Interactive Touchscreens: All About Consumer Engagement
Consumer engagement is a very broad topic but... it's considered the lifeblood of an organization's marketing strategy.

SalesTouch: Immediate Engagement for Consumer & Brand
How would you define it?  We suggest it is the interaction between a brand and its customers.  

When consumers make purchase decisions -- especially large dollar purchases like a new home -- they are doing more than buying a product; they are making a statement as to how the product resonates with their identity and lifestyle. 

How does your marketing collateral engage home shoppers and move beyond just product?

Harvard Business Review article, To Keep Your Customers, Keep It Simple, suggests using a "decision simplicity index" to ask how easy is it for consumers to gather and understand information. The easier a brand makes the purchase decision journey, the higher the decision-simplicity score.  

Shifting the orientation toward decision simplicity, it is argued, is a significant change requiring marketing teams to rethink how and what to communicate.  Too much (information, product samples, views, floor plans....you name it!) can produce an excess of input leading to indecision.  Too much choice, in other words, often paralyzes decision-making.

Take a look at the Tehaleh SalesTouch interactive presentation image, above.  Can you see how it would resonate with identity and lifestyle -- as it defines what you will see as you engage: active lifestyle, family, outdoors, shopping/dining and homes.  Aren't you encouraged to jump in and explore?  Hasn't this SalesTouch interactive system simplified and personalized the journey toward purchasing at Tehaleh?

Take advantage of CPS' experience in developing engaging interactive presentations focused on presenting information simply, yet powerfully.


Home Builder Customer Service: Another Referral Source
Did you catch our blog titled Keeping Buyers in the Loop is #1 Referral Driver? You can read it here!
Status updates: 24/7 availability!

We noted that Eliant, home building's largest firm specializing in managing the consumer experience, said in a recent Builder & Developer article that the single largest referral driver is how well the builder keeps buyers informed regarding the status of construction!

That statistic is part of a great article by Eliant's founder/COE, Bob Mirman, noting similarities between hospitals and home builders.

At first, you could think such a comparison is silly; yet, there are striking similarities: patients and home buyers are justifiably anxious, worried, confused and scared as they're involved in an unfamiliar environmentNot for the same reason but.. still concerned. Mirman suggests empathy goes a long way towards making everyone feel comfortable.

Doesn't the same thought apply to your homeowners? They've just made their single, largest purchase and... now, there are some issues!  Empathy coupled with good indicators that progress is being made will go a long way in making the homeowner feel satisfied.

Another Mirman point: the value of contact when delays are encountered -- or anticipated. Are you keeping homeowners in the loop as to status of their service request? Are your employees proactively reaching out?

Then there's the third and most critical point that is striking almost in its simplicity:  impact of status updates. Mirman really appreciated the daily calls from an assigned staff internist. He knew he'd get the latest information and didn't need to worry about voicemails, missed calls and miscommunication through a 3rd party.

Take that thought, apply it to your home builder warranty/customer service department and ask:  how well do we keep your homeowners up-to-date? We'd like to suggest taking a look at CPS' WarrantyWatcher and its Portal.  Homeowners have access, 24/7 and in real-time, to submit a request, view the scheduled vendor visit and review previous requests.  It's their "piece of the pie" automatically generated from use of WarrantyWatcher's customer service software. Service request status is automatic, always visible and available 24/7 -- on your homeowner's desktop, laptop, phone or tablet! 

Homeowners like to feel they made a good decision -- and will talk about it when given a chance. Referrals can be a key sales driver; we can help you make sure your post-sale status updates are the one of your referral drivers!


Keeping Customers Happy Even When There Are Lines!
All of us can probably agree: lines can make one grumpy!  And,  lines are everywhere: schools, airports, restaurants, retail stores, government agencies.

Businesses take lines seriously. They have to: no one wants grumpy customers annoyed about waiting times and abandoning the purchase, entirely, because of a line.

Waiting isn't as bad -- there's Friday's Brews & Bites!
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.

Automated line management systems are available to make the wait process more efficient.  Typically, an effective system can 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 doesn't always register as a significant improvement to the average consumer. It's still a wait.

Just as important -- it not more so -- is perceived wait time -- the psychological component of line management.

There can be up to a 40% decrease in perceived wait time with a good automated line system keeping customers up-to-date 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!


