Business Chat for iMessage new in iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4

Included in iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4 is a new way to communicate with companies called Business Chat. Available in the United States, but will roll out worldwide. Business Chat lets you conveniently use iMessage for customer service and even complete transactions with Apple Pay. Check out our hands-on to see how it works.

What’s Business Chat?

In the age of texting, the appeal of Business Chat for customers is receiving customer service from companies over iMessage without ever having to make a phone call, wait on hold, and sit through service menus.

For businesses, customer support staff can efficiently help more people at the same time using existing customer service platforms. Customers use a form of communication that they already know, and business support staff respond from their existing service platform.

Where does Business Chat work?

For users, Business Chat conversations happen in the Messages app on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch, and you can start a Business Chat from business listings in Maps, Spotlight search, Siri results, and on the web with Safari.

You’ll need iOS 11.3 or later and macOS 10.13.4 or later to use Business Chat, and companies supporting Business Chat appear to still be rolling out the feature in different places.

From here you can send your message and begin chatting with customer service. I started with a simple “Hi” which quickly lead to buying flowers for delivery with Apple Pay.

The feature is also designed not to share your personal information without your permission. For example, the customer service agent can’t see your name or phone number without you sharing it, even though you’re using the Messages app.

When you close a Business Chat session (at least on iOS for now), Business Chat will ask if you want to be contacted again in the future or not as well. Selecting no will close the session and prevent future messages from reaching you.

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