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Apple's Business Chat is a Must-Have for Financial Service Brands - Here's Why

People spent a lot of time chatting with one another. Of the time we spend using our smartphones, nearly 25 percent of that is spent texting, and that doesn’t even include the time we spend using chat apps like Hangouts or Slack. Additionally, the smartphone user responds to texts in 90 seconds or less, and at worst, more than 90 percent of texts are read within three minutes after receipt. Mobile has undoubtedly changed how we view person-to-person communication, however brands that attempt to capitalize on their customers’ affinity for chatting often fall short of expectations.

Today’s most influential brands have been using chat-based customer service for several years, knowing that a significant portion of their customers expect them to be available 24/7 across multiple support channels. For brands who are just beginning to explore the opportunities of chat, the ecosystem can feel overwhelming, especially if you are attempting to overhaul the support workflow behind the scenes to make chat possible.

Regardless of your current situation, Apple’s newly launched Business Chat with iOS 11.3 probably feels like a breath of fresh air. Business Chat makes it possible for businesses to chat directly to their iOS customers directly within the stock Messages app. This new platform was released with the support of several partners, including major financial brands like Wells Fargo and Discover, as well as leaders in retail and hospitality.  

Business Chat marks the first time a global leader in mobile technology has taken the reins to help brands communicate more fluidly with their customers on mobile.

Although Business Chat is still officially in Beta, financial services brands looking for new, technology-forward opportunities to increase customer satisfaction should begin considering how Business Chat fits into their short-term roadmap. Here are just a few reasons why Business Chat is changing the customer service landscape.

Business Chat Leverages the Best of Texting

One of the most notable features of Business Chat is past message threads appear to the user directly within the Messages app. This means the user can received notifications during a chat, just like they would for any other text message conversation, and via their chat history at any time. This marks a significant departure from how brands connect with customers over chat today. With Business Chat, your customers are no longer required to login to your mobile app or navigate to your website to chat with customer service. Customer service is just one tap away.

Because Business Chat looks and feels like your users’ everyday texts, it significantly shortens the steps to engagement. Business Chat will become more popular as users uncover its accessibility compared with status quo support mechanisms, and as it does, you can expect the volume of support chats to rise considerably.

Business Chat is Crazy Smart

In today’s service landscape, customers are frequently required to answer several questions before an agent is made available and a problem is resolved. Most customers are used to this protocol, but as chat removes the headaches most notably associated with negative customer service experiences (mainly wait times and lack of resolution), it’s going to be more important for brands to tailor the conversation before a user ever engages with customer support.

With Business Chat, you can program context directly into the customer’s request to chat. For example, let’s assume that one of your customers discovers a fraudulent transaction while navigating your app. When that customer starts a support chat, you’ll be able to send data that helps identify the customer’s intent—or reason—for chatting with you. Instead of asking the customer to describe the problem he or she is having, your customer support representative is prepared to offer solutions immediately.

Business Chat is Customizable

One of the biggest headaches with chat-based support, especially on mobile, is gathering all of the information needed to resolve an issue in free-text format. Setting aside the potential for errors typed by the user, requiring the user to type for a long period of time on a small screen can become a hotbed of frustration, especially when you consider all the other tasks the user is likely attempting to complete while chatting with you.

Business Chat makes it simple to inject more user-friendly interface components directly into the conversation so that customers can answer questions with a single tap instead of writing a full sentence.

Returning to our example, a user who has noticed a fraudulent transaction may want to file a fraud report, they may want to freeze their account, or they may want to do both. With Business Chat’s baked-in interactive message components, you can send the customer a survey-like display that includes multiple choice answers to pick from. Not only does this method significantly shorten the conversation, but it creates opportunities to automate parts of the chat flow so that you can avoid involving agents early in chat.

Additionally, Business Chat supports sending and receiving media files, so our example user can upload a receipt if one is needed to support a dispute claim.

Business Chat Plays Nice with Major CSPs

Unfortunately, Business Chat isn’t available to everyone just yet. According to Apple, Business Chat is currently supported by some of the larger customer support providers, like Zendesk and Salesforce. If you use one of these tools, the workload required to make Business Chat possible has been frontloaded by the CSPs. If you use a separate partner to manage your conversation flows today, you should inquire about whether your CSP partner has Business Chat on their development roadmap.

Since Business Chat is still officially in Beta, we expect more CSPs will sign on to support it for their customers. Ultimately, CSP integration means that if you already have a workflow in place to support chat-based support, adding Business Chat into your iOS roadmap should allow you to borrow scale from the processes that are already working for you.

Business Chat is Secure

Apple is one of the most prominent leaders in encrypting users’ messages, so it’s no surprise that early adopters of Business Chat have come from the financial services arena or use Business Chat’s native capability to access Apple Pay payments directly with a chat. Security is, and should be, at the forefront of financial services brands’ decision-making. Fortunately, the integrations necessary to create a secure and user-friendly chat experience already exist within the Business Chat ecosystem.

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With so much competition, delivering excellent customer service across multiple channels has never been more important for financial services brands. If you’re curious about how you can make in-app chat or Business Chat work for your brand, get in touch with us. We’d be excited to help you explore all the possibilities.