Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Lines... and how we really feel about waiting!

The Washington Post recently featured an Ana Swanson article about line queuing titled, What Really drives you crazy about waiting in line (it actually isn't the wait at all)?


CPS' QuikLine managing queues in Los Angeles
It turns out, says Swanson, that the time people spend waiting in line, and how they feel when they do so, is a big deal for people and for the economy.

Richard Larson, who studies line queuing theory at MIT, estimates people can spend a year (or 2!!) waiting in line over their lifetime. And, virtually no one enjoys waiting in line -- particularly when you consider that includes waiting in traffic and the DMV!

As a result, the ways business manage lines, according to Swanson, results in easily billions of dollars of gained and lost brand equity and consumer spending.

A bad line experience can forever impact a shopper's perception of a particular store or the brand --- as well as cause shoppers to leave a line (that's known as reneging) or even leave the store instead of going through the line (balking) -- resulting in revenue losses.

It turns out how people feel when they wait matters a lot more than how long they wait.

A key element in how people feel is fairness regardless of the wait times, according to Swanson.

Whole Foods utilizes CPS' QuikLine  automated queuing software in many metro stores.  Over the years, we've noticed that many stores have switched to multiple lines from a single serpentine line when there is space (another critical commodity!). Swanson notes that the "guarantee" of fairness eliminates the stress and anxiety associated with selecting "the wrong line" when there are many, unmanaged parallel lines.

Interested in improving your customer's wait experiences? Contact CPS to find out more about QuikLine.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Social Media Wall Selected!! Best of IBS Awards Finalist

Bob Musa, CPS' President says, "Wow; we were thrilled to hear our Social Media Wall has been selected as a Finalist in the 2016 Best of IBS Awards!"  Musa continues, "What business wouldn't be excited to hear such news in this relatively quiet holiday week?"
Let's #GetSocial!

Social Media Wall combines traditional marketing copy and images with curated social media content. A sales office or information center uses it to create social media conversations between sales/marketing staff, home shoppers, buyers and related parties -- as a part of the general marketing program.

"We've found," Musa adds, "that new home marketing has changed over the last decade with the introduction of digital technologies.  Now, technology is customer-facing and Social Media Wall  effectively moves social media off the desktop and mobile device into the sales center."

A key component of Social Media Wall, Musa explainss, is curated content -- meaning that CPS provides a back-end, web-based management tool for reviewing social media messaging and determining which Tweets and posts will display on the Wall.

Look us up at the 2016 International Builders Show -- we'll be in Booth 2856 in the nextBuild area!


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Perspective on the Buyer's Journey

Most sales agents know, when talking to a potential customer, they should be interacting from the perspective of the "buyer's journey," rather than a "by the rules" sales process.

Not everyone, however, has an understanding of how purchase decisions are made durin that "journey" and how creative sales/marketing tools are available to facilitate that decision making process.
CPS SalesTouch: an interactive, visual sales tool

To better understand the psychology behind why people buy, Gareth Goh at Insight Squared suggests several ideas that we related to CPS sales/marketing products:
  • Buyers respond psychologically to visual elements and stories: We've talked about it previously; buyers (particularly women involved in new home purchases) are drawn by stories as they picture themselves experiencing similar events. And, while facts and figures are important, the buyer's purchase process is facilitated by images. Take a look at the SalesTouch system displayed above; can't you imagine being part of that cheering Rodeo crowd or taking a walk along the trail?
  • Buyers crave value: Buyers are motivated by the thought that they are receiving as much value as possible.  Value isn't a fixed dollar amount, however -- it is a relative assessment. Why not highlight community amenities, neighborhood "hot spots", schools in the area through an interactive exploration to increase your community's value?  Your buyers will keep peeling the onion to find out more and, as a result of their exploration, obtain additional value.
Selling skills and processes are key to being a successful sales agent -- but so is having an understanding of what motivates buyers and having tools on hand to develop that process.

Interested in learning more about adding visual elements, stories and a value proposition to your sales office experience? Contact CPS for SalesTouch details.



Saturday, November 21, 2015

Millennials ... An Aspirational Demographic

Millennials -- those born in the 20-year span between 1977 and 1996, 87 million strong.  Sometimes called Generation Y, this demographic group is now between 19 and 38 -- and many are just starting the process known as household formation.

Social Media Wall: integrating traditional marketing & social media
You would think that is all good for the real estate and home building industries! Unfortunately, the recent business slowdown particularly impacted this group in terms of unemployment, "career" jobs and wages -- so their entry into a homebuying mode has been delayed. However, Millennials are a confident, resilient and patient demographic according to CEL & Associates.

In only 5 more years, Millennials will compose nearly 50% of the workforce -- and be an increasingly market influence.

CEL reports several, other Millennial demographic indicators: Millennials love personal branding and are never far from connectivity.  They look for a "work/life balance" lifestyle and are very involved in social media to provide civic, political and social identity. Review this Millennial comment regarding advertising impact:
"The most convincing advertising of all is seeing your own friends buying, wearing and using the product.  We engage with our peers through social media, I've bought countless items because of what I've seen on Instagram alone."
How to market homes to a Millennial audience? Take a look at a new way to integration traditional marketing copy and images with social media content -- CPS' Social Media Wall.  Put your social media Tweets and posts to work to help create the civic and social identity needed for your aspirational buyer!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fostering Brand Loyalty During Peak Season

Every industry, every business has a peak season: we're just about to enter retail's peak shopping time.  And, most of us can probably offer a few events from prior years that didn't exactly foster brand loyalty: long lines, no product, not enough assistance, grumpy employees ... the list might go on.

A recent Global Technology Systems article offers an interesting "twist" on how you might think about your upcoming peak season.  And, it doesn't need to be holiday shopping, either. Home builders see a spike in sales office visits and purchases in the Spring.  Home improvement stores see their peak after the beginning of the year as we all make resolutions! Everyone has a busy season, in other words.

Checkout needs to be efficient and perceived as fair
Back to opportunity: peak season brings in many people who are new to your brand.  What a perfect time to create a positive customer experience that can help foster brand loyalty and convert today's shopper into tomorrow's repeat customer.