Benefits You Can Expect from Award-Winning Builder Warranty Software
It's always exciting to win an award -- and CPS' WarrantyWatcher was selected as a Constructech 2017 Top Product!
WarrantyWatcher: helping warranty operations be more effective!

What benefits can you, as a home builder, expect from this latest release of warranty/customer service cloud-based software?  An award, after all, only goes so far -- there needs to be some meat on the bones!

Home builder warranty/customer service records home buyer service requests, sends out work orders and reports on the results. Those are the basics; when you're looking at becoming more efficient and effective, what does WarrantyWatcher offer?

Why an award? We think there are 3 key points:

  1. There are Buyer and Vendor Portals: Make it easy for your buyers to submit service requests via the internet-based Portal and for your warranty staff to utilize the information. It's not email so there's no double input; just review the submitted request, determine that it's appropriate and go! And, your buyers can keep up-to-date on status through the Portal; think of how many phone calls, emails, texts that will be eliminated! Vendors are able to pick-up their work orders through the Portal, indicate availability and, even, receive drawings, photographs or other documents. 
  2. WarrantyWatcher is platform agnostic with 24/7, real-time access: That's a bit techie sounding but it means that your staff can utilize the software in the office on their desktop or in the field via tablet or smartphone. And, real-time information is available, 24/7. No waiting for updates or only being able to view some of the information. Responsive design means the view responds to the device in use.
  3. It's part of CPS' Enterprise software: Warranty/customer service operations typically take place after the sale closes. All sorts of buyer and construction events have already taken place -- and CPS Enterprise integration means they're available for warranty staff to utilize. Plumbing problem on Lot 47? If your construction operation utilized CPS' FieldCollaborate, you'd already know that Phillips Plumbing worked on Lot 47 (having replaced Standard Plumbing) and that there were upgraded faucets selected in the Design Center through CPS•CRM use. Everyone shares information -- maximizing communication and minimizing inefficiencies. 
Of course, there are all sorts of other great features: an administrative dashboard highlighting your Top 10 problems deserving attention, automated vendor follow-up, Quality Inspection templates for walk throughs -- even integration with Survey Monkey to solicit home buyer's opinions. Let us show you the meat behind the award!








Homebuilders: What's Different About 2017?
Interesting John McManus article in a recent Builderonline titled: Spring 2017: A Different Market. Take a look here.

FieldCollaborate: Tools for Today
McManus suggests that the just out of recovery market of 2 years ago is no longer.  Previously, demand for new homes was from the higher-end buyer.  Buyers weren't too concerned about qualifying and had definite ideas about what they wanted in their new home. To some extent, pricing was elastic.

Today, McManus says, it's a different market.  Now, the growth spot is lower-end, further out geographically with lots of communities open and selling homes. More competition, in other words, with a clear focus on price.

The change has put lots of stress on builders.  Lower sale price homes dictate a focus on margins. Costs are going up. It all translates into more of a push for volume.

McManus quotes a builder: We haven't spent so much time and focus on start-to-completion cycle times in six or seven years as we are right now.  It's really basic stuff of doing what we do, only doing it better and faster. Otherwise, we can't get the margins we need.

This type of market needs tools to help manage, measure and report.  Take a look at CPS' FieldCollaborate -- construction software designed to help you define, track and analyze your cycle time and highlight problems meeting your goals.  Improve communications -- both internally and with vendors. Reduce callbacks with task-specific quality checklists. Keep your field managers off their phones with automated followup and reminders.  We can help you meet the challenges presented in today's market.





Exploring Lifestyle When Marketing Homes to 55+ Shoppers
There's an eye-catching article in the recent Builderonline.com: Remember Wine is Divine When Selling to 55-Plus.
Marketing to 55+: Let's Talk Celebration!

Who could resist a deep dive to read the article after seeing that headline?

Author Deryl Patterson talks about incorporating wine into home design, the sales center and community club house and suggests boomers look at wine differently than other generations. Wine, Patterson says, is more than a beverage -- it's a universal symbol for celebration.

He takes that point further in his marketing to 55+ buyers: make it fun! These buyers are looking for something more than square footage, number of bedrooms and whether or not there's a basement lot available.  This home purchase is about their next life step and realized lifestyle.

It makes sense to help home shoppers visualize the lifestyle available within your community: let them virtually explore community amenities and the surrounding neighborhood.  Focus on the lifestyle options: recreation, shopping, dining, community involvement opportunities.

