Apple Business Chat: Connect with customers in Messages app

Alicja Pawliczak
10 min read
updated: Nov 19, 2020

By using the Messages app on iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches, your customers can easily contact your business, receive real-time support and access products or services.

The service is seamless from your agent’s perspective. Chats, incoming from the Apple service, are managed within the LiveChat Agent Application. There is no need for customer service agents to learn a new interface.

Integration tutorial

To integrate LiveChat with Apple Business Chat, you’ll need to set up and configure your Apple Business Chat account, connect your Apple Business Chat account with LiveChat, and add a way for your customer to contact you via Messages. Here’s how to do it:

1. Create an Apple Business Account

First, go to Apple Business Register and connect your Apple ID with Apple Business. We recommend using an Apple ID that is connected to your business email.

2. Add Business Account for Messages

Next, add a Business Account for Messages:

  1. Go to Manage Services.

  1. In the Messages section, find Business Accounts for Messages and click + Add service.

  1. Click Done at the bottom of the page.

3. Configure your Business Chat Account

Next you will need to add a Business Chat Account:

  1. In Connected Services, click on the Business Chat Accounts tile.

  1. In the new window, click on + Add new in the top left corner.
  1. Then, click on Get Started.
  2. Read and agree to Apple Business Chat policies. Check all boxes and click Next to proceed.

Now you need to fill out your application. It will need to be reviewed by Apple before you can start using Business Chat.

  1. The first part of the application consists of general questions about your business, such as basic company details and the contact person in your company. Fill out all mandatory fields, and click Next to move on to the next steps.
  2. In the second part of the application, you need to provide information that will be displayed on the Brand Information Card. For example your website address and agent response hours.
  3. In the third part of the application, you’ll need to upload your brand logo that will be displayed in the Messages app.
  4. In the last part of the application, you need to select the messaging service provider – in this case it’s LiveChat.

    To do so, click on the dropdown list, and select LiveChat from the list.

  1. You will then be asked to test your Messaging Service Provider connection. You need to click on the link.
PLEASE NOTE: If this is not available for you at a given moment, wait until your Business Chat account has been approved before proceeding with steps 9 & 10.
PLEASE NOTE: If this is not available for you at a given moment, wait until your Business Chat account has been approved before proceeding with steps 9 & 10.

Test your Messaging Service Provider connection.

  1. Then click on the Connect button.

  1. Sign in using your LiveChat credentials and follow the instructions.

  1. Once you sign in with LiveChat credentials, you should see the below screen informing you which LiveChat license is going to be connected with your Apple Business Chat. If you are ready to proceed, click Connect Business Chat Account.

Connect LiveChat with Business Chat

Your LiveChat license is now connected to your Apple Business Chat account.

  1. Finally, check if all the information you provided is correct and click Send for review.

You will now enter the review process with the Apple QA Team. You will be provided with precise information about further steps. If you are setting up Apple Business Chat for the first time, allow additional time for the review process.

You’ll need answers for the following questions:

  • What are your use cases for Apple Business Chat?
  • Which entry points do you plan to use?
  • Is your Support Team ready to use the integration?

4. Setup entry points

To let your customers reach you via Apple Business Chat, you need to set up entry points:

  1. Starting a Chat from your App
  2. Adding a Business Chat Button to Your Website
  3. Starting a Chat from a URL

How the integration works

Once the integration is implemented, your customers can send you messages. Customers messaging you via Apple Business Chat will appear in the Chats list with the integration logo, and will automatically be named according to the following format: Customer #<12 LiveChat CustomerID characters>.

The Apple Business Chat messages will appear in the Chats tab, just like all chats do. You will find them in the Unassigned chats section on the chats list. To reply to a message, select the chat from the list and click on Assign to me. Then you can send a message as usual.

Unassigned messages stay on the Chat list until they are assigned to an agent and closed. So you can answer whenever it is convenient.

You can also use a few extra features that make for an even better chatting experience.

In order to use those features, select a chat coming from Apple Business Chat integration and open the integration app from the details section on the right.

The integration app consists of 4 tabs, one for every message component available, and a settings button. A message component is a rich message that you can send over chat. The Settings button in the gear icon.

List picker

You can create a list of items, for example, a few similar products that might interest the customer.

To send a list:

1
Go to a chat and open the Apple Business Chat app from the details bar on the right.
2
Select and click on the List picker tile.
3
Click on the New button in the upper right corner.
4
Fill out all relevant fields and click Send.

You can also save each list picker as a reusable template and have it ready to send when you need it. The steps are almost identical as above:

  1. Go to a chat and open the Apple Business Chat app from the details bar on the right.
  2. Select and click on the List picker tile.
  3. Click on the New button in the upper right corner.
  4. Fill out all relevant fields and click Save as template.

Templates can be edited, duplicated, or deleted from the list at any time.

