Introduction

  • Version: 2.0.0
  • Last update: 20 September 2021

Apple Messages for Business is a service that allows your organization to directly chat with your customers using the Messages app. You can also use the full power of the iMessage framework to help your customers resolve issues, schedule appointments, make purchases, or make payments with Apple Pay. Businesses engage with a Messaging Service Provider (MSP) to manage customer inquiries through Messages for Business. Depending on your configuration, your customers can start a conversation through a Messages for Business entry point from your website, your app, emails and other touch points. Depending on your configuration, customers can also find your business and start a conversation from within Apple Maps or by tapping on your phone number.

The first step to communicating with your customers using Messages for Business is through Apple Business Register, where you can create a Messages for Business account. As shown in the diagram below, you need an MSP to connect your business to the Messages for Business service. An MSP provides the software and services necessary to allow your agents to respond from their consoles to customer messages sent from the Messages app on Apple devices. You can find a list of approved MSPs on Apple Business Register.

Messages for Business service flow
The Messages for Business service flow

Providers of business messaging and messaging service platforms can apply for an MSP account on Apple Business Register as well. There are very specific requirements for this type of account and applications are carefully reviewed.

Qualifying as a Business

To qualify for a Messages for Business account you must have an asynchronous messaging platform staffed by live agents during business hours. Your business must use an Apple-approved MSP.

In addition, your business must be willing and capable of offering comparable service to your customers over Messages for Business that it currently provides over your telephone support line.

Qualifying as a Messaging Service Provider

To qualify for a commercial MSP account your platform must support asynchronous messaging with live agents and basic automation support. Your platform is also expected to have the capability to determine customer intent, queue, prioritize, and route messages to the appropriate agent or group of agents, and send and receive messages and app content to your clients’ customers using the Messages for Business service.

Apple selects those businesses for the Messages for Business MSP program that have clients in the medium-to-large enterprise categories and are live on other asynchronous messaging channels. Once selected for the Messages for Business MSP program, you must complete full integration of all Messages for Business features and commit to staying current with all future updates and enhancements.

Operationally, you must demonstrate your capability to assist your business clients to be launch ready for Messages for Business. Launch ready means that your business clients must demonstrate the ability to resolve all customer queries that are regularly resolved over their telephone support line. In addition, your business clients must create a Messages for Business experience for each of the top 20 reasons that customers contact them. You must also provide technical support and guidance with integrating their apps and business services, such as a customer relationship management, authentication, and order management systems, with your platform to provide a rich Messages for Business experience.

To successfully launch brands with Messages for Business, you must develop a traffic ramp plan to support this channel, defining ways to drive users to use it, and ensure resources are in place to support it as usage increases. To enable intelligent resource planning, you need to work with brands to collect customer satisfaction and net promoter surveys, and other metrics.