How?  Take a look at several opportunities to enhance your customer's experience: 

  • Create the optimum atmosphere -- Shoppers have more options than ever before -- set your brand apart by providing a positive on-location experience.  Make sure your consumer-facing employees have a consistent and upbeat greeting message, equip your locations with technology to enhance operations, make sure your employees know how to maximize technology use. 
  • Don't make your customers wait -- Previous blogs noted that a sale is made up of a series of events -- the initial messaging, the store experience and the checkout.  It isn't complete until payment, in other words.  You can have a great shopping experience; if checkout is poor, your customer perceives the entire transaction as poor.  And, they're not shy about posting that sort of perception online.  Put technology, such as CPS' automated line management system, QuikLine, to work to not only expedite the process but to create an atmosphere of fairness, efficiency and customer-focused service.



Monday, November 16, 2015

Design Is About Solving Problems . . .

"not just wrapping cool tech in pretty," continues Bobby Goodlatte.

Bobby Goodlatte is writing regarding Ogo Technology - a super interesting company trying to take Segway-style technology and applying it to create a new generation "wheelchair"  -- and you really need to take a look at it to understand the quotes! They realized the Segway's unique technology and re-directed the features towards a community wanting the freedom, flexibility and ease-of-use offered by a redesigned platform.
Embrey Mill -- highlighting lifestyle

Here at CPS, we like to think our interactive touchscreen system, SalesTouch, takes the same approach to utilizing creative, engaging and meaningful design while satisfying the information needs and usability requirements necessary to support a wide-range of new home shoppers.

Take a look at several of our projects: do you know what to expect when an item is selected? Does the design make your curious about what is behind the button? Can we start the interaction?
Harbour Isle -- focus on multigenerational living

Compare the presentations to a brochure; do you see how easy it is to find desired information? Do your appreciate being able to learn about surrounding neighborhood amenities?

Interactive touchscreen systems have evolved over the last 5 years.  Initially, it was all about the technology.  Today, successful deployment of interactive digital signage is based upon creating emotional connections between the business and consumer -- and satisfying the consumer's need for emotionally-oriented stories and information.

Interested in learning how you can add design and storytelling to your sales office experience? Contact CPS for details.






Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Celebrating Veterans Day 2015

It's become a CPS tradition to recognize Veterans Day by thanking CPS family members and colleagues for their service to our country.  Of course, this special "shout out" is just a part of the nation's recognition of service and sacrifice by our service members.

Navy Veteran in parade: served in Korea and Vietnam
And, we usually attend a Veterans Day Parade here in the local Sacramento area -- you can enjoy this community-wide celebration by viewing some of the photos.  Many don't realize several Sacramento facts: we actually have 4 seasons (the leaves are changing!) and the area played a large role in the California Gold Rush.

Please join us in thanking:

Bob Strickland, one of CPS' founders: US Air Force

Bob's father: Robert Musa (US Marines, retired)
Chris and Dave's father:  Michael Lott (US Navy, retired)
Michele'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 (US Army)

Sit back and enjoy these Veterans Day 2015 Parade photos: join the youth organizations, adult service clubs, school bands, and residents as they honor veterans for their service.

Tomorrow's US Navy!
Service is part of our history
Girls Scouts join in!


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Today's Home Builder Key Word: Customization

Take a look at Builderonline's October 2015 article, Your Biggest Competition isn't Other Builders, discussing new-home builder's sales advantages when compared with existing home sales.  The author, Myers Barnes, highlights 7 key selling advantages.

The second key advantage is customization and it offers a very powerful message:  who wouldn't want input on design and product selections?  The article suggests reminding home shoppers that a new home will reflect their personal style -- not someone else's taste.

And, a reminder: the millennial demographic -- only starting to purchase homes -- is very keen on customization and personal style!

Take advantage of technology to stay current on selections
Some of you might be thinking, "Oh, customization; tried that.  Definitely added time to our schedule and very tough to keep track of all the selections, changes, re-selections. Not sure they're even profitable."

But...customization is a key selling advantage for new homes.  How can a builder's current process be better managed to effectively offer something that home shoppers really like?

Previous Blogs mentioned the need for simplification (isn't that the opposite of customization?) and process analysis.  Scott Sedum's 25 Essential Scheduling Practices article in ProBuilder offers several steps to consider:

(1) Provide only the number of options customers will pay for and can be kept 100% current - revisit annually.  Do you know how many times each option is selected ?  If every sale has a particular option, wouldn't it improve operations to make it a standard feature?

Ask accounting to provide an "options ordered" list and review with sales.  It's a great selling advantage to have an extensive list; take the time to analyze that all your costs are included and the scope isn't so extensive to unduly burden the team refreshing the list at the beginning of each year.

(2) Coordinate cut-off dates with sales for option selections and changes -- and help manage everyone's expectations. Sedum mentions, "It takes skilled salespeople, a focused management team and a company-wide commitment to maintain this discipline." Not maintaining such an approach impacts schedules and costs and can create negatives in homebuyer perceptions, as well.  No one wants to hear the neighbor was able to add the granite countertop after cutoff when they couldn't!

We'll suggest a third:

(3) Take advantage of technology so your team knows when options are added or deleted -- and can easily browse all appropriate documentation including drawings.  CPS' FieldCollaborate offers scheduling software tools as well as provides field managers anywhere/anytime data access necessary to keep up with options activity.  They're able to see, in real time, what has been ordered on Lot 12 -- and when.  It's possible to view drawings, as well, so your field managers can review accuracy both before and after construction.  All from their smartphone and tablet!

Customization is a powerful selling advantage; make sure that your operations are nimble enough to manage the necessary processes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Home Builder Scheduling: More on the "Small Ball" Approach

There's quite a lot going on in the new home market these days: momentum is positive, more homes are being built and sold.  Low interest rates are still to be found,  household formation is growing, millennials finally seem interested in home ownership and...there are ongoing labor shortages in certain, key industries and markets making the construction part of the business ever challenging.

There's also growing interest in maximizing the concept of job scheduling in the effort to "bring order from chaos" in new home construction.