To use or edit templates, simply:

  1. Go to a chat and open the Apple Business Chat app from the details bar on the right.

  2. Select and click on the List picker tile.

  3. Click on the list picker you want to use/edit.

  1. Change the information in the fields and click Save changes and/or click Send on the bottom.

Time picker

Propose time and date options for a meeting and let customers reserve one in chat. They will be able to see any potential conflict thanks to an automatic cross-check with the Calendar app on their iPhone.

To send a meeting invite:

1
Go to a chat and open the Apple Business Chat app from the details bar on the right.
2
Select and click on the Time picker tile.
3
Fill out all relevant fields and click Send.

Just as the List picker, Time picker can be saved as a reusable template:

  1. Go to a chat and open the Apple Business Chat app from the details bar on the right.
  2. Select and click on Time picker tile.
  3. Click on the New button in the upper right corner.
  4. Fill out all relevant fields and click Save as template.

Those templates can also be edited, duplicated, or deleted from the list.

To use or edit templates, simply:

  1. Go to a chat and open the Apple Business Chat app from the details bar on the right.

  2. Select and click on the Time picker tile.

  3. Click on the time picker you want to use/edit.

  1. Change the information in fields and click Save changes and/or click Send on the bottom.

Settings

In the Settings tab, you can route chats to specific groups and set up a fallback Rich Link title and image. The fallback image comes in handy when there is no OG image for a given website, or when the image is not available, or there are problems with passing the OG image. To set up the fallback image:

1
Go to a chat and open the Apple Business Chat app from the details bar on the right.
2
Click on the Settings icon and scroll down to Rich Link image.
3
Fill out the relevant fields and click Save.

There are a few additional features, that need work on the developer side and can’t be used out of the box. You can read more about them in the developer docs: Apple Pay, Authenticationtion, and Custom extension.

Routing chats to groups

There are two basic routing configurations for integrating LiveChat with Apple Business Chat. You can route all Apple Business Chats to one group in LiveChat, or you can direct chats with different Groups/Intents in Apple Business Chat to different groups in LiveChat.

Routings all chats to one group

To direct all your Apple Business Chats to a specific group in LiveChat, use the Catch-all setting. To do that:

1
Go to a chat and open the Apple Business Chat app from the details bar on the right.
2
Click on the gear icon to open Settings.
3
Pick the Catch-all option.
4
In the field that appears enter your LiveChat group ID and click Save.
The get the LiveChat Group ID, log in to LiveChat in a web browser, go to the Agents section and click on Groups. Click on the chosen group - the group ID is displayed at the end of the URL, e.g. it is the 128 in https://my.livechatinc.com/agents/groups/128.
The get the LiveChat Group ID, log in to LiveChat in a web browser, go to the Agents section and click on Groups. Click on the chosen group - the group ID is displayed at the end of the URL, e.g. it is the 128 in https://my.livechatinc.com/agents/groups/128.

Routing chats to specific groups

Use Prioritize and route messages to set any number of rules for each Group or Intent in the Apple Business Chat. Each such rule can direct the chats to a different group in LiveChat. See this article for information on how to set up groups in LiveChat. Once your LiveChat groups are set up follow the steps below.

1
Go to a chat and open the Apple Business Chat app from the details bar on the right.
2
Click on the gear icon to open Settings.
3
Pick the Prioritize and route messages option.
4
Fill out the relevant fields and click Save.
5
Click on Add next route to set up more rules.

This way all chats started on a given page can be directed to your Sales team, and chats started on other pages to the Support team, for example. More information about Apple Groups and Intents can be found here.

For now, the integration allows only one Apple Business account to be connected to one LiveChat license. We are working on a solution that will allow you to connect multiple Apple Business accounts to one license.

Security

Using LiveChat together with Apple Business Chat is safe and secure. There are no additional considerations when it comes to using Apple Business Chat as an additional channel alongside the website widget.

Both the connections between an Apple user and Apple Business Chat, and between Apple Business Chat and LiveChat, are secured using sophisticated encryption methods and don’t use any propriety services underneath.

The integration that routes messages from Apple Business Chat to LiveChat (and the other way around) is hosted within the same, thoroughly secured infrastructure as other LiveChat services. You can read more about LiveChat privacy policy here.

Apple Business Chat itself is a service that operates as a transmitter – Apple doesn’t store any of the chats. All the messages are instantly transmitted to MSP (LiveChat). You can read more about Apple Business Chat privacy here.

Rich Messages

At the moment Apple Business Chat supports a limited number of rich messages. With that said, if you’d like to use LiveChat with our ChatBot, please remember that the integration doesn’t support Cards, Carousels, and Quick Replies.

If you are already using ChatBot and your story contains any of these rich messages, please replace them with plain text messages for chats from Apple Business Chat specifically. You can route the Apple Business chats to a group with a separate ChatBot story, one without these rich messages (see Routing chats to specific groups above).

Please note that Apple Business Chat integration is only available for customers using our Business or Enterprise plans.
Please note that Apple Business Chat integration is only available for customers using our Business or Enterprise plans.

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