Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Apple Moves to Grab a Slice of the Contact Center

July 13, 2017

Apple is reportedly building a strategy to get into the contact center space.  Michael F. Finneran, president of advisory firm dBrn Associates Inc., points this out in a recent article.

The tech giant made its interest in contact center solutions clear when it discussed that the iOS capability known as Business Chat will integrate with Apple’s Messages and other apps to allow CRM systems and contact centers to improve the customer experience, he said. But this important news was vastly underreported, Finneran added, because it was just one of many announcements Apple made at its recent developer conference, and its consumer-oriented unveilings got the bulk of the attention.

“With Business Chat, Apple will provide businesses with a text-based method for communicating and engaging with customers through their contact center or CRM systems,” wrote Finneran. “Not only will it allow businesses to communicate with customers, but also let those customers make payments and complete other tasks. At its base, Business Chat provides a persistent chat capability through Apple's messaging app, Messages, and will provide access to all of the existing Messages capabilities.”

“Customers will be able to access Business Chat through Safari (browser), Spotlight (search function), Siri (personal assistant), and Maps (navigation),” he wrote. “In any one of those applications, a company will be able to add a button to initiate chats.”

Finneran pointed out the similarities of this Apple strategy and that of China’s WeChat. The latter is a popular messaging and social media service that now also features advertising, e-commerce, games, payment functionality, and taxi hailing. 

WebChat seems to have set the stage on this front for more than just one Silicon Valley giant. In fact, Peter Friendman of social customer experience company LiveWorld in an interview with me last year compared Facebook’s Messenger Platform with bots effort to that of WeChat.

As I wrote in my Top of Mind editorial in the May 2016 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine: “People today are used to interacting with apps and web pages, notes Friedman of LiveWorld, but that is a fraction of what people do daily. Facebook Messenger and similar solutions from companies like SnapChat, WeChat, and WhatsApp, he says, will move things back to conversational patterns in which control is in the hands of the customer (as opposed to the app or website designer).”

Edited by Alicia Young