There's no doubt about it: new home construction is unlike many other production processes. However, Scott Sedum, in a ProBuilder article suggests there is one inviolate rule: The best builders are the best schedulers. Every builder recognizes that, as Fletcher Groves notes in Practice Makes Process:  "the reason an enterprise exists is to make money and... that value is delivered through the work that the enterprise performs and the work has to be performed in some manner of workflow."
Getting Down to the Basics

There can be a tendency to say (or mutter): "I already schedule -- and haven't really noticed much difference in the chaos!"

That's where "starting at the beginning" will pay off.  The art of scheduling needs to be much more than creating a list of tasks to be done today. Taking the time to review, analyze and enhance organizational processes will pay off -- as that review process will highlight areas needing attention leading to better scheduling.

And, as much as it might hurt, it pays off to start at the beginning. Remember KISS?  Regardless of whether you're building single-or multifamily homes, production or custom, in Alaska or the desert -- make an effort, as Sedum suggests, to reduce extra steps, paperwork, trips, calls.  That's what, Groves points out, allows you to complete more work, at a lower cost, with fewer resources. End result: increased efficiency resulting in better margins.

OK; where to start?  Remember our mentioning taking a SF Giants "small ball" approach? Details matter; we'll suggest 3 detail points that will help improve your scheduling process:
  • Make simplification a daily objective -- throughout the organization. Finding out where you can simplify things (whether paperwork, approvals, or phone calls) is the first step in increasing efficiency -- and should be a part of schedule review process.
  • Create a complete "start to finish" checklist -- nothing is more painful (for the organization and the pocketbook) than discovering a grading mistake when the slab is about to be poured. This list should be your start document -- and will generate one or more tasks in the schedule. 
  • Absolutely include "BUYER" items in the schedule --  Touchpoints are today's mantra. And, they don't  start or finish in the sales office. The pre-construction meeting, walk through and home orientation are not only critical to your relationship -- they take time.  Make sure to include them in your schedule -- both because they're tasks and to highlight their importance.
Groves mentions process review needs to be much more than documenting today's workflow -- it is the front end of an improvement methodology.  We'll look at more key points in upcoming Blogs!



Saturday, October 17, 2015

Scheduling: An anchor point for today's home builder

Are you building homes with paper & pencil, fax machine and a mobile phone to call your subcontractors and let them know when to show up?

If that's the case, you're probably wasting not only time but money.  And, not doing your vendors or home buyers any favors.  They're late, you're late... everything can feel as if it is in a state of chaos.

Let's talk about a pivot in homebuilding processes
Today's home building environment isn't that of 10 years ago.  Back in the day, many suggest that production (or, operations) was, as Scott Sedum mentions in ProBuilder, an afterthought when compared to finance, sales and land development. Now, Sedum suggests, homebuilders need to be great builders of product.

Clark Ellis uses a baseball analogy in a recent Builderonline article suggesting we're seeing a switch from "long ball" to the SF Giants style "small ball" playing with a focus on operational details.

Sedum suggests visiting Dr. W. Edwards Deming's carefully crafted statement, "Uncontrolled variation is the enemy of quality." to which he suggests adding "and profit."

Of course, some might argue variation is at the very heart of new home construction.  There are different size lots, different elevations, options, upgrades... the variations seem endless.

How is it possible to manage all of this variability and deliver the desired result -- a well-constructed home, on time, within budget? How to manage all these variables in addition to weather, labor shortages, mistakes and rework?

The key, suggested by Sedum and many others, is schedule.  A good schedule means that you've adequately addressed critical issues so that your schedule becomes the anchor in your operations. Getting to the endpoint of a "good" schedule suggests that the builder has addressed what Fletcher Groves identifies, in Builderonline, as process mapping and workflow.

We're going to be talking about many of these "critical issues" in the hopes of addressing how to develop and maximize the effective use of a construction schedule.  Stay tuned!


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fall Homebuyers: Yes; they're out there!

Agents might think the home buying season is over once the calendar turns into October.  It's getting darker sooner -- and cooler, there's all sorts of school and sports programs underway and home shopper traffic might seem few and far between.

And, buyers could mistakenly assume if they buy in the Fall they won't see much progress on their home before cold, rain and snow potentially slow construction progress -- and waiting until prime buying season in the Spring could seem reasonable.
Get visual in your storytelling! Make interest rates & process more relevant.

But, says Builderonline in a recent article, "Fall and Winter are a great time to start working with a builder."  After all, much of today's new home sales are "built to order" requiring the "upfront planning and legwork that goes into a new construction home," according to Brian Brunhofer of Meritus Homes.

What can an agent do today to bring today's home shopper to a purchase decision?

Tell your story effectively: Interest rates are bumping around all time lows today.  It is fair to think they aren't going to get any lower. And, today's buyer is that much closer to reaping green benefits!  Use your touchscreen system to calculate payments, illustrate green benefits -- and remember women and millennials two "green leaning" demographics!

Explain your process: While some buyers are interested in a "quick delivery" home, most will be a part of the standard process including approvals, permits, structural option decisions, design center selections.  Let them know your 8-point process or 15 steps to home purchase -- build their confidence in your organization and how the process will create a positive result.  If you can do this visually, all the better as women appreciate creative story-telling.

Get into Process 2.0: Brunhofer suggests that builders are just starting to finalize 2016 vendor bids and many will adjust their home prices reflecting increased costs.  Once buyers understand the time frame involved and the process, suggesting a purchase today is consistent with your story. Show them your construction schedule; introduce them to a Buyer Portal with schedule updates as well as stage of construction photos.

Work Your Co-op Program: Many areas see co-op agents bring in most of their traffic; do you have an established co-op program?  Such a program helps bring in traffic -- and it also helps with co-op sales.  Offer to put your home shopper in touch with one of your co-op program participants; help them understand Spring selling time frames and let them coordinate what is needed for a summer move-in.

Remember: there are all sorts of touch points associated with the buying process.  Information gathering is critical for many of today's buyers -- especially millennials.  Visual presentations and storytelling are key for women shoppers.  Take advantage of the slower traffic season to strengthen the tools necessary in today's market!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Millennial Homebuyers Say: Show Me Some Flexibility!

There's no doubt about it: millennials (those born between 1982 and 2000) are a key home buying demographic.

