Improving the In-Person Digital Experience in Your Sales/Leasing Offices
Meredith Oliver just released a copy of her BDX Digital Transformation Summit talk, Bridging the Physical & Digital Worlds with Interactive Technology in Sales Centers.

CPS CRM provides data to populate this interactive map!

Home Shoppers Expect a Self-Service Experience

It's well worth a listen as it addresses why builders and developers need to add interactive technology to their sales/marketing process: their home shoppers expect a self-service process.

It's that simple!

Oliver provides an interesting research stat: 76% of consumers have a better experience when the sales person is armed with technology. And, those stats apply regardless of whether your home shopper is a Millennial or a 55+.

Yet, Oliver mentions, many sales agents don't take advantage of the tools to provide this enhanced buying experience!  CPS has been developing interactive touchscreen presentations for over 10 years and we have some ideas to share that will help you develop a more effective set of tools so your home shoppers will start the journey to dream and imagine their new home!

Build a Strong Foundation to Promote Effectiveness

Meredith touched on an important thought in her BDX talk: how many times have you walked into a business and the technology wasn't being used?

We'll be talking about ways to maximize the value of your interactive presentation's investment over several blogs; here we'll focus creating a foundation for an effective presentation -- that's used by your agents and home shoppers!

Corporate Collaboration Improves Efficiency and Buy-In

Oliver mentions she's a "tactician" implementing builder's dreams; CPS has particular experience in digital signage.  We've found 3 key items contribute to establishing the foundation for a successful self-serve experience:
  1. Collaborate on objectives and design: The 2018 Housing Leadership Summit focused on corporate collaboration. It doesn't make sense to drop a new tool into sales offices without considering cultural and behavioral elements.  The more people involved in the initial stages, the more buy-in and desire for success! And, you'll need to provide training to provide everyone with the details as to why you've incorporated interactives at the sales office and how to effectively utilize them in a sales presentation. 
  2. Build-in meaningful hardware management: We've all run into situations where we've heard: our system is down! Yet, you can take steps to make those days few and far between: automated hardware management so Maria doesn't turn off the system and Ted doesn't know how to turn it back on; remote monitoring systems so a tech team can analyze issues remotely and make changes long-distance, as well.  Get rid of the housekeeping, in other words!
  3. Incorporate integration: In a recent Builder article, Hyphen Solutions' Felix Vasquez suggests that automated connectivity results in a more efficient home builder production environment.  Why not have your CRM or inventory management system provide unit status and pricing info (vs. having a sales agent manually input)? Maximize tools already in-house to provide consistent information without manual intervention

Get Digital Benefits (and then some!) with a Social Media Wall
"You never get a second chance to make a first impression."

Do you recognize that well-known Will Rogers saying? Debbie Wilson-Dewitt suggests, in a recent DigitalSignageToday article, that it makes sense to apply it to digital walls, as well.  

Digital Signage Helps Your Brand Stand Out

Wilson-Dewitt says digital walls are intended to create a strong impression -- and that's consistent with the benefits associated with digital signage.  You're able to capture customer attention immediately and promote your message and content.

Social Media Wall at Wendell Falls
A Social Media Wall Engages, Entertains & Starts Conversations, too

Digital Amplifies Visual

Digital signage -- with its captivating color and graphic motion -- is typically a head-turner.  It grabs attention and provides a unique customer experience.

Did you know that a recent I Am Omnichannel study reports that 70% of customers think digital signage is entertaining? 

Social Media Enhances Community

CPS offers Social Media Wall -- a unique, ever-changing combination of digital signage, traditional marketing copy/images and social media content.  The walls offer an engaging focal point at locations that see a lot of traffic such as sales and leasing information centers.

How Can You Take a Wall Up a Notch?

Apart from size, what else needs to be considered when thinking about effective digital signage and a wall?

  • Size matters, initially; but content keeps people engaged. That's where social really pays off!
  • Walls can greet as well as provide information
  • Use walls to communicate and reinforce branding
  • Answer questions through wall content and images; it keeps audiences engaged, longer.
  • Be Sure the wall is designed for your audience!

Take Advantage of a Value-Add!

Walls, says Wilson-Dewitt, are an incredible value-add and any kind of organization will benefit from one. You're able to take advantage of previously developed content, images and messaging -- and present them in a unique, digital format that will attract all sectors of your audience!

How to: Make Your Digital Signage More Effective
Are you a digital signage fan -- or evaluating digital signage as a part of a newly energized marketing program?

Designing to Maximize Engagement!
Interested in reviewing a few tactics to improve your digital signage program? We're not even 50% of the way through 2018 so... there's time to evaluate and plan for success!

Make Sure You've Identified Your Audience

It makes sense that even digital signage can't be everything to everyone.

There's no benefit to repeating a message or including dynamic video in the hopes that your audience will accept it. Be sure to design and build for your target audience -- their wants and needs relative to your product.

Here's an example: a new home sales office (or, a multifamily leasing office). Home shoppers are looking not only for a new home because their family is growing (or shrinking) -- they're interested in the details that will motivate the purchase such as features (does the Master Bath include a Jacuzzi?), options and upgrades (outdoor kitchen, den in lieu of bedroom) and whether their bedroom furniture fits into the new master suite.

Then, you want to be sure to address the other factors impacting their purchase decision. What's going on in the neighborhood? How about schools? Are there parks and playgrounds near for the children?  Answers to the ancillary items build their level of interest. 

