Hoiio Blog
Sharing our thoughts on a smarter hello

BattleHack 2014 showcases brilliant coding ideas

Author: , September 19, 2014

BattleHack has got to be one of the more interesting hackathons around. With a Battle Axe as the grand prize and good food provided for the entire 24-hour coding marathon, it almost doesn’t feel like a programming competition at all.

Last weekend, programmers gathered at event venue Le Danz for BattleHack’s Singapore stop. They were asked to build an app that could solve a local problem, while incorporating a payment or donation feature. Upon being presented with their task, the participating teams rolled up their sleeves and got down to work.

 

battlehack

 

After 24 hours of toiling, the Battle Axe trophy went to Team TalkWithMe for their SmoothTalk app. The app incorporates a custom iOS keyboard which translates the input language into a desired language in real time, addressing the issue of multilingualism in Singapore.

Hoiio was there as well to lend our support as one of the event partners. Being an event partner meant that, on top of the three winners chosen by the judging panel, we could also select a winning team of our choice.

Based on criteria of originality, usefulness and level of real-life application, KC chose Team FundForFun to win the Hoiio category.

Using Hoiio’s IVR API, Team FundForFun created an app that allowed the elderly to call to a number and share their dreams, be it lavish or simple, which will then be submitted in the form of voice-recorded requests to the app platform. Users can then vote for their favourites and make donations through the app to fund the realisation of the old folks’ dreams.

battlehack team fundforfun

Team FundForFun receiving their prizes

For their innovative idea, the team received a sponsored prize of FitBit Zips. Being an event partner for BattleHack is meaningful for us because by providing the API, budding coders with the passion to make a difference can build their apps more easily.

Congratulations to all winning teams! To see who else won, click here.

Coming Soon: Phone Lines for PDPA

Author: , September 17, 2014

Singapore Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) came into force on 2 July 2014. While the law is well intended and is good for the country in the long run, it has also resulted in certain business complexities in the short term.

Since January 2014, together with our partners, we have launched a series of solutions to help businesses automate their compliance with the PDPA. Today, we are proud to announce the upcoming launch of 2 new products that will further automate our compliance journey.

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1. Data Protection Officer (DPO) Hotline

Under the PDPA, every company has to appoint a DPO and provide the DPO business contact information publicly. However, as DPOs are usually busy folks who may take on other corporate appointments concurrently and hence, providing their current office number to the public will be counter-productive.

To provide for a happy DPO, the company should provide a dedicated DPO Hotline that automates the following:

  • Announcement to the caller that this is the DPO Hotline for the Company
  • Automatically handle requests for information on the company PDPA Policy (Openness Obligation)
  • Register caller request for consent withdrawal, data retrieval and data correction (Access and Correct Obligation)

2. Automated Phone In Consent for Real Estate Industry

Under the PDPA (Consent Obligation), we have also created the industry’s first automated consent notification and registration system. When a person calls into a Real Estate Property Hotline to purchase a Property, the system will play the following automated message:

  • “Welcome to Condo XYZ Launch by Real Estate Company ABC. To proceed with your property enquiries, please press 1 to consent to us contacting you on property information and advisory. For other matters, please press 2.”

The explicit consent is collected for the following purposes:

  • To contact the caller in the event that the phone call comes in after work hours
  • To contact the caller in the event that the phone call comes in but no agent is available to pick up the call
  • To enable the agent to call and send sms updates to the caller on property enquiries. This is needed as property advisory often cannot be fully completed during the initial phone call.

The following diagram illustrates the 9 main obligations for the PDPA.

pdpa


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5 relationship tips that apply to customer service

Author: , September 15, 2014

Customer service is, in essence, about establishing a bond with your customers. We work at strengthening our relationships with the people that matter to us. Since customers are the lifeline of our business, why not apply relationship advice to improve the customer’s experience and make a lasting positive impression?

Tip #1: Know them very well.

Your customers know that they’re not your only customer. That much is clear. But every customer has his or her individual preferences, and showing that you’ve paid attention makes them feel acknowledged. Although not all of us have a photographic memory, you still can stay on top of things with customer relationship management software. It’s useful for keeping track of key customer interactions such as purchases or stated preferences.

The more intimate you are with your customer’s likes and dislikes, the closer you’ll be to having them see you as friends as well.

Tip #2: Listen to what they say.

