Helping F&B businesses reduce human touch points

YQueue waives merchant fees for 2 months

Singapore, February 2020 – According to the snap poll done by the Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS) from 10-13 February 2020, close to 60% of the restaurants in Singapore stated that they are expecting revenue to be halved in the next three months due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Many of these players have since turned to alternative sources of off-premise business such as takeaways, and one of such companies that many restaurants have been approaching would be YQueue – an all-in-one integrated solution provider for restaurants. The benefits from these solutions stand out in times like these, when restaurant owners face problems with manpower, sales, and ultimately their bottom-line.

In addition, YQueue is offering to waive their service fees to their merchants for two months to help them tide through this period, on top of their free hardware, software and maintenance.

Minimising Human Contact Between Customers and Service Staff

YQueue’s operation model promotes the F&B business to drive sales while keeping human-to-human interactions to the minimum. Businesses can tap on services such as: app-listing, web-based QR ordering, Kiosk ordering and more, where customers are able to complete the whole ordering and payment process without human interaction.\

Through YQueue, customers can pre-order on the app and takeaway items without having to queue, minimising interactions with the service staff.

With the dine-in option, customer-staff interaction is reduced as diners order and pay independently on their mobile phones through a designated QR code displayed at each table, which does not require any downloads. Once orders are ready, the restaurant staff serves the food to the diner, or the diners can collect their food from the collection point.

Reducing Manpower Dependency

YQueue can also help business operators to reduce manpower dependency by providing a cashless environment that will remove the need of having cashiers and order-takers. With a platform that shows the daily transactions and being integrated with a cloud-based accounting software, businesses can reduce the amount of physical contact between staff and diners, whilst ensuring the smooth running of operations.

“In the current situation where diners are cutting-down on restaurant dine-ins, and prefer to have minimal human interactions; YQueue would like to help both the customers and merchants tide through this period”, said George Lim, Director of YQueue. “As a solution-provider with cost-management and customer experience in mind, YQueue would like to take this opportunity to promote digitalization in the F&B industry.”

Established in 2016, YQueue is a Singaporean IT company that specialises in all-rounded solutions, including pre-order, automation service, queue management systems and more. They have since developed a system that handles end-to-end from pre-ordering or ordering, to self-collection of food by customers, to payment for their meals, all through payment systems like Mobile App, Kiosks, and QR-triggered web-app. To experience YQueue, try the app, or kiosks at select merchants. Discover more about YQueue’s merchant partners on Facebook & Instagram.

Customer experience should drive B2B commerce

By Manoj Aravindakshan Singapore: If there was one recurring theme at the first B2B Online Asia Conference, it was the need for focus on “Customer Experience”. The key drivers for designing and delivering the desired customer experience? People & data.

Organised by WBR, B2B Online Asia was a 2-day event held in Singapore recently that brought together about 150 senior management professionals from leading manufacturers and distributors across Asia, including Huawei, 3M, HP, Sharp Electronics, Asian Paints, GE Power, Lenovo, Honeywell, Unilever, Saint Gobain, ST Engineering, Ricoh Asia Pacific, Infineon Technologies, ASUS Global, Schneider Electric, Epson, Dow Chemical, Volvo Construction Equipment, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Omron Asia Pacific and Fuji Xerox.

While ‘Customer experience’ was a term that was used more frequently in a B2C context, the increased focus by B2B marketers and managers on this theme is a clear indicator of the changing behaviors among B2B buyers.

According to Keunho Kim, Partner & Head of B2B Asia Pacific with Ogilvy Consulting, “Customer experience is the new brand.”  The mantra for companies, even when the fall into the B2B bucket, is “consumers first”, as businesses look to find new ways to connect directly with the consumer.   The disruption caused by traditional B2C companies – Grab, Uber, AirBnB, for example- who are making rapid strides into serving corporate customers by aggregating demand are likely playing a key role in driving this shift in mindset.

Citing that 81% of B2B buyers want the same digital experience that they get as a ‘consumer’, Nicholas Kontopoulos, Head of APAC & EMEA Commerce Marketing at Magento, said that “Customer experience is critical for self-actualisation” in the B2B buyer’s equivalent of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. This has serious implications for B2B marketers, who risk ‘digital Darwinism’ if they do not get out of their comfort zone and cater to this demand.  “Great customer experience is not just the domain of the sales & marketing function; the entire organisation has to think of this,” added Kontopoulos.

