Apple's Business Chat feature was first introduced in March along with iOS 11.3. The feature provides iMessage users with the ability to connect and interact with businesses directly in the News app on an iOS device.
Since then, more companies have integrated Business Chat, through which users can contact customer service, place orders, or ask a concierge to search on their behalf.
Current List of Companies
At launch, there were a handful of companies willing to talk to customers about business chat. In July, Apple announced that American Express, Aramark, Dish Network, Four Seasons and Harry & David have joined the platform. For an official list of companies that support business chat, visit the Apple Web site.
Over time, more companies will certainly support the function. But instead of relying on a constantly changing list, it's pretty easy to figure out when a company is using business chat.
What to look for
There are several ways to start a conversation with a company through your iOS device.
- If you are looking for a Spotlight for a business, look for the message icon. Tap to start a conversation.
- Search for a chat with a news button on a website.
- When you search in Safari, an AutoFill proposal may contain a News button.
Some companies, such as the retailer NewEgg, have integrated the chat feature into their iOS apps, providing another way to start a conversation.
Or, in the case of the Aramark integration, Philadelphia Phillies fans lucky enough to sit in a participating area of the ballpark can order a beer or use water with iMessage and have it delivered to their seat. Fans can scan a QR code on the backrest that opens a business chat with Aramark.
What can you do?
Once you tap the message icon, the News app will open on your iOS device with the filled recipient field. Enter your message, ask for help or say what you need.
For example, with Lowe you can ask for help and recommendations for your current project. You can also reschedule deliveries. The appearance of a business chat changes with the company you speak to. To be sure, a check mark indicates that you're talking to a real customer service representative, not someone who pretends to be a business.
For example, with 1-800-Flowers you can send a picture of flowers that you like and the representative will try to find a local option that best suits the photo. Sometimes they give you a drop-down menu to ask you a question.
You do not have to stay active in the conversation. As long as you leave the conversation on your iOS device, you can still get help whenever you want.
Some vendors currently support the purchase of a product or service directly in chat with Apple Pay, while others offer Apple Pay support in this area the next few months