CPS' SalesTouch provides an engaging and informative exploration with a touchscreen-based presentation.  Community amenities and neighborhood points of interest can be explored at a touch -- with visually engaging photos, video and copy. Engage your buyers with the vision!  It might be sailing at one community -- and the rodeo at another!

While not everyone is a wine drinker, in other words: everyone loves a celebration!


Creating Effective Customer Experiences Using Technology
Take a look at the photo attached to this blog: doesn't it seem that the technology employed at the sales office is doing its job? The home shoppers are comfortably engaged in exploring and finding out more about the product!

CPS SalesTouch: Helping home shoppers engage and interact!
And, doesn't that statement address what James Bickers, Contributing Editor at DigitalSignageToday.com suggests are the goals of a successful customer experience:
  • accomplish the task at hand; and
  • make the customer feel good about how it is accomplished.
Bickers goes on to say that the task (in this case, introducing home shoppers to a new community, its amenities and floor plans) might be to speed up a transaction, solve a problem or... just give the customer a great time. 

We'd like to think the SalesTouch interactive presentation meets all three of these objectives in an engaging, easy-to-use manner.  Bickers goes on to say:
Customers are increasingly aware of the physical and emotional context in which products and services are delivered.  This is the customer experience -- and it is something businesses ignore at their own peril. 



Take That Wall and Make It ... a Dynamic Marketing Tool!
Video walls are becoming increasingly popular as a way to attract and engage customers.  They draw people in, according to Richard Slawsky in a recent Digital Signage Today article, immersing them in a brand or experience.

Why not take that unique marketing concept and expand it to include a dynamic, interactive communications tool? Author Micah Friedman, with Cognizant, suggests the need to continuously develop new business and operating models to better deliver on customer needs and desires.

What's critical, according to Friedman, is considering multiple ways of engaging customers with a richer, customizable and frictionless experience.

One focus point is optimizing Social MediaHere's an opportunity to understand customers better (by evaluating their tweets and posts, for example) as well as providing a mechanism to shape how customers perceive them and their offerings.

Take at look at CPS' Social Media Wall in a new master plan community information center.  It's visually welcoming and designed to engage visitors from the moment they walk in -- delivering traditional marketing copy and community images side-by-side with consumer generated content.  Have a special event planned? Assign a unique hashtag, start posting information about the event and, at the event, ask attendees to submit pictures and comments.  Result: a shared,  creative process fostering an ongoing conversation!

And, the Social Media Wall can include video, as well!




Homebuilders: Technology Can Help Address Labor Shortage Issues
We've suggested over the years that automated construction technology not only helps home builders build homes more efficiently, but gives them tools to build with more quality awareness, assess vendor performance and determine trends as they're happening instead of in the rear view mirror. Everyone is having to perform at a higher standard; technology can help you manage the increased workload when one of your inputs is under stress.

Put Technology to Work!
A recent Big Builder article by Don Neff titled Labor and Risk notes the last time labor shortages were as widespread as now was before 2001, and that ongoing shortages are especially challenging in some geographical areas such as Southern California.  Field Managers have had to take on additional tasks  particularly in the area of quality assurance  to get their homes built on time.

How can technology help you address this?  We suggest 3 significant ways:
  1. Add Quality Inspection Checklists: Select key, critical tasks (for example slab pour, frame complete, etc.) and associate a checklist to ensure quality meets your objectives.  You now have a consistent, measurable quality standard that keeps the schedule open until it is completed — including vendor payment. You catch issues early and can even add photos or drawings to the record.
  2. Utilize Automated Punch Tools: When rework is needed, either as a result of the Checklists or walk-thru, use your scheduling software to associate the punch item with a task and auto-email the vendor.  Take advantage of auto-reminders until the process is complete.  No more phone calls, unanswered emails or slipping through the cracks! Your vendors will appreciate this, as well. 
  3. Leverage Available Reporting: Automated scheduling reports provide you with not only the details of what happened but reasons for delays, vendor performance analysis tools and consistent problem identification. You'll know where to focus the most energy.
CPS has been providing construction scheduling software for almost 20 years. Let us show you how FieldCollaborate will help you build more efficiently and profitably!



