3 tips for using technology for better customer service

20/12/2017

The advent of technology has transformed the face of business everywhere, in any area conceivable. One of the key areas in which technology has been harnessed to strengthen a company is the area of customer service. In order for your business to continue to grow in the midst of cutthroat competition, it is imperative that it maintains its competitive edge. One of the ways in which this can be done is to harness technology for better customer service.

1. Engage new customers

The first way that you can harness technology for better customer service comes in when you attempt to engage with new customers. You can leverage on current technology to help you in these efforts. The main idea behind engaging technology for this purpose is to draw new and curious customers in by being able to provide answers to their questions about your product quickly and efficiently.

One of the most powerful ways to harness technology to build these relationships is to integrate third party messaging apps into the process. These could include current popular platforms such as Messenger, WhatsApp, or WeChat (a popular messaging app in China). Following a customer’s initial attempt to start a conversation with customer service on a firm’s website, the conversation moves to a third party messaging app. This in turn allows for a continuous thread of conversation to flow between the potential customer and customer service personnel, or even a bot programmed to take on this function. This subsequently enables a more personalised and seamless way for companies to engage with potential customers. This is something that has worked well for 1-800-Flowers.com, a conversational pioneer on Messenger and Amazon’s Alexa. The company relies on external experts for customer experience design and bot technology, to assist them in building a bot-based commerce system. At the same time, it lets its trained staff interpret service questions from a customer for the bot, to allow for a response that feels more ‘human’. The result is a top of the notch customer service experience, for many happy customers who have testified to that effect.

2. Maintain your current customer base

Excellent customer service tends to be the key to retaining customers and boosting profits. Statistics from Business Insider show that 86 percent of consumers have stopped doing business with a company because of a negative customer service experience. In a fashion similar to the above, technology can similarly be employed to help you provide better customer service, and in turn maintain your current customer base. Technology once again is able to help your business’s customer service personnel communicate more efficiently with your current customers. This enables them to better aid your customers in solving any technical issues that may arise with the product, over platforms such as Skype and Facebook Message.

Related reading: 5 Tips For Improving Customer Retention And Loyalty

Furthermore, technology has also enabled companies to be better able to monitor various channels to gauge the customer satisfaction levels, and to identify the most problematic aspects of their products. This in turn allows personnel to better understand the problems the customer faces, and in turn makes them able to provide a targeted response to the issue that is both personalized and efficient.

3. Automate and utilise resources efficiently

Another question that you can ask with regards to how to harness technology is this – what can I automate to make my entire workflow more efficient? This impacts efficiency in that you can now divert your attention and resources towards building a better customer service experience for your customers. After all, something that technology definitely cannot replace is the sincerity that personally interacting with customers can convey.

The key to this, as mentioned, is automating your workflow wherever you can. For instance, you could use tools such as Hootsuite to help populate your social media platforms with pre-written content. You could also use such automation to help at certain stages of customer service, for example, using a tool to help send auto-reply notifications to customers that their request for help has been received, and that you will be responding to them shortly.

As you look towards these technological solutions, keep in mind that there too are technological solutions for your legal needs. One of the key things a customer looks out for when engaging a service is consistency of experience. These include the areas of payments and finances. Ensure you have in place the key legal documents that outline your payment practices, such as Invoices and Sale of Goods Agreements.

All in all, there are countless ways that you can harness technology to connect with your customers better. The rise of technology has no doubt posed many exciting and useful tools to help us build our businesses, and it is important for businesses to continue upgrading themselves with such tools.

Start managing your legal needs with Zegal today

Are there any tech solutions you use to improve the customer service experience?

Share with us in the comments below!

The Dragons descend on RISE

20/07/2017

RISE is a startup and entrepreneurship festival that takes place every year at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Thousands of innovators, investors, and companies come together to share ideas, connect, and network in one of the biggest hubs in the world. Here, we recap what the Dragons got up to when they landed at RISE!

