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iMessage Business Chat Continues Slow Rollout, Adding Multiple New Brands and Supported Platforms

Apple launched iMessage Business Chat earlier this year as part of iOS 11.3, but at the time only a select few companies were signed on to support the feature. Four months later, we're now starting to see the next Business Chat partners go live. Sarah Perez reports for TechCrunch:

In addition to Dish becoming the first TV provider to support Business Chat, Apple says it has also added four other brands, Aramak, Four Seasons, Harry & David, and American Express, in addition to five new technology platforms businesses can integrate with.

To this point Business Chat has primarily been deployed as a customer support solution, but with these new companies comes more diversity in how the feature is being used. In particular, I'm intrigued by what Aramark is doing with Business Chat as a customer service tool. Perez writes:

Aramak is piloting a 10-game “Brew2You” program at Citizens Bank Park, the home of the Philadelphia Phillies. Fans will be able to scan a QR code on their seat back in three sections to order beer or water over iMessage, and have it delivered right to their seat.

Ordering drinks at a ball game is a perfect use case for Business Chat, and one I hope catches on with related markets, both sports and otherwise. Movie theaters, concerts, or Broadway shows that offer the ability to order refreshments from your seat would be another great fit.

I used Business Chat for the first time last week with Dish, and the service worked as advertised, offering a pain-free support experience that's miles ahead of a traditional phone call or other web chat service. While expansion has gotten off to a slow start, I'm hopeful that with Apple targeting not just individual brands, but also large platforms like Cisco, it will be easy for more businesses to get on board sooner rather than later.