Leverage Your Construction Scheduling Software to Manage Callbacks
No builder purposefully sets out to have call backs, punch items or warranty claims.  There are the added costs, time and dislocation associated with getting the job done right -- and issues can too easily be splashed across social media.
Build-in quality with scheduling tools!
Builder recently noted, With homeowner scrutiny on the rise, it's a good idea to take a second look at what can go wrong on a job. It's a chance to up your game.

Isn't it better to try to manage the issues before they're able to reach the status of a call back, punch item or warranty claim?

One quality management tool falls within the scope of today's automated construction scheduling software: associating Quality Inspection Checklists with key tasks.

How would that work? Select a key schedule task such as framing complete and develop a series of check points to measure satisfaction that the task is not only complete but meets the desired level of quality.

The task can't be considered complete for scheduling purposes, with an open Quality Inspection, and the vendor can't be paid, either. Both your field manager and vendor are on notice that items need to be addressed -- and they can be reminded on an ongoing basis, as well.

This type of process could be considered building-in quality.  Everyone involved in the job knows that there will be mini walkthru's throughout the job.  Issues can be caught at the key task inspections making resolution more timely as the vendor is available and hasn't yet been paid.  Not only are the issues better able to be resolved but the builder's reputation is enhanced as the buyer walk becomes focused on how the home operates vs. quality punch items.

CPS' FieldCollaborate offers Quality Inspection Checklists along with Punch Item Management as part of the construction scheduling software package.  And, there are Vendor and Buyer Portals, too! All focused on helping you build quality homes, on time!





Waiting in Line: Customer Perception is Everything
None of us likes waiting in line -- whether at the DMV, the market, amusement parks or sporting events.  And, today, long wait times can be splashed across social media at any time.  That's in addition to lost profits when the customer balks or reneges and leaves the point of sale location.

Customers Can Relax Knowing What is Happening!
Every retailer and entertainment venue constantly evaluates how to improve the customer experience -- and improved line (or queue) management provides an immediate and long-lasting impact.

That's because effective line management technology offers more than just a shorter wait experience. Automated line management provides at least 4 significant business benefits:
  1. Wait time tools provide control -- Long-standing studies indicate average wait times can be reduced 10-30% with line management technology.  Lots of "fewer than 10 items" customers today?  Using automated management tools, store management can quickly realign registers to better serve those customers while reducing the number of "full service" registers.
  2. Customers relax during the wait -- Customers are more quickly and accurately directed to an open location as compared to "manually" guessing which station is available or casually strolling towards a register.
  3. Customers appreciate the perception of fairness -- Two factors impact customer perceptions regarding lines: perceived wait time and the issue of fairness. Customers typically over-estimate the amount of wait time -- that's probably human nature. Providing an automated, call forward system not only efficiently directs customers to the next available register but encourages them to think the wait isn't as long as it actually is. Customers like knowing what is going on -- so seeing the next available register is beneficial even if it isn't their register!  And, people appreciate being treated fairly; an automated system is perceived as providing similar service to all.
  4. Expanded impulse purchase opportunities await -- Whether an automated system operates a single, serpentine line or multiple, register-specific lines, the opportunity exists for expanding impulse purchase opportunities.  First, the business is regulating how and where the waiting zones are located. And, customers are less stressed waiting so they're more likely to review offerings and make impulse purchases.  It's also possible to advertise and encourage such purchases through messaging on line management monitors. 
Interested in finding out how automated line management can improve your customer satisfaction levels and provide additional business benefits, too?  Talk to us about CPS QuikLine -- an automated line management system providing call-forward technology with easy-to-use management tools and straightforward hardware components.




Walkable Neighborhoods: Both Millennials & Boomers Love 'Em!
While traditional suburban communities continue to attract, urban environments are opening new home neighborhoods -- and attracting buyers! Both Millennials and Boomers are considering and buying in areas that previously wouldn't have offered new construction.

Use SalesTouch to Take a Virtual Walk About!
One of these neighborhood's key features (or, you could think, amenity) is walkability. There's even a new term: walkable urban places (sometimes referred to as WalkUps -- but completely different than multi-story buildings from the early-mid 1900's!!).

WalkUps are defined, in a June 2016 BuilderOnline article by Lauren Shanesy, as a development with substantially higher density, mixed-use product, emerging and new product types and a variety of transportation options.