Day 1

Day 1 was all about sealing the deal on the professional relationships you had been forming over the past few months or years. The buzz was incessant as attendees walked around, talking to other entrepreneurs and learning about their businesses. As everyone was trying to find their bearings in the hustling, bustling city of Hong Kong, lively chats were taking place on every stage in the event. These stages were set up at each corner of the convention hall with the booths set up in every other square inch available.

On the first day, there were numerous talks regarding fintech and artificial intelligence. As Jing Ulrich, of JP Morgan Chase, and Wayne Xu, of ZhongAn (an InsurTech firm) stated, FinTech is taking over the operations of even traditional banks. They are transforming their technological capabilities in order to stay competitive with other, newer financial technology companies. Some of the talks included “Building for Asia’s ‘new economy’” and “Living on the fintech Indian frontier.”

Some exciting startups aside from Zegal were also present, and us Dragons had the chance to talk to their representatives at the booth! Wantedly, for example, is a recruiting platform that helps both employees and recruiters understand companies and candidates. They allow candidates to find environments in which they will feel fulfilled, comfortable, and motivated. Many of our Dragons signed up for the Women in Tech cohort where they were able to network with many other women who were in startups or entrepreneurs themselves.

Blueprint, a co-working and event space, was conveniently located in the middle of the hall, was one of the main hubs throughout the conference. True to their mission, Blue Print helped to build a small community for RISE attendees, providing a great meeting place to sit and network with other companies.

Day 2

Day 2 was a big day for us, as we had our booth set up in the START section. The day, in a nutshell, was nonstop activity. Many people came up to our booth and there were many points in the day when every red-clad Dragon was talking to an attendee. It is safe to say a large percentage of RISE left the conference with some sort of knowledge of Legal Tech. We got many questions, from “What is Legal Tech?” to “How can I integrate this into my business?” all the way to exclamations like “Sign me up!” Some attendees from other countries were eager to see us eventually expand into other countries, and this gave us great excitement to know that we are being noticed from places outside our jurisdictions.

register.dragonlaw.io

From about lunchtime until the close, Zegal was undoubtedly one of the busiest booths in the START section. We were multitasking in talking to potential clients and signing up those who were interested in a Free Trial. Indeed, many companies were interested in how we could help them streamline their legal work in their business. Many attendees were running into the high legal fees that SMEs usually experience, and we were able to offer a quick, affordable, and easy solution. All in all, as our Sales Executive Mehdi said, “everyone was looking to improve their business” by “looking for new solutions.”

One of the highlights of our day, however, was when our Chairman, Antoine Blondeau, the Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Sentinent Technologies, spoke about the “Three Cases of Revolutionary AI.” His company was the “highest funded Artificial Intelligence company” according to Forbes. He spoke on the three instances where AI has been truly groundbreaking. As a Legal Tech company, we are honoured to have such a technological visionary as the Chairman of our board.

Other than our stand, there were numerous talks and pitches that took place throughout Day 2. Our booth was very close to the PITCH stage, so Dragons would venture over there when they had a spare minute. One of our interns heard a few pitches but she said a couple stood out: Avigo and Unilodgers. Avigo is an app that makes corporate wellness easy and accessible. It was founded to “revolutionise the health and wellness space.” The founder, Melvin Chen, was enthusiastic about his app and believed that he could change the way people view fitness classes. The second app that was notable was Unilodgers. This application helps students find affordable housing near their University campuses. It was interesting seeing all of the ideas that radiated from that stage; their presentations was definitely a motivation for all.

Day 3

Day 3 was all about solidifying the relationships formed over the past couple of hectic but exciting days. At this point, you could walk around and see people you had seen during the day or during one of the night events, and it was hard not to run into someone who was vaguely familiar. It was helpful to follow up with the connections made during the conference. Much of our team spent the day doing this. They walked around in bright red shirts, asking people questions, collecting business cards, and finding out more about SMEs that sounded interesting or helpful.

Other talks that received high praise from our team was “BigBasket=Big eCommerce ambition.” In this talk, Vipul Parekh spoke on why he decided to go into such a low-margin industry. He stated that he believes that the industry is “highly unorganized” and he believed he could change that with the way BigBasket retains its customers and integrates science and technology into its operations.

