AWS Contact Center

Provide convenient customer support through Apple Business Chat with Amazon Connect

Amazon Connect Chat enables you to provide customer support through web and mobile chat. Since chat is asynchronous, your customers are able to respond at their own pace, just as they would when texting with a friend. Now, through the Amazon Connect Chat integration for Apple Business Chat, you can deliver that same convenient and familiar customer service directly through the Apple Messages app. Apple Business Chat makes it easy for your customers to chat with you anytime they click on your registered phone number on an Apple device. This helps reduce contact center call volumes while increasing customer satisfaction. According to James Harvey, Sr. Experience Designer at Origin Energy, the Amazon Connect integration with Apple Business Chat “is a game-changer for how Origin can serve its customers. It allows Origin to have a presence where our customers are already engaging, enabling a seamless experience within a key channel that iOS customers already use every day.

Amazon Connect’s native integration with Apple Business Chat (currently in preview) provides access to the contact flows, routing, and Lex chatbots you’re already using for voice and chat. This allows you to create a personalized and guided experience for your customers. In this blog post, you will learn how to get started with Apple Business Chat through Amazon Connect and become familiar with key features you can leverage as a part of this integration.

Getting started with Apple Business Chat

Register with Apple

To start using Apple Business Chat with Amazon Connect, you’ll first need to register with Apple. Please follow the steps below to complete your Apple registration:

  1. Go to the Apple Business Chat page.
  2. Click Get Started as a brand.
  3. On the next page, you’ll be prompted to “Sign in with your Apple ID to continue” If you do not already have Apple ID for your business, Create an Apple ID. Note: If you have a personal Apple ID, you should create a separate one using your organization’s email address to administer Business Chat. A separate administrative Apple ID lets you distinguish Business Chat communications from personal Apple communications.
  4. Once you’ve entered your Apple ID or created an Apple ID, you’ll be directed to the “Business Chat Accounts” page:
    1. Click “Add New” in the top-right corner to create an Apple Business Chat Account.
    2. Click “Get Started”
    3. Accept Apple’s Terms of Use and click “Next”
    4. Accept Apple’s Business Chat Policies and click “Next” when done
  5. On the next page, you’ll need to provide:
    1. Business Chat Account Applicant details
    2. Brand Information Card
    3. Brand Identity details
    4. Messaging Service Provider Configuration – when you reach this step, select Amazon Connect as the MSP (Messaging Service Provider) from the drop-down list. If Amazon Connect does not appear in the drop-down list, click on “Advanced” and enter the following URL: https://messagingintegrations.connect.amazonaws.com/applebusinesschat
  6. Click Send for review to submit your application to Apple. You’ll be able to see the status of your application at the top of your Business Chat Account page.

Refer to Apple’s Getting Started with Business Chat and Business Chat Policies if you need any further guidance on these steps.

Link your Apple Business Account to Amazon Connect

Now that you have registered with Apple, you may sign up for our preview. After being approved, please follow the below steps to link your Apple Business Account to Amazon Connect:

  1. Once your Business Chat Account is approved by Apple, you’ll be provided with a unique Apple Business Chat ID. You can find the Business Chat ID by going to your Business Chat Account page and scrolling down to the Messaging Service Provider section.
  2. From there, click on Test your Messaging Service Provider connection.
  3. After that, you’ll be directed to this AWS page where you can sign up for preview access to the Amazon Connect integration for Apple Business Chat. On this page, you’ll fill out a form where you must provide the following details:
    1. Apple Business Chat ID
    2. Amazon Connect Instance ID: this is the instance you’d like to link your Apple Business Chat Account with. If you do not already have an Amazon Connect instance, you can create one by visiting the AWS Management console. For more information see Create an Amazon Connect instance.
    3. Amazon Connect Contact Flow ID: this is the contact flow you’d like to use for inbound Apple Business Chat messages. Contact flows define the experiences for your customers when they begin a new chat. You can find your contact flow ID by following these steps:
      1. Log in to your Amazon Connect instance.
      2. In the left navigation bar, pause on Routing, and then choose Contact flows.
      3. Select the Contact flow you’d like to use.
      4. In the contact flow designer, expand Show additional flow information.
      5. Under ARN, you’ll see Amazon Resource Name (ARN) which is composed of your Amazon Connect Instance ID and Contact Flow ID. It looks like the following: arn:aws:connect:region:123456789012:instance/12a34b56-7890-1234-cde5-6789f0a1b2c3/contact-flow/123a45b6-c7d8-9012-34e5-6fab789c012d
      6. Copy the contact flow ID (everything after contact-flow/)
    4. Expected Apple Business Chat daily message volume

If you need further guidance on these steps, please refer to the Amazon Connect documentation for Apple Business Chat or reach out to AWS Support.

Key features of Apple Business Chat

Once you have registered with Apple and have linked your Apple Business Chat Account with Amazon Connect, you’re ready to start customizing your account to meet your business needs. Here are some of the unique features:

Call deflection with Apple’s Chat Suggest

When you register a phone number with Apple, Chat Suggest proactively surfaces the option to chat when users click to call your business’ phone number in Safari, Maps, Siri, or Search. Once a customer selects the messaging option, they are directed to the Messages app. This offers a powerful voice deflection strategy, reducing voice support costs by shifting call volume to messaging.