Have You Determined Your Objective?

Everyone wants their audience to engage with digital signage.  But, there's another objective out there for your project; do you know what it is?

Let's take a look at the home builder idea mentioned above -- that's CPS' target audience for the interactive touchscreen system, SalesTouch. We like to say builders have several objectives with their sales office touchscreen system: engage, inform and kick-off the dream.

Basically, SalesTouch guides the home shopper's journey towards a home purchase. The touchscreen engages prospects from the minute they walk into the sales office -- it's colorful, typically provides an interesting initial view and large enough to attract attention. Then, the home shopper is presented with choices: explore the neighborhood, find out more about the particular community and examine specific floor plans and their options/upgrades.

The last objective is to encourage the dream of home ownership: select a floor plan, mix/match structural options and upgrades, drag and drop furniture -- take that standard plan and make it your own, in other words! 

Make Sure You Are Designing for Engagement

Digital signage varies from small monitors to large touchscreens -- with video walls in there, too!

What platform are you utilizing and how do you maximize its potential? As an example: we've found home shoppers really like large touchscreens mounted into a slightly angled table. They're able to step in and get close -- some people lean in, occasionally, there are special purse and drink stands. It's all about making your audience feel comfortable and exploiting the physical hardware as appropriate.

Regardless of the physical platform, focus on grabbing audience attention -- right away.  Remember: visuals are key as they spark the imagination. And, we're back to kicking-off the dream!

Home Buyers Want Convenient & Quick Warranty Service
A recent Radialarticle notes, in the age of Amazon, consumers have sky-high expectations. And that's regardless of industry -- customer service is a key differentiator at time of purchase as well as after-sale referrals.

Enhance Your Customer Service Ops with Self-Service!

Home Buyers Look for Personalized Customer Service

Homebuyers aren't any different than other consumers when thinking about their post-closing warranty service.  

Consumers want convenience and quick issue resolution -- in addition to an environment that is proactive with personalized service.

Self-Service Functionality is Hot!

Self-service is reported as one of the hottest trends in customer care. Consumers love the idea of being able to quickly and easily meet their objectives from submitting a warranty request to checking status to being able to review their warranty history.

Technology Helps Builders Meet Buyer Expectations

Innovations and advancements in technology enable builders to meet these expectations. Take a look at CPS' WarrantyWatcher software  -- particularly the Portal -- as an example. Homeowners are able to log-in, 24/7, to submit requests. No more waiting until Monday morning! And, they're able to check status at any time - no more calling, voicemail or missed calls.

The same Portal self-service is available for subcontractors. Although formal work orders are sent via email, it's always possible to log-in to the Portal, pick-up work orders, review associated drawings and photos and confirm availability.

Self-service channels consistently outperform other channels in terms of consumer satisfaction. Consider this, for a minute: does anyone snail mail or fax over anything, anywhere any longer?  How about calling?  Consumers love self-service because it reduces friction and provides answers immediately and consistently.

Go Omnichannel!

And, the Portal provides for a personalized, omnichannel experience, as well.  In other words, the Portal can fit into your business operations, seamlessly. Make it available from your website, skin it with your logo and colors, include photos of your team members.  It's all about winning and sustaining loyalty.

Referrals Are Yours When Service Exceeds Expectations!

Remember: the #1 referral reason for homeowner referrals is keeping buyers informed during construction and post-closing.

Builders: Collaborate to Increase Your Referral Rate
Have you been asked to increase your buyer referral rate -- and not quite sure where to start?

Keeping Buyers Informed is Key

Any chance you saw our Solutions Blog: Homebuilder #1 Referral Driver: Keeping Buyers Informed? You can read it here.

FieldCollaborate Is All About  Communication!
Not surprisingly, that Blog is one of our most frequently read as it kicks-off with Eliant CEO Bob Mirman's Builder and Developer article comments:  the single largest referral driver for homebuilders is how well the builder keeps buyers informed regarding the status of construction. 

Information Mitigates Stress

Mirman asks us to think of the homebuying process as similar to a hospital stay.  Both are stressful -- yet, the stress can be mitigated by information.  No one, in other words, feels comfortable in the dark.

The same applies to good experiences, suggests Mirman in June 2017 Builder and Developer. He notes the #1 driver of buyers' Willingess to Refer a Friend is the ability to keep them informed of their status.

Collaborating to Enhance Your Communication Process 

Importantly, Mirman notes, you don't need conversation -- just communication.

Buyer communication -- in an organized and consistent manner -- may be easier said than accomplished -- and that's where corporate collaboration can assist. Did you attend the Housing Leadership Summit in May 2018? A great session suggested collaboration is more than "working together"  as it involves a commitment to structural change involving both cultural and behavioral elements.

Information is Communication

We'd like to suggest adding software to provide the tools to enhance your current communication process. CPS' software Portals take information developed by Field Collaborate's construction users and WarrantyWatcher's customer service teams and make it available to buyers and home owners via the Internet.

No additional work required: the construction schedule is available for buyers to view. Warranty requests, status and appointments can be seen via mobile or desktop. In both cases, 24/7, anywhere/anytime!

Want to take things up a notch, become more user friendly? Go the extra step and take stage-of-construction photos and attach them to construction milestones. Add post-repair photos so your homeowner knows how things look before getting home after work.  After all, your buyers have Portal access 24/7 so they're up-to-speed as the work is completed!