At the end of the day, many of our Dragons were approached by attendees they had met before. These people said that they had been recommending Zegal throughout the conference and that they were excited to start using our software. The best part about these connections was that they grew the Zegal network. The more money entrepreneurs are able to save, the more they are able to grow, and the more successful they are!

After the last day’s activities and festivities, our Co-Founder and Head of Partnerships Ryanne Lai spoke at the Technology x Culture x Entertainment meetup. She discussed how technology was changing the legal culture. It informed attendees on how the legal field is integrating technology for the better.

We hope that those who attended RISE found it fun, enjoyable, inspirational, and educational. For those who were not able to make it, remember to save the date for the 2018 conference, as they are already on sale! If you are interested in learning more about the companies that presented or watching the conference videos, check them out!

Claim your free trial. Start drafting legal documents with Zegal today.

The Six Stages

20/06/2017

Starting a new business is an exciting prospect. Working for yourself, turning your ideas into reality, and making your own money has motivated many to take the entrepreneurial route and set out on their own. In the excitement of launching a business, obvious legal issues can often be overlooked that later derail an otherwise well-thought-out business plan.

Putting in place basic legal documents protects the interests of your business, as they help to set out clear rights and responsibilities. Written legal agreements are a great way to create clear expectations and therefore help to avoid conflicts. For an entrepreneur or business owner, tackling your legal needs can seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be.

Not sure where to start? Just read on. We’ll explain the six different stages every startup goes through. Learn the secret of how to get started quickly.

Form a Business

When starting a new business, you will need to decide the type of business structure that will be used to operate your business and, if relevant, where you would like to incorporate your company. Some countries are easier than others. Different countries also offer different tax schemes. Be smart in deciding how and where to incorporate!

Own Your Intellectual Property

Make sure you own your trade mark and you maintain and protect it after registration. A trade mark will be one of your most valuable commercial assets if you manage it well.

Fund Your Business

Your business will not be able to grow without funding. Learn what methods are available, what documents you need, and what is the best way for your business to start raising capital at an early stage

Hire a Team

When growing your business, you will need to hire a team. Employment law is complex, so make sure you are in line with legal regulations.

Go Online

Going online can be a lucrative way to expand your business and grow revenue. Think about how to protect customer data, outline terms of use, and include payment terms. Neglecting these basics can put your business at risk.

Sell Goods and Services

There is a wide range of contracts that need to be used regularly in the course of doing business, including before you enter into a commercial relationship, when you sell goods or services, or when you expand or decide to terminate a collaboration.

Start managing your legal needs with Zegal today.

Related Documents

The Comprehensive Guide to Building a Legally-Healthy Business (SME Edition)

05/12/2016

We know that running a small business is a challenging task for any entrepreneur. Small businesses are perpetually stretched, with limited time, manpower and resources. We recently published a post on the top pain points that small businesses face and how to deal with them.

In this Comprehensive Guide to Building a Legally-Healthy Business (SME Edition), we give you the lowdown on the key legal documents and resources that your small business should have in place to deal with these 8 pain points!

1. MANAGING CASH FLOW

Customers who make late payments can hinder efficient cash flow and pose a headache, especially for small businesses with low cash reserves. The good news is that small business owners can alleviate the problem by putting in place legal documents that optimise their cash flow. Top tips include negotiating payment dates to align inflows with outflows, reducing your payment term to encourage customers to make payment earlier, and putting in place recurring payment methods to encourage your customers to pay on time.

Document Used for
Purchase Order This is a standard document or template that your customers or clients can use to order goods or services from your business. When you accept the Purchase Order, a binding contract is formed.
Invoice An Invoice is a document you can send to a customer requiring payment for goods or services that you have provided or will provide. It acts as a bill and a proof of a transaction.
Late Payment Letters These are a useful and affordable way of chasing up overdue invoices by prompting a customer to pay the overdue amount.  Depending on the original agreement, you might be able to set a certain number of days before you start charging interest.
Letter Accepting Payments in Installments If your customer does not dispute that money is owed and is willing to make arrangements for the debt to be repaid, you can consider a Letter Accepting Payments in Instalments. Such a letter allows the debtor to pay off the debt with regular fixed instalments.