When customers give feedback, a lot of times it’s stemming from a desire to be heard. It could be that they’re not satisfied with your product and would like improvement, or they have suggestions to make your product more beneficial to them.

Either way, pay attention to what the customer is saying and allow them to voice their concerns fully. This will enable you to offer a solution that fully addresses those concerns. And if you make any promises, make sure you follow through on them. Making the customer feel heard goes a long way in building customer loyalty.

 

 

Tip #3: It’s not about winning.

Put your ego aside. A relationship is about give and take and no one party can (or should) emerge the winner in arguments all the time. This is especially crucial when it comes to dealing with an upset customer who is already displeased with your product or service.

Sometimes you may be tempted to rebut the customer, but rant and rave outside of the customer’s earshot. Having the last word does not help things and instead, runs the risk of provoking the customer even more.

Tip #4: Keep an open line of communication.

A relationship that lacks communication for a prolonged period eventually breaks down. Same goes for businesses: if customers can’t reach you when they need assistance, they won’t be coming back.

Ensure that your customers are able to reach you easily when they need to. By creating multiple contact points, such as a contact hotline, email and social media channels, you offer your customers many ways to get in touch with you.

And while you may not always be free to take a call, setting up a voicemail system or getting notifications for missed calls allows you to get back to the customer as soon as possible. Customers find it extremely rude if the company fails to respond at all, so tools like these help you prevent such misunderstandings.

Tip #5: Make them feel special.

All customers want to know that they’re valued by your business. Express your appreciation by adding a personal touch in your interactions with them. For example, handwritten thank-you notes are a common way independent business owners use to connect with their customers. And wherever possible, exceed their expectations by going the extra mile.

While it may seem that providing good customer service means you give more than you receive, the truth is that customer loyalty rewards you. A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as reducing costs by 10%. And that directly means upping the profits by 10%!

 

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Announcement: New SIP pricing goes live

Author: , September 11, 2014

A few weeks ago, we announced the upcoming change in Hoiio SIP pricing. We have made some revisions to the final pricing plans, and they are now available for subscription as of today.

Do refer to this table for the details of the pricing plans:

SIP revised table

Hoiio SIP customers may have noticed the addition of several features that previously weren’t offered with our SIP service. Those new features are the result of investments made to provide our SIP users with higher quality and reliability.

After all, when businesses set up their phone lines, they’re looking for service continuity and good voice quality. In order for us to have the resources to continue providing superior quality, we needed to adjust our prices slightly. It remains our priority to provide our customers with high-quality service at competitive prices.

To subscribe

If you’re a Hoiio SIP user, we will be sending you an email with the relevant details. You can select one of the new SIP plans or go with the default option. We’ll do our best to ensure your migration is as seamless as possible, and your new subscription will only kick in after your current subscription expires.

If you’re new to Hoiio SIP and would like to subscribe, simply do so by filling up the form below. Our sales team will get in touch with you very shortly. And should you require any assistance, please feel free to drop us an enquiry at sales@hoiio.com.

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I’ve got my first SIP subscription. What now?

Author: , September 04, 2014

If you have no idea what to do with your SIP subscription, it’s okay.

We understand that Session Initiation Protocol isn’t the easiest of concepts to grasp. First, it’s a technology, and not all of us naturally ‘get’ how technology works. Secondly, it’s just really abstract.

No fear though. You can still enjoy the benefits of VoIP phone calls even if you don’t totally understand the technology behind it.

Just know that in order to have a VoIP phone line, you need a SIP service and a SIP client.

SIP service
Hoiio SIP takes care of the SIP service part. When you buy a SIP subscription, you get the details that authorise you to use the service. But you can’t just pick up the phone and start talking. You need to activate the phone line too.

SIP client
Here’s where the SIP client comes in. A SIP client is a device or software that allows you to make SIP phone calls. With your SIP account details, you can now activate your SIP line by configuring your device or software.

There are many SIP clients in the market that you can choose from, but to simplify there are four main categories they fall into.

In the following weeks, we’ll be guiding you through the different ways you can configure your SIP line. Stay tuned!

Blog_SIP_intro

Part 1: Using SIP on an IP phone

Part 2: Using SIP on the IP-PBX

Part 3: Using SIP on softphone for mobile

Part 4: Using SIP on softphone for desktop