Referrals Can Be Your Least Expensive Traffic Source

Referrals can be your least expensive source of traffic -- and the most rewarding.  Communication is a win-win as your team communicates results within the organization -- and they're easily viewable by your most important audience, your buyers.

Memorial Day 2018: Honoring Service and Sacrifice
Memorial Day has been set aside as a day for us to honor and remember the sacrifices made for our country by our military and recognize their service.

Vietnam Memorial, Washington DC
Traditionally, here at CPS, we recognize and thank service members in the CPS family:

Bob Musa's son is serving in the US Marine Corps; Mike is at his permanent duty station in North Carolina.

Remembering the service of:

Bob Strickland, US Air Force

Bob's father, Robert Musa (US Marine Corps, retired & yes; that's 2 generations!)
Chris' father, Michael Lott (US Navy, retired)
Michelle's father, Robert DuBois (US Air Force)
Michelle's husband, Jerry Stone (US Navy)
Sean's father, Chris Miyazaki (US Air Force, retired)
Troy's brother, John (US Air Force)
Zoe's father, Charles Miller and brother, Wilson Miller (both: US Army)

Did you know 50% of today's high school youth aren't aware of World War II? Why not take the time to encourage friends and family to remember -- with a bbq, picnic, visit to a memorial park or concert, join a parade or run a race to support various fundraising efforts?

Let us know who you are remembering this Memorial Day!

Adding An Emotional Context to Sales and Leasing Offices
CPS SalesTouch: Adding Emotion to the Sales Center!
No matter how the numbers and facts line-up, a good portion of the home shopping experience is based on emotion.

Humans are Influenced by Emotion

It's in our nature. It's worth considering how to add emotion to your marketing messaging as sales/leasing offices are often the first place visitors encounter the full range of your brand and product.

Include Storytelling Features

Storytelling is one of the best content strategies for creating an emotional connection. Stories are tactile and create a visual picture.

No doubt you've heard stories and imagined yourself within that context. That's what makes a good story as it pulls listeners in and actually makes them a co-creator of the message. Stories make content more interesting and more memorable

Make Sure You've Maximized Color

While there are many psychological studies as to color messaging and impact, it's enough to say that color has an impact and should be a major factor to consider as part of your emotional context.

Incorporate Social Proof

We've mentioned collaborative consumption when discussing today's empowered consumersToday's home shoppers bring friends -- just as they always have.  But, in many cases, they're "cloud" friends! These advisers are available through social media -- providing feedback, offering reviews, providing info as to sales and trends. 

Your story needs to be part of this social cloud.  One of the easiest ways to provide social proof, if you aren't displaying social media onsite, is to incorporate testimonials. 

Get Interactive!

Scroll back to the top -- emotion is tactile! Take a look at Cornerstone Communities' interactive SalesTouch kiosk: can you imagine the conversations? What a gorgeous sunset! Do you like fishing? I'd love to walk that every evening! Are there restaurants on the pier?

Interactive touch presentations encourage emotional connections. Did you realize using touch generates entirely different (and more positive) brain activity than using a mouse? Take a look at Bob Musa's book, Creating Customers with Interactive Touch Screen Digital Signage, for more on the power of touch!

How to: Stay Competitive with Today's Empowered Consumers
You've probably seen and read articles about today's key words: market disruption. 

Technology is Driving Market Disruption

Social Media Wall: A Tool for Collaborative Consumption
We're going to address the type of market disruption being driven today by technology. 

All of us have experienced the shift in the balance of power between businesses and customers -- and much of that is a result of new and growing use of technology.

If you think about today's consumers, they're empowered -- by access to information and data.

Information is Available 24/7, Anywhere/Anytime

Today's shopper can locate the latest sales, pricing and availability -- without ever walking into a retail store, sales/leasing office or car lot. Some of that information has been offered by traditional media - radio, newspapers, magazines. Of course, access was constrained by publishing schedules, once/day delivery and the like.

Now, all of that information is available 24/7, anywhere/anytime -- and consumers also have the ability to test and compare information, too.  And, it's not just from the distribution side -- there are a wide variety of sites available to review, compare and test products and services.

Take a Look at Collaborative Consumption!

Also new is what's been called collaborative consumption. Today's shoppers bring friends -- just as they always have. But, they're "cloud" friends! These advisers are available through social media -- providing feedback, offering reviews, providing info as to sales and trends.

Take a look at CPS' Social Media Wall. It offers social content as well as traditional marketing images and copy. What's unique? It's curated so the business has the ability to determine how much and which social content to display. Your sales office now has the ability to collaborate with home shoppers, buyers and homeowners -- you've extended your data reach!

Social Media Walls are an Incredible Value-Add

Walls, says Debbie Wilson-Dewitt in a recent DigitalSignageToday article, are an incredible value-add. Walls can greet as well as provide information, answer questions and reinforce branding. CPS can help you design a Wall to meet your empowered audience!

Builders: Kick-Up Engagement with Digital Content
Your audience -- whatever the product, whether they're new new home shoppers or retail customers -- has a short attention span. Shoppers want content -- in short bursts -- and they want it now.  Reading through brochures is so 2000, in other words.

What can you do to improve your approach to content and make it relevant to your audience?

SalesTouch offers attention-grabbing, actionable content!
Consumers want an experience -- offer something they can touch & feel -- this need is seen across demographics but has been made imperative by the emerging purchasing power of Millennials. 

