A new prompt in iOS 13 suggests that the user chat via Apple Business Chat instead of calling.

As Apple’s latest iPhone software makes its way out to the world this week, there’s an interesting detail buried in the update: The new iOS 13 will now feature Apple Business Chat suggestions.

When iPhone owners tap to call a supported business, iOS offers to text the company via Messages instead. Granted, the change seems rather small, but it could wind up being an important update for retailers.

Texts and chat windows offer customers a way to avoid long call queues and “on hold” music. And they’ve proven popular: According to customer service tech firm Sparkcentral, 89 percent of customers prefer communicating with companies via text over phone calls.

Overstock is among the first to support the new Apple Business Chat suggestions.  Courtesy image

But, relative to the long history of shopping, such offerings are still relatively new. That means plenty of consumers may not realize that texting is an option across web sites, apps like Facebook’s Messenger and Apple Business Chat, or which companies even offer the chat tools.

The seemingly insignificant matter of displaying a prompt can do a lot to spread awareness and turn irritating customer experiences into fast, convenient communication. That matters, especially in a turbulent retail environment that has brands examining everything from discovery and browsing to payments, deliveries and product returns, hunting for any ways they can boost the customer experience.

To start, companies such as Overstock, several Burberry stores in the U.K. and Tiffany & Co. in Australia are live with Apple Business Chat suggestions as of Friday, joining T-Mobile, Vodafone, TD Ameritrade, The Home Depot and, naturally, Apple.

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