Note: At the moment, Freshchat customers cannot integrate a new Apple Messages for Business account. However, customers who have already set up the integration can continue using it as per this article. 


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Apple Messages for Business will enable you to connect with customers directly from within Messages. Integrating your Chat account with Messages for Business allows you to interact with customers, respond to their questions, resolve issues, and complete transactions from your iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch through iMessage. This is available for all paid plans in Chat.


Note: Apple devices running iOS 11.3 or later and macOS 10.13.4 or later will support Messages for Business.


Prerequisites: What you need before you integrate

  • You need Admin access to Messages for the Business account registered with Apple.


How to set up a Messages for Business account

  • To set up a Messages for Business account, first, you need to sign up at register.apple.com.
  • Go to Messages for Business accounts > Manage Services > Messages for Business Accounts > Add new.




  • Acknowledge the policies of Apple.



  • Configure the new Messages for the Business account.




  • Fill in the account applicant details.



  • Choose the Business Chat account type.
  • A Commercial Account is an account you use to communicate with your customers.
  • An Internal test account is to develop and test your commercial account setup internally before taking it live.



  • Give a name to the account.




  • Assign a technical contact.




  • Select the Apple-authorized commercial messaging platform as Chat.







  • Click Next.



  • On the next screen, click Add Apple IDs and enter the Apple IDs of the user to whom the test link has to be sent. These users will receive a URL using which they can initiate messages and test.


Note: The tester IDs should be Apple IDs with active iMessages.








  • Once the test account is set up, head over to the Chat account, add the Tester Apple IDs, and you will receive a link to send and receive messages.


Commercial account: (Customer facing)


  • Add the account owner (technical contact) to set up a commercial account.



  • Select the number of locations your business is present in (offices) and add the location details (office address). 




  • Add your brand information.




  • Set the response hours.



  • Set up your brand identity: add a logo, choose a header color, and so on.



  • Add Chat as the Apple-authorized commercial messaging platform.



  • These details will be submitted to Apple for review. Once you are ready to send your profile for review, click the “Send for review” button.



  • Once Apple has reviewed your account, Paste your Apple Business ID to your Chat account to start using it.


Integrating Messages for Business with Freshchat

  • Once your Messages for Business account is set up, click on your Messages for Business account name and Connect to Freshchat.


Note: You can integrate your internal test account with Chat while your business account is pending approval from Apple.





  • Click Connect. You will be redirected to your Chat account's Apple Messages for Business integration page.



  • Enter your Messages for Business ID. 



  • You can find your Apple Business ID in your Apple Messages for Business account by clicking on the ‘Copy ID’



  • Paste it into your Chat account.



  • Give a name to your Message Channel for the Apple Messages for Business conversations. Select the Group to which you want to assign the conversations and click Connect.


You can follow these steps to test your connection with your MSP,

  • Head to the Messages for Business Account page and scroll down to the Messaging Service Provider section.
  • Click on ‘Test your Messaging Service Provider connection.’
  • After that, you’ll be directed to this Chat Sign-in page where you can sign up for preview access to the Chat integration for Apple Messages for Business. On this page, you would be required to log in with your Chat credentials. 
  • Once you have registered with Apple and have linked your Apple Messages for Business Account with Chat, you’re ready to start customizing your account to meet your business needs.

Each Business Account also gets its own Topic in Admin > Topics. You can use it to further enhance your customer service experience by triggering a bot to deflect questions or having a specialized agent group handle these questions by assigning the Topic (all the questions from the Facebook page) to the group.


Creating bots on Apple Messages for Business from Chat


  • When creating the bot, you can select Apple Messages for Business in the first step right after naming the bot.




  • To know more about setting up a bot flow, read this article


Assigning conversations from Apple Messages for Business to your bot/Agent Groups


  • Messages for Business agent can be mapped to the required Topic in your Chat account. You can edit the Topic, choose to trigger a bot to answer questions or assign it to a group for direct agent interaction.




Message types supported by Messages for Business Chat


Apple Messages for Business supports the following message types:

Message Type

Direction

Apple Messages for Business

Text

User to agent

Yes

User to bot

Yes

Agent to user

Yes

Bot to user

Yes

Image

User to agent 

Yes

User to bot

Yes

Agent to user

Yes

Bot to user

Yes

Video

User to agent

Yes

User to bot

Yes

Agent to user

Yes

Bot to user

via public URL

Audio

User to agent

Yes

User to bot

Yes

Agent to user

via

App

Bot to user

No

File

User to agent

Yes

User to bot

Yes

Agent to user

Yes

Bot to user

Coming soon

Emoji

User to agent

Yes

User to bot

Yes

Agent to user

Yes

Bot to user

Yes

GIFs

User to agent

No

User to bot

No

Agent to user

No

Bot to user

No

Stickers

User to agent

No

User to bot

No

Agent to user

No

Bot to user

No

Automation

Bots

Yes

Structured messages

Articles

Bot to user

No

Carousels

Bot to user

NA

Buttons

Bot to user

via API

Dropdown list

Bot to user

via API

Message events

Delivered

User to agent

NA

Agent to user

NA

Read

User to agent

NA

Agent to user

NA

Typing

User to agent

No

Agent to user

No

Consumer profile

User name

No

User image

No


Yes - Supported, No - Not supported, NA - Not supported by Apple's Messages for Business.


Apart from the above, we also support the following on Apple Business Messages 

  • List Picker: Let the customer choose from a list of items by sending a list picker.
  • Quick Replies: Let the customer choose from a list of preset quick responses.  
  • Time Picker: Let the customer schedule an appointment by sending a time picker.
  • Apple Pay Payment Request: Provide an easy and secure way for customers to buy goods and services through Messages for Business using Apple Pay.
  • Authentication Message: Pass authentication data between your business and the customer's device.


Chat Suggest for Apple Business Messages

When you register your phone number with Apple, Chat Suggest proactively allows you to chat when a user clicks to call your business phone number in Safari, Maps, Siri, or Search. Customers will be redirected to the Messages app when they select the messaging option, reducing the costs of voice support by shifting the customers to messaging.

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

  • Provide all your primary phone numbers, including the ones with a high call volume.
  • Provide phone contact hours to set customer expectations for your after-hours message.
  • Provide intent, group, and body parameters for 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 Messages for Business buttons into your website and mobile apps

Customers also can start a conversation with you through your website or mobile app when you set up Apple Messages for Business 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 Messages for Business buttons on your website, follow these steps:

  1. Add Apple’s Messages for Business 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 Messages for Business button must contain the following, at a minimum:

  • A class attribute to specify the type of container: banner, phone, or message. For more information, see Messages for Business 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.



Important Note:

Once you do this, you won’t be able to edit the fields again on the Chat Messages for Business integration page. So make sure you enter the correct details.


If you entered the wrong values, contact Chat support. If you have any more doubts, feel free to contact us at support@freshchat.com