Focus on grabbing their attention -- right away.  Remember: visuals are key as they spark the imagination.  Let your customers know there's a story unfolding in front of them -- make sure your copy and content is relevant to their lifestyle, goals and aspirations.

Provide actionable information -- and, be sure it's approachable. Your customer is there because they want something new -- they want to find out how your product (be it a new home, an appliance or clothes) will improve their current situation.  Help them explore your solution. If you're a new home builder, that means interactive floorplans, furniture placement, design center features.  A grocery? There's recipes, nutritional information and new cooking methods.

Motivate them to take the next step -- make sure you've defined it.  Do you want prospect registration? A tour, follow-up meeting or an email in a month? Make the next step realistic, identifiable and easy to locate.

Take a look at the CPS SalesTouch interactive touchscreen presentation above: what can you tell about the audience, their goals and aspirations and the next steps? 

We've put SalesTouch case studies on our website so you can see how effective content grabs a home shopper's attention and encourages them to take the next step on their path to home ownership.

Builders: Do You Share These Pain Points?
Interesting recent BuilderOnline article by John McManus noting that the benefits of the current recovery in homebuilding appear slanted towards the very large, production homebuilders.

FieldCollaborate Quality Inspection Wizard
CPS FieldCollaborate:
Cycle-time Improvements Start Quickly

Market Gains Aren't Equal Across the Builder Landscape

Today, smaller builders, says McManus, are working harder and have a bunch of "math basics" working against them.  Larger builders are able to optimize finance structures as well as relationships with land sellers, vendors and distribution networks.

In many cases, the result, for smaller builders, is a profit squeeze. Labor and material costs are increasing and builders report usable lots aren't as available and are more expensive.

Technology Investment as a Tool

Are these some of your pain points? There's a few more: McManus goes on to say that many of the "smaller builder positives" such as local land knowledge, long-standing vendor relationships and local homeowner referrals don't hold as much sway as previously.  And, there is the Millennial home buyer with all sorts of different objectives, priorities and shopping patterns.

Add to that, larger builders have invested in sales, marketing and operations-focused technology -- and the results are making for a much more competitive marketplace.
Interactive Technology lets you eliminate static displays

Dial-up Your Motivation to Locate Solutions

One solution, McManus suggests, is locating capital partners to achieve better margins. That's certainly an option for some.

Another is reviewing and evaluating current operations. Are you still operating with pen/pencil on the operations side? There are relatively inexpensive, easy-to-use construction management software products such as CPS' 2018 Constructech award-winning, cloud-based FieldCollaborate that can be implemented quickly and start paying off in decreased cycle times and increased communications with vendors and buyers. Buyer referrals still resonate -- grab them as a result of technology use! Available anywhere/anytime for field managers, vendors, home buyers, corporate users.

Take the opportunity to examine how well you are telling your home shopper's story, as well. Step away from tired, static displays and utilize an interactive presentation -- consider an iPad or Surface tablet  if a larger display isn't feasible.

Upgraded marketing tools create an environment appealing to the ever-growing Millennial buyer and responding to their need for new ideas, designs and uses -- and, interactive technology is the way they're used to purchasing.  Adding interactive technology doesn't need to be an incremental increase in cost -- you're able to eliminate the wall-mounted floorplans and pre-printed brochures with products such as CPS' SalesTouch

Multifamily: Doubling Down on Marketing Effectiveness
From a multifamily perspective, 2018 has experienced positive economic growth. There's near-term confidence, according to a recent RCLCO Sentiment Study, in the underlying economy despite background concern regarding increasing interest rates and the equities markets.

CPS SalesTouch: Marketing Tools for Your Connected Consumer
Adam Ducker published a thought provoking article in Builder and Developer Magazine titled Outlook Landscape. He suggested asking if there's an upcoming correction in the multifamily market and what developers should consider in advance.

It's Very Difficult to Time Any Market

Ducker commented that while it's always alluring to try to outsmart market cycles, it's very difficult to do so. He did suggest, however, that multifamily developers take steps now to be prepared for any change in market conditions.

One suggestion makes sense in any market: double down now on marketing effectiveness and customer knowledge tools.

In Ducker's opinion, it's too late to start looking at the latest marketing tools when things get competitive.

Engaging, Interactive Marketing tools are Available!

CPS has been offering SalesTouch, an interactive touchscreen system, to multifamily developers since 2010.  They're an engaging marketing tool, designed to connect with today's consumer and particularly effective in areas with weather (and it doesn't matter if that means too hot, rainy, or freezing cold!).

Why not offer a virtual tour of the property -- and surrounding neighborhood -- when it's frightful outside?  You're already prepared with property view images, virtual tours, drag 'n drop furniture and neighborhood hot spots! Add in on-demand brochures and the ability to display the presentation on your website on on tablets've combined marketing effectiveness with customer knowledge tools! Your leasing office has just been kicked-up from static signage and stacks of pre-printed brochures!

Invest Now When Cash Flow is Healthy

Ducker makes an additional point: when markets get competitive, it's too late to up your game.  Now is the time to invest in these new tools: when cash flow is healthy and equity partners are open to exploring new directions.

Homebuilder Construction Scheduling: The Glue to Successful Operations
Scott Sedam always has interesting thoughts on homebuilding and how to improve operations. 

Back in 2011 he wrote in ProBuilder, "The best builders are the best schedulers."

A considered schedule helps address labor, costs and homeowner satisfaction

We suggest that thought is as true today as it was thenWhether you're concerned about cost increases, labor shortages, homeowner satisfaction...a thoughtfully created and consistently used schedule can be the glue that keeps your operation performing successfully.