Trying to wrap your arms around this 82 million-strong group isn't easy.  As Sarah Unger, VP of insights and strategic planning at Ketchum Global Research and Communications notes, "This demographic is very diverse, which makes it very hard to pin down on any one type of housing style."

One concept, however, emerges from a variety of market research studies according to a recent Builderonline article: the desire for flexible spaces and adaptable floor plans.

Show Millennial Homeuyers the Flex Options!
Most builders offer a number of structural option choices in their floor plans -- effectively providing buyers with customization options.

Unger notes, "71% of buyers surveyed say it's important for their home to have the ability to be personalized and they're willing to pay for it."  

And, Unger goes on to say, buyers are willing to "spend up to 22% of their home-buying budget on cusomization options suited to their needs."

How do you communicate what's possible -- and communicate effectively to your millennial home shoppers?

The Blog has highlighted previously the need to offer different types of shopping experiences for different buyer profiles.  Millennials shop online, they shop experientially and they seek alternative information-gathering processes.  What better way to indicate your flexible and adaptable floor plans than an interactive presentation via kiosk or iPad?
Adding Furniture to the Homeshopping Experience!

And, while you're at it, why not include CPS' SalesTouch Move-it/Move-it feature allowing them to add their furniture into their newly created floorplan?

Now, you've provided the millennial home shopper with an easy-to-use shopping experience highlighting your adaptable floorplans and letting them visualize how their new home works!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Does the Term "Digital Transformation" Make You Anxious?

There's a recent McKinsey & Company article by Karel Dorner and Jurgen Meffert highlighting the key questions surrounding the concept of digital transformation. You can take a look at Nine questions to help you get your digitial transformation right on the McKinsey Insights & Publications page.

The article suggests there are few organizational stressers greater than digital transformation. Why? There are so many possibilities -- on so many levels.  Digital is ubiquitous.  Digital impacts core businesses (think about connected cars), opens new frontiers (e-health, anyone?) and suggests the need for fundamental change (do you have the type of staff needed?).

Comment Board -- proactively reaching out to the consumer
The authors suggest, when putting together a digitial transformation plan, it is helpful to consider  the customer journey as a way to initiate your planning. The Blog has reviewed this concept (take a look here) which can be summarized as the sum of an individual's interactions with a company's brand at all levels previously

Unpacking your customer's experience not only will help you map the journey --  it highlights how digital can make each customer/brand touch point more effective.

Take another look at the Whole Foods Customer Comment Board image to the right. We can all agree it is a transformation of the old style comment board with bits of pieces of paper stuck to it.

 In addition, doesn't it positively change the business touch point with the consumer interested in making a comment?

With its dynamic and visual design, the Board proactively solicits feedback -- and, at the same time, transforms the notion of a comment board providing valuable information with calendars, video and weekly specials.  Wouldn't you leave the Board with an enhanced experience?  That's the journey behind digital transformation!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Organizational Celebrations -- Scaling the Gong!

Just received an email from Williams-Sonoma ("the source for gourmet foods and professional quality cookware) celebrating founder Chuck Williams' 100th birthday.

"That's nice," I thought and then, "that's really cool they're sharing their corporate celebration with everyone!"

Celebrating! Whole Foods Comment Board Anniversary! 
Celebrating corporate events seems a somewhat grey area.  When organizations are small, every sale is celebrated, every birthday gets a cake.  Gongs clang, there are all sorts of special clapping ceremonies and congratulatory emails flow throughout the organization.

Then, time goes on, the organization grows -- multiple offices, different shifts, people start working remotely. Celebrating diminishes as size, logistics and all sorts of other things seem to get in the way.

But, we need a way to scale the gong! Because celebrating isn't just for the moment; it is a motivator, a team builder, a way to share in the success of others -- ultimately, driving individual and team performance and satisfaction.

Given the importance of celebrating sales wins -- and other events -- you have to ask, "How am I going to be able to keep on top of this?" There are all sorts of answers; we'll mention just one: CPS CRM emails key contacts whenever there's a home sale or closing.  Automatically; you don't need to do anything other than celebrate!

And, while we're at it: CPS is celebrating!  30 years since we were founded in 1985.  And, we're recognizing Customer Comment Board and SalesTouch installations. Take a look: we've scaled the gong by sharing!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Does Your Marketing Program Include Clienteling?

Clienteling is the blending of digital and physical worlds in order to maximize the customer experience.

Brick-and-mortar retailers have had a fair amount of experience putting together physical point of sale contacts along with ecommerce and back-end CRM touch points. Homebuilders are just starting to put together end-to-end sales channels.

Think about your CRM system: does it include information derived from a prospect's web visit (registration, for example, including which floor plan is of interest or what makes up their purchase motivators)?

Utilizing that "back-end" information is part of what is called a prospect's omnichannel experience -- no one, in other words, wants to have to verbally repeat what has already been input in a digital encounter.
iPads and Kiosks: alternative tools for "self-starter" prospects

When you have a be-back prospect, can you retrieve previous discussions?

Do you offer different types of on-site shopping experiences?

Some home buyers like talking with sales agents, walking through models, taking a site tour, reading a brochure.

Others, suggests Matt Rhodus in a recent Innovative Retail Technologies article are "self-starters" who may not want or need a salesperson's assistance initially but do want an enriched shopping experience.  Having an interactive kiosk or iPad presentation provides that alternative information-gathering experience -- which is much more rewarding for them than passive signage or static information.

Some buyers want immediate feedback from their on-site visit.  That's where the text follow-up with a video really pays off. Others want to take home your brochure to browse later.

Rhodus suggests understanding your individual customer and responding to their unique needs is key to creating a best in-class buying experience.  Having multiple tools, digital and physical, in place and available to your sales force is what facilitates your clienteling!  CPS has been providing sales and marketing solutions for 30 years; let us help you enhance your clienteling experience!



Friday, September 25, 2015

Homeshoppers Are Leaning Green -- How Are You Leaning?

Think back over recent new home sales....do you recall buyers where price wasn't the key motivator in the purchase decision?  We're all  familiar with the Big 3:  Location, location, location and you probably had buyers focused on other factors: schools, a specific floor plan, job relocation.
Let Buyers Know You Lean Green!

