Organizations are experiencing a widespread period of disruption in which they must develop new strategies to engage consumers via digital channels. In this environment, many traditional methodologies are slipping into the background as convenient customer experiences become critical. However, employees need the right tools to deliver powerful services. Apple is entering this space to help businesses blend the customer and employee experience, and it's doing so in the form of its new Apple Business Chat solution.
Understanding the new customer service reality
Businesses are transforming their operations around the functionality offered by digital technologies. This objective means creating cohesive customer journeys in which users can move between devices, channels and services without any strain. In financial services, for example, this movement means ensuring that an account update made via mobile app is immediately reflected in web systems. Organizations can't have silos between their communications and operational channels.
"Businesses are transforming their operations around the functionality offered by digital technologies."
This transformed reality is often incredibly problematic for customer support representatives. While customer-facing services are increasingly integrated with APIs and similar frameworks, many organizations still ask their employees to move between spreadsheets and diverse apps to access the information they need for a given call. In customer service, this often means manually entering data across multiple systems while trying to discuss a problem with a user.
At the same time, customers are often frustrated before they even get to the service representative because many user-facing support tools aren't well optimized in light of today's expectations for convenience. This problem is where Apple Business Chat fits into the equation.
What is Apple Business Chat?
Many organizations have begun to use chatbots because they realize users find text-based chat easy when seeking support. In theory, a bot can direct users to resources on your website or advise them to call customer support. Human-based webchat features do the same thing, with more nuanced advice available, but both methods end up being limited, as more consumers are spending most of their device-related time on smartphones and tablets.
With web slipping away, organizations need a new way to offer convenient text messaging, and Apple Business Chat is stepping into to fill the mobile void. The solution lets users send messages directly to customer support representatives, making communication convenient. Furthermore, companies can build in tools to alleviate pain points.
For example, an Apple Insider report detailing the new chat tool highlighted how logging into an account is usually terrible on customer support calls. Verbally providing credentials to a support representative is awkward and slow. Logging in online and hoping the service agent can follow along with what you're doing requires you to have multiple devices running and creates confusing conversations. With Apple Business Chat, companies can build a customer login tool into the chat app, allowing users to intuitively log themselves in to find a balance between privacy and convenience.
According to Apple Insider, one of the most important capabilities of the new chat tool is that it isn't designed as a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, Apple is releasing a software development kit that enables organizations to build their own versions of the app.
Organizations that take the time to create a custom Apple Business Chat application can use the solution to achieve a variety of benefits, such as:
- Offering a fully branded chat experience.
- Solving specific customer and employee pain points by integrating image uploads, account logins and similar capabilities.
- Creating a single point of entry where customers can get help and move directly into managing a transaction with Apple Pay and similar capabilities.
Convenient chat functionality via mobile has been the missing link in customer support. As businesses try to transform around digital technologies, this gap has become only more apparent. Apple could be solving this shortfall for plenty of companies, and many are jumping on the bandwagon. Here's one example.
T-Mobile embraces Apple Business Chat
T-Mobile recently became the first U.S. wireless provider to offer Apple Business Chat. In its announcement detailing the release, the company called the new app a "game-changer."
Here's how simple the solution is:
- To initiate a chat, users swipe right on iOS.
- From there, search T-Mobile, and hit the Chat icon.
That's it. Once the icon is selected, users can connect with a customer support representative and discuss what they need help with.
Major brands are already taking advantage of Apple Business Chat, even though it was just released in March, and the technology can be accessible for companies working in a variety of settings.
Putting chat to work in your business
Most of the architecture for Apple Business Chat is incredibly simple from the end-user perspective. The real challenge is using the SDK to create a custom version of the app. If ramping up customer service is important to you, we can help.
At MC Services, we offer a combination of IT consulting and custom development services to help brands develop app strategies and execute on them. With our in-house Apple expertise and development services in place, we can empower companies to take advantage of new capabilities as Apple creates them, something that extends to solutions like Apple Business Chat.
As businesses try to transform around digital technologies, they need the right apps to align customer and employee experiences. Don't let the demand for customization intimidate you. Contact us today, and we can help.