Resources for optimising cash flow

Download the FREE ebook

 Learn more about how you can use key legal documents to ensure you receive payment on time and optimise your cash flow.

2. HIRING & RETAINING STAFF

SMEs face challenges hiring and retaining staff, with high manpower costs and competition from more established companies that can offer more attractive remuneration packages. First up, make your company a more attractive proposition to both existing employees and potential recruits by putting in place compensation options that encourage long service. And when you are thinking about whether and who to hire, another tip is to consider hiring freelance consultants (otherwise known as independent contractors) instead of taking on a full-time employee for fixed term projects!

Document Used for
Employment Contract Once your candidate has accepted the offer of employment, put together the Employment Contract to regulate the relationship between the employer and employee in order to minimise potential disputes. The document is useful if you want to dissuade certain new hires from leaving your company too soon, disclosing confidential information about your business, or going to work for a competitor.
Consultancy Agreement A Consultancy Agreement is a document designed to regulate the relationship between a company and an independent consultant who is not an employee of the company. A well-drafted Consultancy Agreement will set out the scope of the work that the consultant will provide, and protects the business by letting the consultant know the extent of his or her powers and responsibilities.
Share Vesting Agreement A Share Vesting Agreement is a contract granting an individual or company the right to purchase shares. By allowing employees or other consultants to earn equity in a company over time, you can reward your employees for their performance while incentivising them to remain with the business. Vesting is a great way to encourage long service to the company as you can specify when each of the shares is released to the employee.
Option to Purchase Shares An Option to Purchase Shares is an offer from a company to a certain individual with an option to purchase from the company a pre-determined number of shares in that company at a pre-determined price. As there is no upfront cost to the option-holder upon receiving the Option to Purchase Shares, your company can attract employees and incentivise existing employees or shareholders.

Resources for growing your team
Unsure what employment laws you have to comply with when taking on board that new hire?

Download a free eBook to learn how you can avoid pitfalls by navigating through areas of employment law.
Singapore Version      Hong Kong Version

Want to keep your employees happy and motivated? Check out this post on our blog for tips on incentivising employees without burning a hole in your pocket.

3. DEALING WITH CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS

People often say that the customer is king, and for good reason. Mismatched expectations or a lapse in service quality may alienate your customers and hurt your ability to maintain and grow your customer base. Put in place documentation that helps you align expectations with your clients on all fronts, including pre-, during and post-delivery of the goods and services!

Document Used for
Letter of Intent (Memorandum of Understanding) A Letter of Intent (Memorandum of Understanding) is a non-binding document to summarise the result of negotiations between two parties in order to facilitate the future formation of a contract. By setting down a record of the progress of initial negotiations, parties can focus on issues that need resolution.
Sale of Goods Agreement This is a contract for the sale and purchase of goods that sets out the exact nature of the goods, as well as price and payment terms. As the product may pass through the hands of international manufacturers and distributors before it reaches its final destination, the agreement must be clearly written to ensure careful consideration of the sale and delivery risks.
Supply of Services Agreement This is a contract between a supplier and a customer for the provision of a specified service that documents the key terms of how that service will be carried out. As you may be dependent on the customer to perform certain tasks in order for you to perform your obligations, set out your terms and conditions in this agreement to make sure that both parties are in complete agreement so that you can build a mutually beneficial relationship.

Resources for building a relationship with your customers

Growing your small business is very much about growing your customer base, by keeping your existing customers happy while acquiring new customers. Check out this post for tips on how to maintain your customer relationships and build loyalty by making your customers feel understood and valued!

4. MARKETING YOUR BUSINESS ONLINE

In a time where competition is no longer local but now global, businesses have to go online in order to reach a broader customer base. Websites are a key touchpoint of any business, even if you do not use your website as a platform for the sale of goods or services. Make sure you have these key legal documents in place to manage the relationship between your business and your web developer as well as website users.