It might be time to add "green" to that list of key motivators -- particularly for certain buyer profiles.

There's an interesting Home Innovation Research Labs article in Builder suggesting there are  4 Types of Buyers Motivated by More than Just Price.  You can read the article here.

Only a small percentage of consumers, the article suggests, can be considered "super greens." However, there's a significant segment considered the "persuadable middle" that are interested in living a greener lifestyle but either don't know how or think it will be too expensive.

Who makes up this "persuadable middle" and how are you able to lean green to help persuade them? Let's focus on two buyer profiles making-up the persuadable middle:

Women: That's a fairly significant buyer profile! Key is that women tend to lean green as they are interested in health living options and the well-being of their family.  And, we've talked about the influence of women in home-buying decisions, previously! Key persuaders: imagery, relatable stories and information.

Millennials: Here's the oft-promised, up and coming buying segment! The authors suggest: These buyers aren't motivated to buy a high-performance, energy efficient home because they will have lower utility bills.  Rather, they want to buy a high-performance, green home because it is the right thing to do. Key persuaders: easily accessible and relevant information.

How can your marketing programs and agents respond to the persuadables? We'll suggest two strategies: adding an interactive system illustrating how and where green is found in your homes (you're making green easily accessible and visual) and using CRM to highlight prospects indicating green interests for targeted followup (more easily accessible and relevant information).


CPS can help you create and use specially designed marketing  programs that lean green!







Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Millennials and the "most convincing advertising"?

Just saw an interesting blurb:

"The most convincing advertising of all is seeing your own friends buying, wearing and using the product.  We engage with our peers through social media, I've bought countless items because of what I've seen on Instagram alone."

What do you think?  
Wendell Falls, NC - Social Media Wall
Many argue that millennials use social media not only to keep in touch with their circle of friends and family but to document experiences through photos and text.  

Historically, individuals enjoyed seeing their interests gain traction from their surrounding social circle -- whether friends, work colleagues or family members. 

Technology has enabled that process to embrace ever-widening circles and become an influential source of information, product marketing and influence.

Take a look at CPS' Social Media Wall combining traditional marketing copy and images with social media messages from Twitter, Pinterest, etc.  

The result: a dynamic marketing channel projecting vibrant and ever-changing messages -- many of which are created by your audience.

The Wall attracts attention by the very aspect that it responds to an audience need for new information. Trade static, passive signage for a continuously evolving set of photos, copy, video and customer-submitted (and curated) messages -- and watch the level of consumer engagement grow!



Thursday, September 3, 2015

Making the Transition from Mobile-friendly to Mobile-first

Kim Garst, writing in The Huffington Post, notes that it is hard to argue that social media has changed the face of digital marketing -- or marketing overall, for that matter.  She suggests that companies are finally accepting the fact that they MUST have a digital strategy to succeed.

One component of this marketing shift is the importance of mobile.  Garst suggests that the importance of mobile has transitioned from a "mobile friendly" website to utilizing mobile in every aspect of marketing including blogs, emails and social media posts.
Mobile website is the first step!

What can that mean for a new home sales person?  You'll want to consider how to catch the attention of an audience that is "on the go" either literally or in their use of mobile devices.

Jeff Shore, an expert new home sales/marketing, suggests agents use short, cell phone videos as a follow-up to prospect visits. Why not pre-record a quick introductory video for each of your models? Then, couple a short text message highlighting key points from the prospect visit with your cell phone video.

Text message?  As a way to followup with prospects?  Mobile means text for many -- and studies suggest the more quickly you're able to reach out to a prospect, the better  chance you have for meaningful contact.

The immediate text message with video gives you the third critical mobile component: personalization. 

There -- you've made the transition to mobile-first -- and, satisfied today's home shopper's need for information, delivered quickly and efficiently!



Monday, August 31, 2015

Builders: How Focused Are Your Sales/Marketing Efforts on the 91%?

Back in April 2015, the Blog highlighted the statistic that 91% of home purchase decisions were made by women.  We mentioned women are more "connected," they're interested in relevant information and appreciate relatable content.

Recently, TecHomeBuilder featured an article titled The WOW Factor of Women-Centric Building and highlighted several key factors women look for in the home buying process:

(1) Make an emotional connection -- images can really help with this item.  Take a look at the interactive touchscreen system designed for Newland's Tehaleh master plan community displayed below.  At a glance, you're able to put together a set of thoughts about the community, imagine the energy taking place on a daily basis and want to investigate further.

CPS' SalesTouch Helps Imagine Living Here!
(2) Engage your buyer with a story -- let your shopper get to know you and use language that speak to her such as "build a better life."

Didn't we talk about relatable content back in April?  Let your buyer know your community is the place for her!  You're going to need to do some discovery to determine not only the demographic of your audience but their drivers.  Sometimes, it's schools; other times, recreation, easy access to employment locations or health care facilities.  Take some time getting to know your buyer profile's back story in order to tell appropriate stories to your buyer!

Understanding the Back Story Helps You Tell Relatable Stories!
(3) Focus on a Quality Presentation -- here's where interactive presentations help you engage the shopper! Walk into an office (any office!) with what is called "passive signage" and then walk into another with interactive presentations -- whether in a kiosk, on the wall or presented via tablet.  You can feel the energy, will definitely get engaged and want to explore!

There's more to the WOW factor -- keep an eye on the Blog!





Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Are Store Suggestion Boxes Past Their Prime?

It's true: the old, wooden suggestion box with a slot on top is no doubt past its prime.  Also no longer relevant to today's shopper is the passive comment board -- that tired-looking cork board with messages, faded and tattered flyers and weary, crumpled suggestion forms.

However, just because those items aren't relevant  doesn't mean retailers aren't interested in getting in touch with their shopper, soliciting opinions and providing information.

Today, many of those objectives are being met with digital solutions -- and they're not just passively collecting  but expanding to become customer experience zones displaying store specials, video and, even, websites.

CPS' touchscreen-based Customer Comment Board 
And...  are you listening to your customers?

CPS' touchscreen-based Customer Comment Board acts as a proactive customer service process.  Customers are  asked to submit comments, suggestions, ideas.  They're empowered, given a platform and might even provide ideas for new products, initiatives and improvements.