Use data to engage with customers

Contrary to the general perception, the “mobile” channel is quite critical to delivering the desired B2B customer experience, pointed out Andrew Antal, Marketing Director of Salesforce in his presentation. In fact, he advocated a mobile-first approach to B2B customer engagement. Companies should focus on knowing everything about their customers by breaking down and integrating data silos and then engage with them across the entire customer journey, including using online-n-offline engagement models.

He urged marketers to make engagements fresh, frictionless, personalised and meaningful. Highlighting the importance of a data-driven approach to customer engagement, he also suggested that companies should develop strong analytics skills in-house to unearth and unleash the full potential of data available within their organisations.

Business goals, people and process over technology in digital transformation

As B2B companies pursue their ‘digital transformation’ journeys and shift more of their buying and selling to online channels, they should focus more on people and process rather than new technology, said Nicholas Kontopoulous. “An old process with new technology will only result in an expensive old process,” he warned.

Hanson Wang, Chief Digital Officer, APAC of Saint Gobain, a manufacturer of construction and high-performance materials shared a similar view. “IT cannot be leading the digitalisation of business; it has to come from the business side and be supported by technology.”  Hanson wanted companies to fully understand what digital transformation entails. “Digital transformation is really about changing the business model, and not just making a change in the business. If there is no change to the business model, then it isn’t really right to call it ‘digitalisation’ of a business.”

Dennis van Heezik, CEO, INSEE Digital, CIO and Chief Digital Officer of Siam City Cement, echoed the same sentiment. “Digital strategy by itself is meaningless. Companies should have a business strategy where digital is key. Also, change cannot happen without change agents.”

Farrukh Shad, Senior VP eCommerce, Schneider Electric, spoke about his organizations’ B2B eCommerce journey– starting with experimentation and agile pilots 3 years ago to a full-fledged business model today. Emphasizing the people part of this transformation journey, he said, ‘The biggest challenge with transformation is to make people unlearn a lot of what they have learnt!”  He spoke at a panel discussion on creative leadership needed for digital transformation and about developing the right capability & mindset internally.

Businesses should be prepared to invest significantly in change management if they want to really succeed with shifting to online commerce, pointed out Ganesh Kashyap, Global Senior Director of eCommerce, of Mondelez International.

One-size fits all approach doesn’t work

Despite the growing similarities and convergence in expectations of B2B buyers with those of “consumers”, businesses need to understand the differences and strategize accordingly, warned Lynn Huang, Head of Marketing, Asia & Pacific, Honeywell

“B2B e-commerce is certainly trickier than B2C. That’s because the end users of the enterprise products are different from the products’ purchase decision makers. Final customer experience is often not entirely in suppliers’ control. There is not a single formula/approach that can be adopted for B2B e-commerce. Different approaches have to be carefully considered. For example, Honeywell sells Muck Boots safety footwear online in North America, Oliver safety footwear through local Australian distributors’ e-commerce platforms, while in China we rely on marketplaces like JD.com.”

“The biggest challenge is probably logistics and fulfillment rather than product/marketing,”said Lynn.

Manoj Aravindakshan is Founder of On Target Media, a content & search marketing company in Singapore. He is also the Editorial Director of AsiaBizToday.com, a website focused on business stories and entrepreneurs from Asia.

Steering Singapore’s digital transformation in its bid to become a ‘smart nation’

Singapore’s Chief Information Officer Chan Cheow Hoe is probably the closest thing to what New Zealand was searching for in a Chief Technology Officer before the Clare Curran-Derek Handley debacle.

Chan Cheow Hoe isn’t your typical government bureaucrat. He breezes into the Straits Cafe, just off Singapore’s iconic Orchard Road, dressed in jeans and a short-sleeve shirt and carrying an iPhone.

Chan was lured back to Singapore in 2014 to become Singapore’s Chief Information Officer and shake up how government departments used technology.