Following are several marketing ideas you might consider using with a  WalkUp community: none are too complicated or expensive yet provide good touch points for your home shoppers:
  1. Highlight Transportation Options: Home shoppers in all demographics love the idea of reducing their reliance on a car. Residents in WalkUps spend less on transportation so why not highlight options for your home shoppers?  Provide maps, schedules -- even signage from your local metro.  While Millennials and Boomers are key demographics for the new urban community, reduced transportation costs appeal to moderate-income home shoppers, as well.
  2. Offer Walk Abouts: One of the reasons WalkUps are popular is easy access to convenient, interesting and unique shopping and dining venues.  Why not create an "It's in the Neighborhood" guide highlighting 15 close-by locations that are probably new to most of your home shoppers? Think: ethnic restaurants, unique bookshops, unusual hardware stores.  Let your potential buyers explore (literally or virtually) and see themselves living the experience! Drones are making aerial photos so much more affordable -- take a look at Richmond above and consider using this type of visual introduction to the neighborhood.
  3. Shine a Light on Educational Institutions: Washington, DC is considered the second highest ranked WalkUp and over 50% have B.A. degrees.  One of the urban neighborhood attributes frequently mentioned by Boomers is access to educational opportunities.  These don't have to be just colleges and universities. Consider adult education and interest-focused centers, too. Look for places like innovative yarn shops, photography studios, art centers.  Let your visitors know what's in the neighborhood with an easy-to-read map focused on neighborhood learning opportunities!
Go one step further and add an interactive touchscreen system to tell your WalkUp story. CPS' SalesTouch offers the aerial photo detailing shopping, dining, recreation and community options in Richmond (above); can't you see your buyers virtually exploring your neighborhood?



Homebuilders: Keeping Buyers in the Loop is #1 Referral Driver
Eliant, the home building industry's largest firm specializing in managing the consumer experience, notes through a recent Builder & Developer article that the single largest referral driver is how well the builder keeps buyers informed regarding the status of construction!

FieldCollaborate's Portal: Real-time Buyer Status Updates 24/7
That statistic is part of a very interesting article by Bob Mirman, Eliant's founder/CEO, noting similarities between hospitals and home builders.

At first, you might think such a comparison would be silly; however, there are striking similarities.  Key: patients and home buyers are justifiably anxious, worried, confused and scared as they're involved in an unfamiliar environment. Not for the same reason but.. still concerned.  Mirman suggests empathy goes a long way towards making everyone feel comfortable.

Mirman's second point is the value of contact when delays are encountered -- or anticipated.  He suggests asking: do your employees proactively reach out?

It's the third and most critical point that is striking almost in its simplicity -- and one that is shared between many customer-facing businesses -- the impact of status updates. Mirman really appreciated the daily calls from an assigned staff internist.  He knew he'd get the latest information and didn't need to worry about voicemails, missed calls and miscommunication through a 3rd party.

Think about your home builder operations: how do you keep buyers up-to-date? We'd like to suggest taking a look at CPS' FieldCollaborate with its Portal.  Your buyers have access, 24/7 and in real-time, to stage-of-construction photos and schedules.  It's their "piece of the pie" automatically generated from use of FieldCollaborate's construction scheduling application.  Tie it to your website and other than taking photos, no extra work is needed on your part.  Status updates are automatic, always visible and available 24/7 -- on their desktop, laptop, phone or tablet! 

Referrals can be a key sales driver; we've just learned that status updates are the #1 key referral driver!


More on Millennials & Housing: Location Valued Most
Have you seen the most recent Builder & Developer issue? Great article by Meyers Research: The Perennial Millennial!
Millennials value Location most - SalesTouch can tell your story!

As we've noted in earlier blogs: millennials will shape the housing market for years to come. This group may have delayed home buying beyond previous generations but...they're ready to buy!

Meyers suggests that we knew home buying was a priority but..55% want to purchase within the next 5 years!  An even more striking statistic: 25 million plan to purchase within the next 3 years!

There's frequently  debate regarding what is most valued by this demographic -- square footage, open floor plans, amenities, location .. the list goes on.  Meyers reports that location is first in their list of priorities -- followed by price and outdoor space.

How to tell a location story effectively in your sales offices?  We'd like to suggest SalesTouch -- CPS' interactive touchscreen system.  Present your surrounding area -- and let your home shopper determine what is most important.  Schools? Shopping/dining? Recreation? Or, just the variety of opportunities?