Where Do I Start?

We're frequently asked: Where do I start when thinking about putting together the type of schedule that helps me address all of these questions -- and maintain my margins?  We'll start with the basics -- and add to them in subsequent blogs:
  1. Keep It Simple: Yes, the KISS theory applies to scheduling, too. Whether you're building entry level or high-end, focus on determing key steps -- eliminating additional steps, paperwork, trips, etc.
  2. Get Buy-in: From your corporate team -- and vendors.  There's no sense in creating either an unrealistic or unacceptable schedule. Everyone wins when the schedule is accurate and reliable.
  3. Remember your buyer: Make sure you include "meet the buyer" activities and develop steps to keep your buyer informed! They'll be happier -- and provide referrals, too.

Your Construction Schedule Helps Create Best Practices

Putting together and utilizing a good schedule is the first step to best practices.  You'll also want to evaluate results: did Lot 12 deliver on-schedule; which subs performed/which didn't; how many punch items were generated; how did the homeowner rate satisfaction?

Construction scheduling software will help you put together the schedule -- and evaluate results. CPS' FieldCollaborate is a Constructech 2018 award-winner: we can help you be a better scheduler and, in turn, a better builder!

Builders: Using Software to Help Ease Margin Pressure
Are you a homebuilder focused on the entry-level and first-time home buyer market? That portion of the new home market is hot -- and the Millennial home shopper is more focused on purchasing than ever before!

Are you experiencing price increases on basic materials? How about difficulty in obtaining labor -- especially in critical trades? Labor shortages lead to price increases -- and these factors mean you're seeing margins being squeezed.

Now is a good time to focus on Operational Excellence

Recently, John McManus had a great article in BuilderOnline. McManus notes there's an opportunity today to motivate apartment dwellers to purchase homes. Home shoppers prefer new -- and apartment dwellers don't need to sell their current home so there are fewer strings attached to the purchase.

But, these buyers are at the first-time, entry level price point so price increases on the builder side indicate a need to be extra focused on what could be considered controllable costs to maintain margins. McManus notes builders are "doubling down" on items under their control such as construction cycles and workflows.

Construction Scheduling Offers an Effective Management Tool

Cycle time doesn't live in a vacuum -- and can't be determined or measured in the abstract, either. Do you have a published schedule -- do you track progress against it? Does everyone look at the same schedule or are there multiples floating around within the organization? If so, there's where inefficiencies multiply!

If there's one schedule, not only can you measure cycle time but you're able to provide consistent, reliable schedules to your vendors. That's a win/win as your vendors can rely on your schedule to book their crews. That lets your vendors get and stay efficient.

Construction scheduling software will help you develop the tools so there's only one schedule (for everyone -- within and outside the organization). Not only can you track and measure against it but..your vendors will have easy access to it and can rely on it.

CPS FieldCollaborate: Award-winning Construction Scheduling Software

We're available to provide a FieldCollaborate demo -- and we'll show you how to implement and use software that has resulted in up to 30% cycle time reductions -- day in/day out!

Let's Put Some Spring into Your Sales/Leasing Office!

Spring Mean Sales!

Spring might finally be here and with it: Spring Selling Season!  No matter what you're selling, says Amy O'Connor of Shore Consulting, Inc., people like buying in the spring. Buyers are ready to shake off the last days of winter and ready for something new!

From a visual vocabulary to virtual curb appeal!
Where to start? Amy is clear: the key to spring selling success is starting strong!

CPS adds: Work to Create a Great Buying Experience!

You want to be your customer's #1 choice; what can you do to make that happen? First, embrace the idea that home shoppers visit your office because they're interested in buying one of your homes.. in many cases, today!

Next, we'll suggest that it makes sense to start looking at your sales office as a customer does. What will help you stand apart so the home shopper rates your community #1?

Consider: Virtual Curb Appeal

What are you doing to create a great buying experience? From the minute a prospect drives (or walks) up to your office, they're using all of their senses to evaluate the experience...from smell to sight to touch!
 SalesTouch uses visuals to appeal to home shopper emotions!

Mollie Elkman, a Philadelphia-based marketing expert, reminds us that pictures offer "virtual curb appeal."  Why not build on standard imagery and Go Interactive to make your office stand apart and grab home shoppers' attention? An interactive touch presentation actively engages prospects from the minute they step into your sales office and can continue the conversation with interactive floor plans, the ability to select and place furniture inside your homes and e-brochures.

CPS offers SalesTouch, the interactive touchscreen system for both large and small (think tablets) screens. We're here to help you kick off (and up!!) your Spring selling season.

Keeping Customers Happy -- Even When There are Lines

QuikLine: Keeping Customers Informed with Line Management

Businesses take lines seriously

They have to.  No one wants grumpy customers annoyed about wait times and abandoning their purchase, because of a line.

Automated line management systems are available to make the wait process more efficient.

Typically, a well-designed system will provide a 15-35% improvement from end-to-end.  Everyone likes the idea of less time in line but … reducing a 3 1/2 minute wait by 25 seconds might not register as a significant improvement for the average consumer. It’s still a wait, in other words.
That’s where queuing management comes into play — and it isn’t just about shortening the line.  Queue theory, a 100-year old field of study, has transitioned from the purely mathematical to more of a psychological analysis of lines and their impact.