Document Used for
Website Design and Development Agreement Business owners often hire freelancers or other third parties to build or redesign their websites. Make sure you have in place this contract to set out the nature and ownership of the website as well as service expectations so that your company can focus on its business and the contractor can focus on the website.
Website Privacy Policy This is a statement you place on your website laying out how your business will collect, use, and manage a user’s personal data. By clarifying the scope of use of such personal data, you can avoid future disputes concerning data privacy infringement.
Website Terms of Use A Website Terms of Use structures the relationship between you as a website operator and your website users by setting out each party’s rights and obligations. They are made available on your website for users to read and, by continuing to use the site, users accept these terms.


Resources for online marketing & running an online business

Want to know how to make the most of your marketing dollar? Check out this post for tips that include identifying your target market and increasing website traffic through search engine optimisation (SEO).

Looking to take your business online? Download our free eBook Online Business: How To Set Up & Protect Your Online Business (Hong Kong) and Online Business: How To Set Up & Protect Your Online Business (Singapore) and read more about the key documents you will need to protect your online business and build a successful online enterprise.

Operating an online marketplace? Check out this post on our blog for essential legal considerations for online marketplaces.

5. RISING COSTS & COMPETITION

It can be a challenge to run a business in hubs such as Hong Kong and Singapore, given the high overheads and strong competition. Sometimes, businesses may need to take loans to tide over a financially challenging period. Depending on who you take the loan from – another business, a shareholder, a director or a sister company – you will need different kinds of Loan Agreements to set out the terms of conditions for the loan and repayment.

Another tip – one way to beat the rising cost of office rental is to work from co-working spaces or share your office space with a fellow small business!

Document Used for
Commercial Loan Agreement If other businesses are interested in helping you tide over a financially challenging period, use this document to set out the terms and conditions for the loan. This agreement can help both parties more closely monitor the condition of the loan, thereby enhancing the borrower/lender relationship because it promotes more frequent communications between the parties.
Loan from Director or Shareholder It is crucial to distinguish between money paid into a company as capital (e.g. to subscribe for shares), and money lent to a company as debt (i.e. a loan). A Loan from Director or Shareholder is an agreement for use when a director or shareholder lends money to their company. By drawing up a Loan from Director or Shareholder, the director or shareholder becomes a creditor of the company. Upon liquidation this debt will be repaid before the shareholders of the company get back the capital they invested into the company.
Intragroup Loan Agreement An Intragroup Loan Agreement records the terms on which one party (the lender) lends money to another party (the borrower) which is within the same group of companies, e.g. from a parent company to a subsidiary or between two subsidiaries of the same parent company. It is suitable for any group company member that wants to draft the basic terms of the arrangement in order to avoid any potential misunderstanding regarding the loan that may otherwise occur if there is no formal record beyond accounting entries.
Term Sheet If your source of funding is private investors such as venture capital firms or angel investors, they will typically ask for a Term Sheet. This is a preliminary document that will include the key terms of an investment in a company, including the agreed-upon valuation of the business, the proposed capitalisation table, the key financial and legal terms, and the rights of the company and the investors.
Co-working Space Application Form and Terms of Use For smaller businesses, sharing an office space is a practical way to minimise costs while maximising access to office facilities. If you want to let another business use your spare office space, then a Co-working Space Application Form and Terms of Use sets out the terms under which you will work together.

Resources for raising funds

  Simply need more funds to grow your business? Check out this post to learn about the Singapore government grants that cater to small businesses.

Want to know what’s on the mind of investors when they’re deciding whether to invest? Check out insights from investors, entrepreneurs and lawyers from our Legal Startup Academy session on Early Stage Funding.

Intending to raise funds via a Convertible Note? Check out this post on our blog to learn how the Convertible Note mechanism works as well as the relevant documents that you need.