A Sales & Marketing Ideas article titled Engaging Today's Home Buyer with Technology that Works points out, "Regardless of age, geography or economic status, today's home buyer is empowered by an unprecedented level of access to choice and information. In other words, your home buyer operates with a belief that virtually anything they want is at their fingertips!" We can help tell your location story by touch!




Customer-Centric Retail Model is Key
Have you had a chance to check out the recent Retail Customer Experience article regarding the need to develop and sustain a customer-centric focus -- regardless of your industry?


CPS' Social Media Wall:
Engaging and understanding customers

Author Micah Friedman, with Cognizant, suggests developing new business and operating models to better deliver on customer needs and desires.

Businesses aren't silos any longer (if they ever were). Rental car companies, as an example, need to consider themselves as being in the transportation business and recognize the validity of competition from Uber, Lyft, SmartCar and others that aren't traditional rental car competitors.

What's critical, Friedman suggests, is considering multiple ways of engaging customers with a richer, customizable and frictionless experience.


One focus point is optimizing Social Media. Here's an opportunity to understand customers better (by evaluating their tweets and posts, for example) as well as providing a mechanism to shape how customers perceive them and their offerings.


Take at look at CPS' Social Media Wall in a new master plan community information center.  It's visually welcoming and designed to engage visitors from the moment they walk in -- delivering traditional marketing copy and community images side-by-side with consumer generated content.  Have a special event planned? Assign a unique hashtag, start posting information about the event and, at the event, ask attendees to submit pictures and comments.  Result: a shared,  creative process fostering an ongoing conversation!






New Home Construction: Velocity and Profitability
Are you on the construction side of the new homes industry? Great recent Builderonline article by Mary Salmonsen; you can read it here.

Shifting focus to velocity can enhance profitability
Salmonsen highlights one of SAI Consulting Fletcher L. Groves' concerns: the under-consideration of project velocity in builders' business processes.

Or, to paraphrase a comment by John McManus mentioned in a previous Solutions blog: builders need to work with greater velocity or... learn the pain.

In other words, rather than putting a laser focus on individual lot margins, apply some of that attention, data collection and reporting to the amount of time required to build that home. That's cycle time.

Of course, cycle time doesn't live in a vacuum -- and can't be measured in the abstract, either.  Do you have a published schedule -- and do you track progress against it? Does everyone look to a specific schedule or do you have multiples floating within the company?  If there's one, not only can you measure cycle time but you're able to provide consistent, reliable schedules to your vendors.  They're able to better plan and their planning helps them become more consistent, efficient and profitable. That's a win/win!

Are you able to report on which vendors show up on time, or have the highest level of rework, consistently have safety issues, always fail field inspections? That information helps shape a long range vision of your construction cycle and helps deliver consistently better results.  And, it should be available relatively easily and consistently to be effective.

We'd like to suggest CPS'  FieldCollaborate as a software tool to help you develop consistent schedules and measurement tools.  You're able to quantify and measure quality items, delivery times, subcontractor consistency, safety assessments and punch items.  It all helps highlight factors impacting your construction cycle and allows you to be proactive about the next lot, phase and community -- and design for long-term profitability.


New Home Marketing: Put Walkability in Your Buyer's Sights
Did you happen to see the recent Builder article, How to Make a Home More Appealing to Millennial Buyers? Redfin's Whitney Bennett suggested several ways to make a home more Millennial friendly.

SalesTouch highlights your community's walkability!
In an earlier CPS Solutions blog (you can read it here), we mentioned the author's first sales/marketing point: Create an Open Floor Plan and highlighted how CPS' interactive touchscreen system, SalesTouch, with its mix/match floor plan and drag 'n drop furniture features helps buyers imagine and design their new home consistent with their interests.

Another Bennett suggestion is to Tout Your Community's Walkability.  What's particularly noteworthy about this idea is that the Boomer demographic is also becoming interested in the livability features associated with new urbanism and considering moves away from the suburbs.

SalesTouch is particularly effective in showing buyers that your community is "close to everything" of interest: shopping, dining, recreation, transportation. Interactive touchscreen systems are particularly good at narrowcasting -- allowing home shoppers to focus on those items of particular interest.  Are you an Arts and Culture fan? Just as easy to see the museums, concert venues and studios in the neighborhood!

