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Saturday, June 16, 2018

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





Monday, June 11, 2018

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!


Thursday, June 7, 2018

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!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Home Buyers Want Convenient & Quick Warranty Service

A recent Radial article 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.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

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.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

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!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

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!