Take a closer look at the Board on the left -- there's all sorts of cstomer engagement initiatives combined into a single board designed to enhance the shopping experience:


   (1) The actual Leave a Comment section
   (2) A store events calendar with pop-up details available at a touch
   (3) Streaming video content
   (4) Weekly Specials display
   (5) Connections with social media

If you entered this store, wouldn't you want to walk up and see what's happening on this board? Digital signage has moved from a simple, one-way dialogue with either the shopper filling out a form or the retailer broadcasting to the customer to a two-way conversation. It's engaging, more personal and expanding the brand experience.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Builders: Are You on Track for Profit?

ProBuilder, in August 2015, had a great article entitled The 12 Processes for Sustainable Profit with the subtitle: How to establish sound business systems that ensure a healthy bottom line.

The processes range from land/lot selection to product design to sales & marketing processes.

ProBuilder suggests builders shouldn't focus on traditional questions or their answers.  For example, the article suggests virtually all sales training focuses on getting the deal.  That's great but..there needs to be a focus on determining the true total cost of the deal to determine it is a "good deal."

We're going to focus on Process #9: Building Schedules. The article says:

The best builders are the best schedulers -- and the best schedulers are the best builders. 


CPS FieldCollaborate; getting to a healthy bottom line!
What are you doing to be the best scheduler?

While it is true that it doesn't make sense to automate a bad process, we'll suggest that it doesn't make sense to schedule with a cell phone or pen & paper.  Take a look at CPS' FieldCollaborate -- an automated scheduling software application designed for homebuilders.  You're able to create your own standard templates and schedule from either a desired start or completion date. Your vendors  are assigned work dates and field managers track, record and monitor progress. 

Of course, there are all sorts of bells and whistles, too: a Vendor Portal to share schedules and drawings, Safety Assessments, Ratings, Punch Lists.

Key is the ability to create consistent schedules and measure results -- anywhere/anytime and accessible by all of your stakeholders (corporate staff, schedulers, field managers and your vendors).  

Yes; there are trade and material shortages, options/upgrades, all sorts of weather -- the list is endless. But, nothing beats an accurate and predictable schedule to enhance your operations and profits.

Monday, August 3, 2015

What Does 89% Mean for New Home Sales?

There are all sorts of percentages floating around in the new home sales world but this one is striking: 89% of home sales have a Realtor involved according to new home sales marketing consultant, Myers Barnes.

New home sales and resale.. combined.  89% of first time buyers; 87% of move-up; 89% of 55+ buyers.
Effective CRM use helps build this pipeline!

What does that mean for you as a new home sales or marketing professional? It suggests getting in better touch with this critical part of the sales process will help you sell more homes!

"Wait!" you might say, "Most of my buyers are finding me on the internet! How important can these agents be?  My shoppers are browsing the web, shopping on their mobile, checking Zillow."

To paraphrase that well known car ad: today's Realtor isn't your father's Realtor!  Agents aren't necessarily driving buyers around town...their value has transitioned to being seen as assisting in the negotiation process, helping narrow down alternatives and providing the "latest" information.

What can you do to build this pipeline of sales prospects?  Build and nurture the relationships. Agents say they want to be recognized and appreciated when bringing prospects into the sales office.  They'd like programs oriented towards their needs; think community tours on "off days", targeted follow-up with new information, collateral they can distribute.  What about a community-specific app?

CPS' CRM provides all sorts of co-op agent tools so you're able to designate agents, find out who are your best performers, setup and manage events and faciliate consistent, effective followup.  We'll help you grab a bigger part of that 89%!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Can You Quantify Social Media Engagement?

Forbes, in a May 2015 Kyle Wong article titled What is the Value of Social Media Engagement, stated that there's a near consensus that social media marketing is valuable because:

           "it allows companies to directly engage with their customers, build brand presence,              and ultimately sell more products."
Who wouldn't want to be a part of that process?
CPS' Social Media Wall - Mountain House, CA

Today, almost every business is jumping into (or on) the social media bandwagon but there have always been lingering questions, says Wong, as to how to measure social ROI.

Initially, social media metrics were all about likes and followers.  Forbes suggests it has moved beyond this first set of measurement tools to many different metrics ranging from "profits per customer" to social media specific items such as followers and friends.  

Gary Vaynerchuk, founder of VaynerMedia, goes on to say word of mouth is a currency that affects the bottom line and social media allows word of mouth to scale.  He suggests it makes sense that companies want to measure conversations about their brand.

Perhaps another way to look at evaluating conversations is to incorporate them into a branded marketing process -- and measuring those results.  Take a look at CPS' Social Media Wall located in a new home information center incorporating traditional marketing content (copy and images) with curated, social media conversations. Visitors help the developer "tie social media to business outcomes" as they engage with the product, create marketing messages for the next set of visitors and make purchase decisions. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Retail Checkout Line isn't for the Fainthearted

The retail checkout line is a critical aspect in a shopper's experience.  Some might think the consumer's "sale" is already finished when they enter a checkout line -- with just paperwork to be completed.

In reality, the sale could very well be lost just because of the checkout line!  There's always the chance of a consumer balking and reneging. And, if not this particular sale, future sales are at risk.

Perry Kuklin, writing in Business2Community, mentions a retail study indicating 38% of customers would consider not returning to a location with long or badly managed checkout lines; 81% will tell others, he says, about an unpleasant checkout line experience.

QuikLine: Call-forward Queue Management
And, when someone says "tell" others, we're no longer talking about one-on-one conversations, there's are all sorts of social media conversations available and ready to listen!

For retailers, the entire selling cycle needs to be completed -- from marketing to selection to actual purchase -- for the retailer and consumer to achieve success.  As a result, Queue Management becomes essential with customer wait time and experience critical.

Queue management technologies are available to assist in processing shoppers in a consistent and "fair" manner -- and they'll positively influence customer satisfaction as well as profitability.

Take a look at CPS' QuikLine system installed in Chicago -- shoppers are notified when a free register is available and directed by both signage and audio.  And, there's the ability to display automated marketing messages, as well.