One extra benefit of highlighting walkability: Bennett suggests each point on your community's walkability score can can increase a home's price by an additional $3,250!




Marketing Homes to Today's Millennial Buyers
There's a recent Builderonline article called How to Make a Home More Appealing to Millennial Buyers (you can read it here). 

Redfin's Whitney Bennett points out  the Millennial demographic makes up a large portion of the home buyer market and suggests several ways to be more Millennial-friendly in your marketing.
SalesTouch: Let buyers start creating their multi-functional living space!

We'll focus on Suggestion #1 and follow-up with others, soon: Create an Open Floor Plan.

Bennett (and the National Association of Realtors in 2014) says most younger buyers are interested in large, open spaces with fewer walls and partitions. Why? These buyers like entertaining in large spaces and are also interested in multi-functional rooms.

How to market that open floor plan? Let's look at a recent CPS SalesTouch installation at Cornerstone Homes' new Agave community in North County San Diego. You'll notice a great open first floor area -- along with the ability to interact with the floor plan and drag and drop furniture letting home shoppers dream and create their new living space!

Next on the Millennial wish list: walkability -- and according to Redfin.com's recent study, each point on the walkability score can increase home prices by an average of $3,250.  More to follow!





Homebuilder Vendor & Buyer Portals Improve Efficiency & Productivity
Are you familiar with the concept of a Portal -- sometimes referred to as a neutral platform in the cloud?

Portals provide users with the ability to view -- and sometimes update -- information developed by a variety of systems and managed by different organizations in a single location. Typically, they're accessible via the Internet and available, anytime/anywhere.

What can a construction Portal do for your organization, vendors and/or buyers? An effective Portal provides data access, governed by credentials, to all appropriate stakeholders.

Let's take a look at a real-world example: vendors log into CPS' FieldCollaborate Portal to view or print their construction schedulespunch items, and safety assessments.  In addition, they're able to view the latest builder documents and drawings.

Home buyers, on the other hand, log into the FieldCollaborate Portal and find their home's schedule as well as stage-of-construction photos.

If we consider just this set of participants, can you think of the reduced number of phone calls, faxes, emails and misunderstandings? Portals make the entire enterprise more efficient and productive!  Home buyers feel empowered and their satisfaction levels improve, as well.

Home builders use Portals to share information internally, as well.  What's more disruptive than having multiple sources for information?  A well-managed Portal provides the same information to everyone (governed by access credentials, of course) -- and it's all available anywhere, anytime via the cloud!


Might be Frightful Out but..Spring Selling Season is Just Around the Corner!
We have to admit: the weather outside -- whether you're on the East or West Coast -- doesn't exactly encourage getting out and doing home shopping this weekend.

Take this Dreary Weekend to Kick-off Spring!
But, that same weekend could be a great one for taking stock and kicking-off your Spring new home sales/marketing efforts.  Here are several ideas to start generating visits to your sales office and engaging home shoppers once they're there:

(1) Start Reaching Out to Realtors, Now -- We've talked about the value of co-op agents before (take a look at an earlier Solutions blog entry --  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 spread the word about your community.  How about putting together a "Get Ready for Spring" Open House -- offering a "spa event" raffle for attendees?  Or, a "Wine & Cheese" evening with a case 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, often.  They always will have a group of interested buyers available to visit your community -- provide them with a reason to stop by.
Get Interactive with Virtual Curb Appeal!

(2) A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words --- Mollie Elkman, a Philadelphia-based marketing expert, reminds us that pictures offer "virtual curb appeal."  Why not take one step further and Go Interactive with a touch screen system?

You'll start engaging 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.

Take your home shoppers "behind the walls" and visually talk about your location, amenities, and features.  Show them you're "in their location" and highlight what is available in the location or the great amenities provided by the HOA.

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!


Home Builders: Millennials Like to Use Mobile for Customer Service
A recent Retail Customer Experience article by Tom Goodmanson suggests successful brands are always evaluating plans for creating improved customer experiences and building customer loyalty. Today, many find home building to be more retail-oriented than ever.
WarrantyWatcher
Home Buyer Portal Goes Mobile!

What better time to evaluate and solidify customer strategies than the start of 2017? Goodmanson makes several 2017 predictions including: mobile customer service will close the gap between consumer expectations and reality.