As a result, line management considers perceived wait time — the psychological component of line management — as just as important as time in line.

There can be up to a 40% decrease in perceived wait time with a good automated line system keeping customers informed about what to expect and both occupied and distracted by marketing and informational messaging.  It’s play-off season; who wouldn’t mind waiting when they knew they’d see the latest game score? Or, learning about Friday night’s free wine tasting!
What’s your business doing to keep your lines moving — and your customers happy?  Take a look at CPS’ QuikLine automated line management solution!

How to: Make Your Digital Signage Project a Success
Daniel Waldron hit the ball out of the park in a recent Digital Signage Today article: your digital signage success hinges on creating a unique user experience for your customers.
Staying Consistent with Your Customer's Journey!

How do you do that? Waldron suggests there are several key pieces of advice:

  1. Ask: is your digital solution attractive?  That seems fairly basic but.. you'd be surprised! Is the actual hardware visually appealing? Many times, in the interest of cost savings, you'll see monitors that are  too small for the setting -- or have been touched too many times without cleaning. Stay on top of details! And, of course, make sure you're taking advantage of high quality visuals and high-res monitors.
  2. Incorporate Social Media into the digital experience. Have you seen the Digital Information World statistic: 71% of consumers refer to social media for purchasing decisions? Linking digital signage to social media, Waldron suggests, creates trust -- as social media recommendations carry positive weight and show you're committed to engaging with your customers. 
  3. Stay Customer Centric. Don't try to do everything, in other words! If you're a homebuilder, for example, stay consistent with your customer's journey: they're at your sales office because they want to make a lifestyle change. Show them your homes, let them try on various options, help them find out about life essentials in this new neighborhood (where are the local schools; how about shopping?) -- and make it easy to do! Add some fun, where possible!
Take a look at CPS' interactive touchscreen SalesTouch system designed for Cornerstone Communities' Aventine sales center. Wouldn't you agree it is visually attractive? And, consistent with prospective home shopper's life journeys? We can help you create unique (and successful!) user experiences; visit our website to find out more!

Interactive Presentations: Content is Critical
Your audience -- whatever the product, whether they're new new home shoppers or retail customers -- has a short attention span.
CPS SalesTouch content helps focus the customer journey!

They want content -- in short bursts -- and they want it now.  Reading through brochures is so 2000, in other words!

What can you do to improve your approach to content and make it relevant to your audience?
  • Focus on grabbing their attention -- right away.  Remember: visuals are key as they spark the imagination.  Let your customers know there's a story unfolding in front of them -- make sure your copy and content is relevant to their lifestyle, goals and aspirations.
  • Provide actionable information -- that is easily approached. Your customer is there because they want something new -- they want to find out how your product (be it a new home, an appliance or clothes) will improve their current situation.  Help them explore your solution. If you're a new home builder, that means interactive floorplans, furniture placement, design center features.  A grocery? There's recipes, nutritional information and new cooking methods.
  • Motivate them to take the next step -- make sure you've defined it.  Do you want prospect registration? A tour, followup meeting or call back? Make the next step realistic, identifiable and easy to locate. 
Take a look at the CPS SalesTouch interactive touchscreen presentation above: what can you tell about the audience, their goals and aspirations and the next steps?  We've put SalesTouch case studies on our website so you can see how effective content grabs a home shopper's attention and encourages them to take the next step on their path to home ownership.

Yes! Interactive Technology & the 55+ Home Shopper are a Great Fit!
People are always asking: My new project is a 55+ community -- do you think interactive technology would be useful?
Technology helps answer your home shopper's questions!

The answer is a resounding yes!

First, a few thoughts about 55+ and technology: today's 55+ home shopper is more tech savvy than you might think.

The largest growing Facebook user group is the 55+ audience. The 2017 NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report reports that 89% of home shopping Boomers search online -- which is consistent with any of the other age groups -- including Millennials.

We've found every generation of home shoppers expects some sort of digital engagement and builders need to consider providing tools to meet those consumer expectations.

By the time a Millennial, Gen Xer, or Boomer home shopper walks into your sales or leasing office, they’re already well into their journey for a new dwelling.

One key take away: technology acts as an assistant to sales and leasing agents as it encourages home shoppers to ask questions and find solutions.  Whether the process includes creating a dream home with a hobby room in lieu of the standard 3rd bedroom or determining how Plan 2158 fits on the selected lot, interactive technology helps the home shopper visualize and embrace their new home.

And, your 55+ audience seeks information! They're considering a life-changing purchase and want to make sure they've checked all the possible boxes. Take a look at CPS' interactive touchscreen system, SalesTouch, engaging home shoppers at Latitude Hilton Head -- the latest Margaritaville 55+ community. The sales agents address questions and provide understandable answers at a touch!

It's President's Weekend -- Spring Selling Season is Around the Corner!
It's true: we're just about to wrap-up February -- and that means the Spring Selling Season is kicking off! This week offers a great time to take stock and develop plans to kick-off new Spring new home sales/marketing efforts.

How do you create a great Buying Experience?
We'd like to suggest several ideas to help generate visits to your sales office and better engage home shoppers when they're there:

(1) Start Reaching Out to Realtors, Now -- We've blogged about the value of co-op agents before (here's an earlier Solutions blog -- Builders, Co-Op Agents: Reaching the Asian Community.)