He’s the man steering Singapore’s digital transformation in its bid to become a ‘smart nation’ – a country that deploys technology strategically to tackle major challenges facing it. A veteran of the banking sector where he ran major IT projects for Citibank, Barclays and ABN Amro, Chan was lured back to Singapore in 2014 to shake up how government departments used technology.

He was integral to establishing GovTech, Singapore’s 2,000-person Government Technology Agency, which since 2016 has been responsible for steering the country’s nationally significant technology projects.

As he addressed over 1,000 software developers and tech professionals who gathered two days earlier for the country’s first major government-organised developers’ conference, Stack 2018, Chan gave the impression of a man attempting to turn around one of the oil tankers that frequent Singapore’s bustling port.

“Government has for a long time been obsessed with doing bigger and bigger things,” he told them.

“But that is what got us into trouble in some ways. Because systems are so complex that nobody can maintain them. Over the last 20 years we have done a lot, but our legacy is catching up with us. We need to move forward in a very different way of doing technology.”

The news is an extract from the story published on Noted.co.oz (Click here)

Humans in an AI Electrified World

Wharton Business School calls AI as the new electricity that will substantially transform society over the next hundred years. The above described functions were not available just 10 years ago on a consumer level and is the fruit of over 60 years of scientific research. One advantage of AI is that it allows computers to take over repetitive work more effectively than humans. This allows humans to take care of the higher value work.

Why Pay More?

Transcription is one area where the work is repetitive. For a seasoned transcriptionist, they have a 5.9% error rate, but a Microsoft AI tool performed at a lower error rate of 5.1%. AI allows the same transcriptionist to review the existing work and liaise with the speaker to correct the errors.

One other area which is consistently needed and repetitive is the incorporation of companies. If you are new to the world of company incorporation, it is a maze of unknown regulations to navigate like the new Grab driver on the road. For a seasoned corporate secretary, they can almost do it with their eyes closed.

The traditional method of business incorporation would be to hire the services of a professional who charge you between $100 to $1000 per hour (depending on his seniority) to sit down and explain his every item from trivial to serious to the aspiring entrepreneur.

AI Application on Incorporation

One example of a business who had leveraged on AI would be AI Accountant. They have used AI to automate the incorporation process and chatbot to answers frequently asked questions. “I have a corporate secretary and accountant for over 10 years. In my experience, 90% of SMEs have standard questions to be answered that don’t require the interface of my staff. Even if they think that they have a serious question, it is likely that question has been asked before and the answers are readily available.” said Lawrence, Manager of AI Accountant.

“I wanted to provide a low-cost solution for entrepreneurs who are understandably cash-strapped and don’t need the high level of support that MNCs require. It is only through AI that I can charge them $450 for incorporation and still be profitable. Out of the $450, $315 goes straight to ACRA as their incorporation fee and the margin is extremely thin.” said Lawrence.

Where Humans Add Value

Besides the standard items, there are matters of the heart that require human intervention. If you are sick of the AI enabled dating apps, you need some counselling to find the right one. The problem might not lie in the other party but in you. You might not be ready for love and the AI wouldn’t tell you that. AI might just find the next Mr. Right who fits your interest, but you wouldn’t be moved.

You would need a matchmaker like Rishma Petraglia from The Heart Whispers who can listen to you and advise you to love yourself more. These human experts can dig into your past and provide a therapeutic experience to create the breakthrough in love. You can have a customized advice on how to be a perfect date to the other party.

You can find the perfect office space online but you need an expert who can listen and understand your requirements to find the office that fits your company culture. It is not a compulsory requirement, you can still work in any office with a table, chair and other necessity, but your office might be the difference between mediocrity and top performance.

AI High Performance

The advantage of AI is that we are able to commit to high performance if the lower level items are taken care off. These low-level tasks are foundational and can’t be ignored. Yet most of us are not high-powered lawyers who can easily hire quality associates at $100,000 per year to handle the low-level work reliably so that they can take care of winning the case. This is why AI is the new electricity where you can light up a room in 1 second instead of spending 10 minutes a day to fill up the lamp with oil and light the wick.

Kai Kiat Ong is the founder of TextInAsia & a freelance writer who specializes in finance and technology.