6. PROTECTING IDEAS & COMMERCIAL ASSETS

Beyond the goods and services that you provide to your customers, one of the most valuable assets that you have as a business are your ideas and intellectual property (IP). Whenever your business develops intangible human creations, ensure that you secure your IP rights in order to protect your creations. This way, you can even monetise your IP in the future, by licensing your trade mark to another company to expand into new markets or transferring the trade mark of a business or product line when you sell it to another company.

Document Used for
Trade Mark License Agreement This agreement allows the owner of the trade mark (the licensor) to give approval to another person (the licensee) to use the trade mark. Licensing can help a company expand into new markets effectively while lending the licensee an established name and reputation as well as provide lucrative income for trade mark owners.
Trade Mark Assignment If you are selling a business or a product line, you may need to transfer the trade mark that is associated with it. A Trade Mark Assignment provides a record of ownership and allows the trade mark owner to transfer the owner’s rights, title, and interest in a trade mark or service mark in a way that protects the rights of all parties.
Confidentiality Agreement (or Non-disclosure Agreement) Your business has information that should remain private, such as customer database, financial information, or new business ideas. An NDA is your first line of defence to protecting this information. This legal document creates a confidential relationship between your business and any contractors, employees, and other business partners who might get a behind-the-scenes look at your operations.

Resources for protecting your brand

Download the FREE eBook

Just designed a logo that you want to protect?

Download our free eBook to learn about what you need for a successful application, how to maintain your trade mark and maximise its value globally.

Confused about the differences between the various types of IP? Check out this post on our blog to find out what the various types are and what you need to qualify for IP protection.

Want to whether your latest invention qualifies for IP protection? Learn about the key considerations in this interview with an IP lawyer.

7. TIME MANAGEMENT

As a business owner, you wear multiple hats and it often seem like the things you should do to improve operations and grow your business is never ending. Given that businesses these days are all about automation, efficiency and productivity, there’s no prizes for guessing what the solution is for your challenge of time management. Technology can help you eliminate repetitive tasks and streamline operations so that you can devote your time to what really grows your business. Think social media management tools such as Hootsuite to manage your online marketing efforts and online payroll software such as Gpayroll, Talenox and HReasily to manage your HR needs more affordably and efficiently.

And when it comes to legal, the Zegal web app enables fast production of custom documentation which will help your business improve efficiency, accuracy and compliance.

As a Zegal subscriber, you can:

  • Access any of our 500 existing business documents and customise them to your specific needs, and
  • Draft legal documents without any legal knowledge using our simple Q&A interface
  • Use our cloud software to store all your legal documentation in a simple and easy-to-navigate space
  • Choose to automate any of your frequently used documents and save a few hours each week
  • Save time on sourcing and evaluating law firms – we recommend you to a trusted one in our network

8. DEALING WITH REGULATION & STAYING UP-TO-DATE

It is important that you stay up-to-date with the latest updates to laws, acts, and regulation that may impact the way you run your business. This isn’t something that can be solved with a single legal document, but rather requires you to ensure that your legal documents are constantly updated to reflect the latest regulatory changes. This is what we provide on our Zegal web app – a comprehensive suite of legal documents that are constantly kept up-to-date amidst an evolving regulatory climate.

Beyond legal documents, businesses sometimes simply need trusted legal advice when deciding whether to make the next strategic step to launch a new product or enter a new market. This is why we recently launched Zegal Managed Accounts, where we partner with established law firms with expertise in a range of industries to provide Zegal-enabled legal services for your organisation.

What goes into a Zegal-enabled plan?

  • Business compliance: Manage risk by having your business model or operation documents reviewed on regulatory compliance
  • Zegal subscription: Create unlimited legal and business documents on Zegal for the running of your day-to-day business
  • Review documents: Have your documents reviewed by experienced lawyers and amended to fit your specific business purpose

View our list of Certified Advisors – Zegal Managed Account

Resources for staying up-to-date with regulatory requirements

→ Trawling the Internet for the latest regulatory requirements that your business needs to stay compliant with can be tedious, and you can’t always be sure that what you find is the most updated regulation or piece of legislation. Check out our eBook library for our Does The Law Matter? series for the lowdown on what you need to know to navigate key legal requirements!

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