BuilderOnLine reports Spring is the busiest season for Realtors and suggests offering incentives to make sure they are up on the latest about your community.  How about putting together a Get Ready for Spring Open House -- maybe offering a "spa event" raffle for attendees?  Or, a Wine & Cheese evening with a several bottles of your favorite?

Keep the buzz going: don't stop with one event!  If you start now (in dreary February), you'll be ahead of 90% of your competition!

Don't forget Realtors often focus on specific demographics -- relocations, ethnic or religious groups, 55+ buyers, etc.  Try reaching out to the demographic-centric agents, oftenThey always will have a group of interested buyers available to visit your community -- provide them with a reason to stop by.

(2) Work to Create a Great Buying Experience --- You want to be your customer's #1 choice; what can you do to make that happen? First, embrace the idea that home shoppers visit your office because they're interested in buying one of your homes.. in many cases, today!

Next, we'll suggest that it makes sense to start looking at your sales office as a customer does. What will help you stand apart so the home shopper rates your community #1?

Think about: what are you doing to create a great buying experience! From the minute a prospect drives (or walks) up to your office, they're using all of their senses to evaluate the experience...from smell to sight to touch!

Mollie Elkman, a Philadelphia-based marketing expert, reminds us that pictures offer "virtual curb appeal."  Why not build on standard imagery and Go Interactive to make your office stand apart and grab home shoppers' attention?

An interactive touch presentation actively engages prospects from the minute they step into your sales office and can continue the conversation with interactive floor plans, the ability to select and place furniture inside your homes and e-brochures.

CPS offers software to help you zero in on the co-op agent community (that's CPS CRM) as well as SalesTouch, our interactive touchscreen system for both the large and small (think tablets) screen. We're here to help -- even when it's snowing and raining!

Add Something Apple to Your New Home Sales/Leasing Office!
Great article by Carmine Gallo in Forbes, recently, How the Apple Store Seduces You with the Tilt of Its Laptops.

CPS SalesTouch Brings Multisensory to Home Shopping!
Yes, you read that correctly!  Laptop tilt!

Actually, the tilt is designed to encourage customers to adjust the screen to their ideal viewing angle.

In other words, the tilt is encouraging touch! And, not just with the monitor angle but throughout the store.  Apple wants customers to see what is available and to experiment with hardware, apps and websites as a way to learn about their devices.

Gallo suggests interactivity -- what he calls multisensory experience is built into every component of an Apple Store.  Store employees don't demonstrate items; rather, they encourage shoppers to find solutions themselves.  Gallo suggests Apple discovered customers would be more interested in buying, more loyal to the brand by creating an ownership experience!

Our brains, Gallo writes, love multisensory experiences.  The more engaged a customer is, the more likely it is they will engage with your product on an emotional level.

CPS'  interactive touchscreen system, SalesTouchis all about interactivity.  It is designed to engage home shoppers the minute they walk in the sales office with interesting, useful, emotional images and content.  Whether exploring the neighborhood or trying on structural options, they're finding solutions (where is the local elementary school? where is the optional den located?).

And, just like the Apple store, they're creating an ownership experience!

Isn't that what home shopping is about?  Take a look at some of the interactive presentations we've created for builders and developers in the Case Studies section of our website and ask us how we can help you add interactivity to your offices!

Kick-up the Customer Experience in Your New Homes Sales Offices!

Over the last quarter, this Blog has focused on several consistent new homes-related themes: the emergence of Millennials as homebuyers, the impact of 55+ buyers on new home design, features and marketing, and the role of customer service as a referral driver.

SalesTouch lets 55+ shoppers dream and make it their own!
Have you been considering these topics and wondering how can my organization take these themes to boost our customer experience in a meaningful way in 2018?

A recent RetailCustomerExperience article by FullStory's co-founder, Scott Voigt, suggests, "You can win (sales) on customer experience." and summarizes, "Excellent customer experience can largely be distilled in two words, speed and convenience."

Voigt goes on to say, "The easier and quicker customers can find what they're looking for and get their questions resolved, the higher the conversion and the more loyalty you'll likely engender. And, loyalty means return customers" (as well as referrals!).
SalesTouch meets the Millennial shopper with focused and relatable content!

Here at CPS, we often say that home shoppers are no different than shoppers in other locations: they want information, quickly, and they're comfortable shopping via touch.

Take a look at the images presented from SalesTouch interactive touchscreen presentations. The 55+ buyer is actively engaged, trying out floorplans, dragging and dropping furniture into her dream home! The Millennial home buyer is presented with focused content and relatable images describing offered energy savings -- an item Millennials frequently cite as important to their buying process.

Voigt finishes, "The customer experience you offer is the single biggest way to compete."

We'd be thrilled to discuss how you can make 2018 the Year of Customer Experience -- contact us via our Info link!

Harness the Power of Images in Your Sales and Leasing Centers
Do you receive those 1-minute Tuesday Tips from Brian Flook? Saw an interesting one recently: Did you know that the power of images is increasing?

SalesTouch: Powerful images provide a visual cue to explore
Flook asked that question and replied: Yes; images matter!  He goes on to note that real estate listings with 25+ images sell faster than those with only 10 photos.

Here at CPS we've long believed engaging home shoppers starts the moment they enter the sales office with SalesTouch, our interactive touchscreen system.  It doesn't just happen, of course! There needs to be a visual cue to invite the prospect to explore.

