Zendesk customers can now send iMessages directly to Apple users with Apple Business Chat

Now in general availability, the service lets organizations connect directly to customers in an interface they're familiar with.

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Image: Apple

Zendesk and Apple have announced the general availability of Apple Business Chat, a service that allows business users to connect iMessage capabilities to their customer support software.

Customer service software provider Zendesk has been working with Apple during the Business Chat beta to test the new service with several of its clients, like Freshly and the Four Seasons hotel and resort chain. Now that the service is generally available, Zendesk clients will all be able to add Apple Business Chat to its Zendesk environment.

"For Zendesk customers, this opens another channel for them to communicate with customers in the way that feels easiest and most convenient to them. We're excited that more customers can now harness the power of modern messaging to build digitally transformative customer experiences on any Apple device," said Zendesk SVP and GM platform, Warren Levitan.

Levitan's statement that ease and convenience for customers is an important part of Apple Business Chat is backed up by findings from Zendesk's 2020 State of Messaging report, which found that customer service interactions via messaging apps have the highest customer satisfaction rate of any communications channel at 98%. 

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The report also stated that the top reasons for businesses to adopt messaging in their customer service platform were issue resolution speed, 24-hour support capabilities, more personal interactions, and efficiency for their support teams. 

"By integrating Apple Business Chat into our Zendesk Support instance, we are able to build loyalty with our customers and provide faster support, while simultaneously making it a more seamless customer experience," said Freshly's VP of customer experience, Colin Crowley. 

Zendesk integrates Apple Business Chat not only by allowing customer service agents to carry on conversations without leaving the Zendesk app, but also by allowing customers to contact businesses via iMessage directly from their websites or mobile apps.

Zendesk is also offering Apple Business Chat as part of its Sunshine Conversations messaging service, which Zendesk advertises as the platform for "conversational businesses." Sunshine is a unified messaging platform that supports multiple messaging apps and services, which now includes Apple Business Chat.

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Along with being a preferred communication method for customers, integrating software like Apple Business Chat into customer service platforms can lower costs, add additional self-service options, unlock new revenue streams, and "bring customer experiences to the next level," Zendesk said.

The addition of Business Chat to Zendesk doesn't come cheap, though: Plans that integrate Apple Business Chat start at $495 per month, and additional tiers are only available for an annual commitment price that's not listed on Zendesk's site. 

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