Apple Chat Suggest also allows you to control how many users are presented with the option to message you. For example, Apple provides throttling capabilities if at first you only want to show 20% of customers the option to message your business before scaling up to 100% over time.

To enable Chat Suggest, send an email to the Apple Business Chat Team (registry@apple.com) with the following information. Apple will set up the feature for you:

  • Provide all of your primary phone numbers, including high call volume phone numbers.
  • Provide phone contact hours to set customer expectations for your after hours message.
  • Provide intent, group, and body parameters to associate with each phone number.
  • Provide an estimate of how many customers your agents can support per day. This can be increased or decreased depending on operational capacity.

To learn more about enabling Chat Suggest, please refer to Apple’s Chat Suggest FAQs and Chat Suggest Guide.

Embedding Apple Business Chat buttons into your website and mobile apps

Customers also have the ability to start a conversation with you through your website or mobile app when you set up Apple Business Chat buttons and message URLs with a clear Call to Action.

Beyond your website and app, you can configure these buttons to be displayed in communication channels like email, social and digital campaigns.

To embed Apple Business Chat buttons on you website, follow these steps:

  1. Add Apple’s Business Chat JS (javascript) library to your webpage headers
  2. Add a <div> container to house the button
  3. Customize the banner, fallback support, and button color to meet your brand’s needs

The Business Chat button must contain the following, at minimum:

  • A class attribute to specify the type of container: banner, phone, or message. For more information, see Business Chat Button Class and Data Attributes.
  • A data-apple-business-id attribute with the business ID you received when you registered your company with Business Chat.

To learn more about enabling Apple Business Chat Buttons to your website, please refer to Apple’s documentation for Adding a Business Chat Button to Your Website. To learn about enabling a button in your mobile app, please refer to Apple’s Starting a Chat from your App documentation.

Using list pickers and time pickers to create interactive messaging experience

Now that you have enabled Chat Suggest and website buttons through Apple, you may consider creating interactive messaging experiences for your customers through list pickers and time pickers.

Apple Business Chat offers two types of interactive messages:

(1) List pickers, which prompt the customer to select an item, such as a product or the reason for their inquiry.

(2) Time pickers, which prompt the customer to choose an available time slot, such as to schedule an appointment.

These messages are powered by Amazon Lex, allowing you to create fully automated, personalized conversations with an Amazon Lex chatbot. In addition, the Amazon Connect Chat interactive message templates support list pickers and time pickers for both Apple Business Chat as well as web and mobile chat. This makes it easy to leverage these same experiences across all chat channels.

To learn more about how you can enable these messages types for Apple Business Chat, refer to our blog post on setting up interactive messages for your Amazon Connect Chatbot.

Customizing contact flows for Apple Business Chat

Amazon Connect’s omnichannel architecture lets you use the same features you’re already familiar with, like queues, routing profiles, contact flows, and metrics. This is to build rich and differentiated experiences for Apple Business Chat customers. For example, once you’ve completed your Apple registration and Amazon Connect setup for Apple Business Chat, you can leverage the same contact flows you’ve already built for voice and chat for Apple Business Chat. This allows you to start receiving, routing, and responding to messages right away. You also have the flexibility to create customized contact flows using specific Apple Business Chat attributes. For example, you can use the “MessagingPlatform” attribute if you want to route Apple Business Chat messages differently from other chat or voice contacts.

To branch based on “MessagingPlatform,” follow these steps:

  1. Add a Check Contact Attributes block to the beginning of your contact flow
  2. Configure the block with the following inputs:
    1. Type: User Defined
    2. Attribute: MessagingPlatform
    3. Conditions to check = AppleBusinessChat

You can also keep track of unique users by the “CustomerId” attribute. When a chat is started through Apple Business Chat, a user defined contact attribute is set with the key CustomerId. This is a unique resource name for each Apple user. Apple obfuscates who the user is, but you can store the value in your own system, like an Amazon DynamoDB table, and associate data with that ID. For example, if a customer is connected to the agent and the agent is able to authenticate the customer based on a few questions, you can then store the unique ID in a database in connection with who the customer is so that the next time the customer starts a chat, you can greet them personally.

To learn more about the custom Apple attributes used in contact flows, please refer to the Amazon Connect documentation for Apple Business Chat.

Unlocking the power of Apple Business Chat with Amazon Connect

Amazon Connect’s native integration with Apple Business Chat makes it easy for you to provide convenient and familiar customer service directly through the Apple Messages app. Anytime an iPhone user clicks to call your registered phone number, Apple provides the option to chat, reducing contact center costs and enabling customers to respond at their own pace. Customers interact with you directly through their Apple Messages application, just as they would when chatting with a friend or family member. Please refer to the Apple Business Chat documentation for additional information. To sign up for the preview, please go to preview sign-up page.