QuikLine is an example of call-forward queueing which successfully manages customer throughput in the store and reduces register staff waiting.  Each successive customer is guided to an open register based upon either POS integration (that is, signals from the cash register process itself) or cashier notifications.  This checkout process is regarded as fair and efficient -- increasing the shopper's customer satisfaction!






Friday, May 22, 2015

Memorial Day 2015: Honor and Remember

Memorial Day has been set aside as a day for all of us to remember the sacrifices made for our country by our military and to honor their memories.

Korean War Memorial -- Washington DC
Traditionally, here at CPS, we recognize and thank members of the CPS family who have served our country:

Bob Strickland, US Air Force

Bob's father, Robert Musa (US Marines, retired)
Chris and Dave's father, Michael Lott (US Navy, retired)
Michele'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 (US Army)

Have you read that 50% of today's high school-age youth aren't aware of World War II?

We suggest taking the time to encourage friends and family to remember -- with a bbq, picnic, visit to a memorial park or concert, joining a parade or race.  Here in Sacramento, some of us will be joining family members at the Aerojet Wounded Veteran Run  to honor and remember family and community members. Join us -- or participate in your community!!


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mobility: What Benefits Are Available for Construction Operations

Did you see last week's blog highlighting the value of mobility tools to the construction industry?

Nile Lars suggested, in an Insights.Wired article, that mobility solutions add real value to the construction process.  Generally, construction-related businesses are managing multiple projects, in a variety of locations, with most staff working remote -- and all participants have a need to communicate status, results and financials.  Depending on the project, you might also want to add in vendors to the mix, as well.
FieldCollaborate Mobile:  Anywhere/anytime schedule access

Lars suggests several key benefits available throughout the entire construction life cycle:

-- Improved communications as mobility keeps the field and corporate office connected.  Easy sharing of data and images as everyone has anywhere/anytime access.

-- Better workflow processes as a result of real time data.  Field managers, for example, can indicate a task has been completed and approved for payment and, using mobile devices and an integrated system, accounting can issue payment.

-- Increased productivity.  Think improved efficiency, no more double data entry, missed phone calls, lost faxes and the like!

-- Ability to integrate systems and outside staff. Now that field managers and corporate staff have anywhere/anytime access to data, why not offer access to your vendors?

And, mobile tablets and smart phones offer the ability to go beyond data: field managers, for example, can capture onsite images, videos and audios to back-up activities onsite as well as distribute to corporate staff.  Document sharing is becoming more and more popular, as well.

Mobility enables  field staff  and vendors to be active participants throughout the enterprise -- saving time, enhancing communications and strengthening workflow processes.




Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mobility: Optimizing Construction Operations, Offering a Strong ROI

Are you a Wired Insights reader? This innovation-centric site is designed to focus discussion on the next generation of business tech.  Recent articles focus on the evolution of cloud-based computing, wearable technology, the gap in professional skills in today's college graduates -- quite a range!

FieldCollaborate: Mobility means Anywhere/Anytime access!
Back in February 2015, Nile Lars published Why Mobility Has A Great Significance in the Construction Industry to suggest that -- despite the dollar value associated with construction projects-- there's still a significant amount of inefficiency in the construction cycle whether you're looking at mass transportation projects or new home construction.

Lars suggests mobility solutions add significant value to construction projects.  Effective use of mobile solutions, according to Lars, optimizes operations and provides a strong ROI.

Where's the real "bang for the buck" when evaluating mobility? Accessing back office data from anywhere -- in real time.  

We'll talk about specific benefits in another article; talk to us about FieldCollaborate and the Mobile component available for both iOS and Android tablets and smart phones.  Grab the Mobility efficiencies and positive ROI  for your organization!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Move-in/Monthly Payment Calcs: Gain the Rent vs. Buy Information Edge

There's a great sales agent takeaway in a recent BuilderOnline article: the monthly house payment on a median-priced home is more affordable than the monthly fair market rent on a 3-bedroom property (in 76% of the US counties included in the study).

Put rent vs. buy information in your agent's hands!
Are you sales agents trained and capable of taking this important piece of information and making it an effective part of their sales presentation to potential buyers?

Training: we'll leave that up to you and the many well-qualified sales trainers.

Capable of taking this data and displaying it in a meaningful way so potential buyers recognize the value of home ownership?

CPS' CRM 2.0 can help! We've been displaying move-in costs and monthly payments for almost 30 years -- they've always been an important part of the sales presentation.

Take a look at the magnifying glass on the right; if you'd like to incorporate this into your agent's sales process, let us know!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Does automated line management make the line move faster??

We've talked about lines before: no one likes them and... they're all around us!

Businesses take lines seriously. They have to: no one wants grumpy customers annoyed about waiting and sometimes 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. There can be up to a 40% decrease in perceived wait time with a good automated line system keeping customers 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 solution!

Friday, April 10, 2015

What Can You Do with This: 91% of New Home Buying Decisions Made by Women?

This somewhat amazing, depending on your perspective, statistic begs you to ask: Is My Sales Strategy Focused Enough on What Motivates Women to Buy?

Relevant, relatable and... more details available!
The Blog has talked previously about the role women play in decision-making purchase decisions (not just in homes, either). Women are key decision-makers in consumer electronics, cars, furnishings, etc. purchases.

Have you thought about your marketing & sales strategies in terms of how they recognize and respond to women's values and needs?

Did you know women are the "most" connected consumer?  Men aren't the only geeks in your audience, in other words!  Are you taking advantage of the latest electronic means to connect?This doesn't just mean FaceBook and Twitter..it suggests mobile, not mailers, for example. Downloadable apps, interactive sales offices, web site Chat.

And, studies suggest women see information, products and even themselves in terms of how they relate to others. Marketing messages resonate more when they tell relevant stories.  And, studies suggest the story's details matter.

Take another look at the  interactive touchscreen image designed for Minto Florida at Harbour Isle. Doesn't this image tell a dynamic story?  Yes; we're in a new home sales office but it's much more than that: family, comfort, generational interaction.  Wouldn't you want to find out more about how to be in this photograph? Just by looking at the menu, you already know that details are available to help in your decision-making.

We'll be talking further about women and marketing, your connected audience and the power of relevant and relatable stories!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Lines: there's more than checkout at the end of that wait!