Visual cues not only invite attention, they encourage the visitor to engage and obtain more information! Whatever their reason for considering a purchase -- larger home, neighborhood, on-site amenities -- powerful imagery motivates movement.
Dynamic images engage home shoppers, encourage exploration

Take a look at Bella Collina:  elegant, Italian, scenic images along with copy about The Club, Golf Course and the Spirit of Tuscany.  You can imagine luxuriating in the Spa. What's the next step? Start touching to find out!

Compare Ramblewood Forest's imagery: luxury, large homes for family, a new neighborhood. Equally inviting, the same question arises, "how to find out more?" The next step isn't unknown: start touching to find out!

Flook suggests: storytelling via images clinches the deal -- long before any copy, no matter how well written!

Attending #IBSOrlando? CPS will be storytelling at Booth W5583 with SalesTouch, our interactive touchscreen system, and Social Media Wall!

When Thinking About Digital Walls: Go BIG!
"You never get a second chance to make a first impression."

That's a well-known Will Rogers saying and in a recent DigitalSignageToday article Debbie Wilson-Dewitt suggests it makes sense to apply it to digital walls, as well.  She says these walls are intended to create a strong impression.

Since the walls are typically placed in an entry area they're designed to make that first impression as lasting as possible and, for that, you need to go BIG or go home!

Social Media Wall at Wendell Falls
Social Media Wall at Wendell Falls
CPS offers Social Media Wall-- a unique, ever-changing combination of social media content and traditional marketing copy. Many of these walls have gone big and provide a terrific entrance focal point at new home information centers. 

Apart from size, what else needs to be considered when thinking about an effective wall?
  • Size matters, initially; content keeps people looking. 
  • Walls can greet as well as provide information.
  • Use walls to communicate and reinforce branding. 
  • Answer questions through wall content and images; it keeps people engaged, longer.
  • Be sure the wall is designed for your audience.
    Walls, says Wilson-Dewitt, are an incredible value-add and any kind of organization can benefit from them.

    Heading to Orlando for IBS 2018? Visit CPS in Booth W5583 and let us help you imagine how this dynamic communications tool can leverage your social media content and create conversations!  

    Builders: Grab Millennial Interest with Pet-Friendly Interactives!
    Have you heard results from the recent SunTrust Mortgage survey: 33% of Millennials purchased their new home to have more room (i.e., better space or a yard) for a dog?

    Mary Cook's noted in a recemt Builder Developer, that Millennials are finally ready to move out of their parents' home and find their own. They're particularly interested in community, walkable neighborhoods, flexible floor plans and green features.
    SalesTouch Highlights Your Pet-Friendly Initiatives!

    Did you know a recent Builder article suggested: it's a smart bet to include pet-friendly features -- and to actively market them, as well.  

    Take a look at the CPS SalesTouch presentation highlighting Hounds Hollow at the Tehaleh masterplan community in Washington. It's a key feature associated with the Parks & Trails portion of their interactive neighborhood exploration.

    How would you feel, as a pet-owner, if you were shopping for a home at this new home community? Welcome, encouraged, confident you'd find other pet owners!

    Lots of people have highlighted what Millennials are considering when looking for a home -- and, of course, square footage, location and amenities are factors. One jumps out that you might not have considered: Millennials love their dogs! And, pets are a key component in the home shopping decision!

    Engage these home shoppers as soon as they enter your sales office with an interactive touchscreen presentation! They want to explore how your homes meet their lifestyle expectations -- and what better way than offering interactive floorplans with drag n' drop furniture that offers design opportunities at their fingertips? And, you have a great opportunity to introduce your pet features, as well!

    CPS will be at featuring SalesTouch at the upcoming #IBS2018 in Orlando -- we're in Booth W5583.  Stop by and we can talk about how you can enhance your home shopper experience!

    Builders: Get Proactive, Increase Referrals with Mobile Customer Experience Moments!
    Let's take an earlier Solutions Blog: How to Improve Your "Refer a Friend" Rate (read it here) with Eliant's Bob Mirman thoughts regarding the referral impact associated with keeping customers informed - and add Full Story's Scott Voight's thoughts, "You can win on customer experience" and "Excellent customer service can largely be distilled in two words, speed and convenience."  

    Have you adopted  "proactive customer service" -- that is, not waiting for an event to offer specific, customer-focused attention.
    Get Mobile and Create Proactive Customer Service moments!

    A recent Innovative Retail Technologies article sparked a new thought: the value of mobile relative to proactive

    There's a "First Dibs Opportunity" study suggesting 46% of mobile usage sessions start with no real aim! Author Christine Kern also mentions 70% of respondents use their mobile devices to "kill time." 

    The study concludes "if smart phones were smart, they'd do a better job of giving us something useful!"

    Software can help builders turn mobile time into proactive customer service moments! Your homebuyers can grab a minute or two, while waiting in line at the store, to check out stage of construction photos. And, can't you see your buyer getting excited to see a just-installed countertop and turning to the next shopper and saying, "Check this out! My new home's kitchen was just finished!"

    That's a refer a friend moment! Or, how about the impact of a homeowner browsing their warranty service requests while getting a hair cut and seeing a completed request with a photo?  Wouldn't that be a "Wow! My builder is on top of things!" moment?

    CPS' FieldCollaborate and WarrantyWatcher Portals can help you easily create these proactive customer service events -- and do it quickly and conveniently. Customer experience will improve and your referral rate will jump!

    CPS will be exhibiting at #IBSOrlando next week -- drop by for a demo at Booth W5583.  Or, contact us at and we'll schedule a demo for you!