report. Plus, texting tends to lend itself more toward multi-tasking than a phone call does.

On the business side, these customer messages can seamlessly integrate with your existing workflow and messaging platform for easy management and follow-up.

Best practices for using Apple Messages for Business

You’ll get the best results from Apple Messages for Business if you make things easy for your customers and share messages that resonate with them.

  • Keep it clear and simple

    Promote messaging as a viable option for your customers by making it obvious and accessible. Integrate Apple’s business chat across frequently used platforms—such as your website, Maps, and Siri—so it’s always top of mind.

    To help customers make the connection, place “contact” icons in highly visible places, like in an eye-catching pop-up or in the top or bottom navigation bar on your website. Recognizable symbols, like a message bubble or smartphone, are also helpful.

  • Ensure messages are easy to understand

    Messaging should be intuitive and straightforward for your customers. Utilize pictures, gifs, and emojis to break up big chunks of text and replicate a normal messaging interaction. You should also avoid using industry jargon and too many acronyms that may confuse your customers.

  • Automate support so you don’t leave customers hanging...

    Nobody likes being “left on read.” To make sure your customers get a fast response, set up an automated chatbot to respond to messages in off-hours. AI-powered bots can share answers to basic questions and provide an estimated response time if a request must escalate to a live agent.

    It’s also helpful to have a clear end to the conversation. Wrap things up by asking the customer if they have more questions or need further assistance before the chat ends.

  • ...But allow them to connect with a live agent if necessary

    While many messaging interactions may start with a bot, customers should have the option to connect with an agent in real-time when needed.

    You can program bots to respond to keywords like “help,” “agent,” or “support” so customers are never left scrambling to resolve issues. In fact, Apple requires that companies using the platform make live support available during regular business hours.

Up your customer service game with Apple Messages for Business

If you’re looking to expand your customer service platforms, it’s easy to get started with Apple Messages for Business. You can connect with Apple users by registering for the platform through Apple. Then, work with a customer service platform that seamlessly integrates with Apple’s business chat—like Zendesk—to customize it to meet your needs and take full advantage of the available features.

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