Combine those thoughts regarding customer service (Go Mobile!!) with the anticipated tsunami of entry level buyers, highly driven by millennials who are already mobile-oriented, and it suggests that adding mobile to the new home experience makes sense for 2017.

Today's home buyer has high expectations regarding their home and the post-sale warranty process in terms of timeliness, quality and reliability.  Make sure your warranty/customer service organization is capable of responding to those requirements -- as well as the goals of improved customer experiences through mobile access.

Let your home owners submit warranty requests using CPS' WarrantyWatcher software from your website -- and provide the same access to review request status and overall problem resolution history. The Home Buyer Portal is available across platforms and browsers -- from desktop to devices.

We'll be in Orlando January 9-11 for IBS 2017; drop by Booth W5583 and let us show you how WarrantyWatcher can improve your customer's experiences!





New Home Construction Data: Helping You Design For Long-Term Profitability
Did you have a chance to check out Pain Points: Win or Learn by John McManus?  He focused on 3 things that matter most for builders -- today!

And, those 3 things are within every builder's control (vs. those you can't control such as weather, the economy, etc). Not just large builders, or public builders, or small mom-and-pop builders. All builders.

FieldCollaborate: Moving Beyond Scheduling to Meaningful Data!
The first was sales The second is taking those sales to completions

That is, the construction cycle. You are able to evaluate how your construction process is delivering by reviewing specific information: cycle time and, in turn, profitability.  

McManus suggests: work with greater velocity or... learn the pain.

Greater velocity can't be measured in the abstract, however.  Other factors -- and they're measurable, too -- have to come into the equation or profitability is a one-time gain with a short life.

What are you doing to understand those other variables?

Do you know which vendors show up on time, or have the highest level of rework, consistently have safety issues, always fail field inspections? That information helps shape a long range vision of your construction cycle and helps deliver consistently better results.

We suggest FieldCollaborate -- including the available web Portal for vendors and home buyers -- will help.  It's not just about scheduling, any longer.  You have to consider reporting on quality items, delivery times, subcontractor consistency, safety assessments and punch items.  It all helps highlight factors impacting your construction cycle and allows you to be proactive about the next lot, phase and community -- and design for long-term profitability.




Stats Show Digital Signage Engages Customers
People always ask, "Does Digital Signage really offer anything different than a home builder's website?"

SalesTouch engages and captures more attention!
Websites engage users and drive them towards an onsite sales office visit; digital signage at the sales office has different objectives.  There are potential buyers in your sales office; what should this sales tool do to turn them into actual buyers?

Following is a statistic to evaluate when considering including digital signage in your sales/marketing program -- whether an interactive touchscreen system (in a kiosk, mounted on the wall or a tablet) or a social media wall:  compare the consumer effectiveness of a digital signage display to typical "static" signage such as floorplan displays on the wall or a floor topo table.



Here, at CPS, we can help you develop dynamic digital signage that will engage, gain views, build your brand and increase sales!

Let's kick start 2017!









Adding Happiness to Your Customer Experience
Great article by Simon Fraser in a recent Retail Customer Experience blog entitled, 7 Keys to Customer Experience Happiness suggesting business customer experience efforts should never just be an initiative or a fad. They're never a one-off!

CPS' Social Media Wall: encouraging storytelling!
Customer experience efforts, in other words, need to be communicated as part of the overall business vision -- and delivered consistently.

Business goals, Fraser offers, are enhanced when there's a focus on creating great stories. Members of your organization -- and your clients -- get a positive experience as a result of building memories.  Who doesn't remember experiencing "that feeling" when hearing a great customer experience story?

Why not think about how you are telling your stories?  Are they static stories on the wall or in a brochure -- or are you encouraging your customers to take information, add their experiences and start creating their own narrative around your brand?

Take a look at CPS Social Media Wall: it starts with your vision -- copy and images -- and adds in stories using social media content.  Stories emerge from your vision, yet are dynamic and ever-changing as customers start adding their own through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Every business and person has stories to tell -- and all of us get pleasure from hearing and seeing them!


Put Something Apple in Your Sales Office!
Great article by Carmine Gallo in Forbes, recently, How the Apple Store Seduces You with the Tilt of Its Laptops.
SalesTouch Puts Multisensory Experiences into Sales Offices!

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'  touchscreen system, SalesTouch, is 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!  And, 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.  We'll be at the National Home Builders Association IBS in Orlando in January and there will be a number of touch opportunities available!