We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: 2020 will be the year over-the-top (OTT) messaging will open up for businesses. While messaging channels like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp have been expanding their features for business use, top tech companies like Apple and Google have recently created their own messaging channels—made specifically for businesses-to-customer communications.
Since Apple Messages for Business (formerly Apple Business Chat) and Google’s Business Messages are now available, you may be wondering what exactly they’re all about. What are the differences between the two tools?
While both messaging tools have similar use cases and features, their entry points are distinct. As you’ll see, we highly recommend using both to increase your online presence and empower your teams to connect with as many customers as possible.
Read on to get to know the differences between these new business messaging tools.
What Is Apple Messages for Business?
Apples Messages for Business lets your customers message your business directly from their iPhone, Mac, or Apple Watch. When they find your business through Apple Maps or Spotlight search, they have the option to connect with your team.
Messages for Business features allow customers to select appointment time slots, choose product product purchase options, and message with your agents without installing an extra app. While they chat with your customers, your team members can easily share in-channel slideshows with product information such as product name, photo, and price. With Apple Pay support, customers can even purchase your products and services right within the chat.
What Is Google’s Business Messages?
Google allows customers to reach your business through local search in Google Maps, Google search, answer cards on Google, or a Google widget on your website. As soon as your business shows up in their search results, customers will see an option to message your team.
Customers can use Business Messages to schedule appointments, select product and service options, or be routed to a relevant team. Your teams can enrich these conversations with cards that support configurable images, text, and buttons so customers can browse options and explore landing page links from within the channel.
How Do Their Features Compare?
Apple Messages for Business features and Google’s Business Messages features share a lot of similarities.
Both messaging tools:
- Allow customers to message your team without installing new apps
- Enrich chats with tools like conversation cards and in-chat scheduling
- Empower team members to stay within a chat while sharing links, images, and payment requests
In fact, the main difference between the two channels is customer entry points. Apple Messages for Business features are accessible through Apple tools like Apple Maps and Spotlight, while Google’s Business Messages is accessible through Google tools like Google Maps and Search.
Should You Choose One Channel Over the Other?
Businesses should use both Apple Messages for Business and Google’s Business Messaging.
Leveraging both channels helps your business achieve an omnichannel messaging strategy, which is one of the most powerful tools you can use today. It allows customers to reach you however is most convenient for them at the moment, whether it’s through Apple Search or Google Maps. Omnichannel messaging increases the chances that customers will choose to connect with your team.
Plus, today’s technology can help you manage both channels. For example, a text service for business will provide shared inboxes. These tools centralize all incoming customer messages, no matter whether they’re from Apple Messages for Business, Google’s Business Messages, or any other OTT apps.
Both Google’s and Apple’s messaging tools are available at no additional cost to businesses. However, companies should consider investing in an approved customer service platform (CSP) that provides enterprise-grade message management capabilities.
Do Their Features Work with Business SMS?
If you’re already using a text service for business like Heymarket, you may wonder whether it’s easy to integrate Apple Messages for Business and Google’s Business Messages into your strategy. The simple answer is yes.
After integrating your business SMS platform with Apple Messages for Business and Google’s Business Messages, both native SMS and OTT messages will arrive side-by-side within your shared inbox. Your teams will be able to seamlessly move from native SMS messages to Apple Messages for Business or Business Messages without changing platforms.
All of the tools your team uses with business SMS—like templates and auto-replies—will also be available. By integrating Apple Messages for Business and Google’s Business Messages into your business SMS platform, your teams will be able to manage more customer conversations faster than ever before.
Learn more about differences between Apple Messages for Business and Google’s Business Messages features here.