Lines...we can probably agree that they'll always be with us.

Businesses are putting queue theory (a mathematical process developed over 100 years ago) to work to make the line wait process both faster -- and more tolerable for their customers.  In addition, effective line management can enhance a retailer's bottom line, too!

Take the line out of waiting!
There's nothing worse than a customer, irritated with either the time or process, leaving a line, abandoning their purchase.  All the marketing dollars spent bring the customer into the store plus the time, energy and money spent to make the shopping experience as good as possible...lost! That's backlash and reneging in retail-speak.

Perry Kulkin, in a customer experience blog, notes 38% of customers wouln't return to a store with long or badly managed lines and 81% of dissatisfied shoppers will tell others about an unpleasant checkout line experience.

That's where automated line management systems help: both in expediting customers through the checkout process and reducing the perceived wait time through technology such as digital signage.

Effective line management also provides for increased sales volume with end-of-the line impulse purchases.  In-line merchandising has been said to "take the line out of waiting" with the ability to continue shopping while being processed through the checkout experience. When coupled with  call-forward electronic queuing (or automated line management), in-line merchandising rewards the retailer with up to a 400% increase in impulse sales, according to Kulkin.

And, line queuing management is where digital technology really shines as it can easily transition digital signs from reminding the regular shopper about Monday's sale to suggesting Friday night's wine tasting to the occasional drop-in customer.  Different messages, different profiles, different times of day -- easily managed through a comprehensive line management system.

CPS offers QuikLine -- an automated line management system geared towards enhancing the customer experience and the retailer's bottom line.  Let's talk about how your checkout process can be more than the end of the line!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Customer Journey Planning...Nurture Your Customer's Experience

Are you familiar with the concept of Customer Journey Planning?

Think of the customer journey as a roadmap detailing how a customer becomes aware of and their interactions with your brand.  It's the sum of all the experiences your customers encounter when experiencing your company.
What are you doing to Nurture Your Customer's Journey?

In other words, this roadmap has a lot of ground to cover! And, unpacking the customer journey will help you nurture (and, ultimately, maximize) the customer experience.

Here's a sample: imagine you're a retail coffee shop:

     -- Your potential customer is driving from home to work and sees your store (that's the first opportunity to understand the customer experience: signage: is it visible, prominent, enticing?). Or, was there already a missed opportunity via website, FaceBook, Twitter?
     -- The customer walks in (opportunity: can they easily locate the door, is it easy to walk in and see what is available?)
     -- Your employee greets the customer (opportunity: does this greeting actually happen and is it friendly, knowledgeable and helpful?)
     -- Then, the product is ordered and delivered (opportunity: how readable is that menu? is it easy to place an order? what is the packaging? appealing? maintains temperature?) and paid for (opportunity: how is the payment processed? easily? latest technology?).
     -- The customer leaves with your coffee (opportunity: did your server offer food? are there POS items? anything else enhancing the exit process?).
     -- Any followup to this purchase? (opportunity: a receipt with survey info? customer loyalty program? any motivators to generate return visits?)

That's just one scenario -- and, if you're not maximizing the opportunity to understand your customer's mindset, you might be selling both your product and brand short.

Of course, every customer's journey will be slightly different; you'll want to note actions, motivators, questions and obstacles.  Take another look at the Whole Foods Customer Comment Board at the start of this blog: how does this enhance a customer's journey?






Monday, March 30, 2015

2015 Marketing Trends - technology, agility, narrowcasting

Everyone has their Top 10 List -- and marketing is no different.  While it is probably true that the fundamentals of marketing are always going to be with us, it's important to keep an eye on what is currently activating the fundamentals for businesses or consumers.
Narrowcasting: the marketing tsunami trend

Here are a couple of ideas to mull over as to their impact and how your organization is responding to their emergence:

(1) Marketing technologists will emerge as digital marketing becomes more of a force. Forbes says we'll see new faces and skills enter with "heavy digital DNA and technology acumen and they'll be integrated seamlessly into our  marketing groups."

(2) Agility marketing will become more prominent with the rise of the short-term focus seen in social media.  Forbes notes, "the best marketers will have ever more consumer data, capable of faster adaptation, shorter lead times, and always-on, real-time marketing." What do you think of this focus on the next hour as compared to traditional month or quarter; can your organization support this demand?

(3) The marketing pendulum is moving ever faster from globalization to personalization.  Remember the old adage: All politics is local?  We're seeing the same thing in terms of marketing communication as consumers resist the traditional "broadcast" approach to marketing.  Call it narrowcasting or personalization but... it isn't a trend; Forbes says we're in the midst of a marketing tsunami in terms of both marketing entities and communications.

What trends are you seeing? CPS is moving further ever further into the mobile and interactive world for both business and consumer-facing applications.  An example: our SalesTouch interactive touchscreen product is designed around the concept of narrowcasting -- providing information in discrete pieces based upon consumer requests.  It's omnichannel, too -- available large-screen in sales/leasing offices, on tablets via download and over the web, as well.




Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Waiting in line: keep it fair!

All of us have spent time waiting in line -- whether at the DMV or department stores or...you name it, we've waited in that line!
Waiting in line: using automation to enhance fairness

Generally, people waiting in line aren't happy about the wait -- many think it is a waste of time, boring, tiring and generally unpleasant. Thus, any organization facing lines wants to enhance their operation.

There's an entire field of study about lines: queuing theory.  It started in Denmark about 100 years ago.

Queuing theory, says Seth Stevenson in a recent Slate article, has transitioned from a mathematical process to more of a psychological analysis. More about feelings than formulas, in other words.

The element of fairness is key to the latest queuing studies and systems.  Queue rage (yes; that is a concept!) develops when waiting in line and somehow someone else is served ahead of their perceived time. No one wants that, to be sure!

There are multiple ways of handling the queue fairness issue and CPS' QuikLine manages one of the most prominent solutions: the serpentine (or single, wrap-around) line.

There are other line psychology issues; we'll be discussing them in future blogs. Meanwhile, take a look at QuikLine with a serpentine line servicing about 20 cash register lines: Whole Foods Foggy Bottom Washington DC. Here's QuikLine video highlighting multiple lines serving about 40 cash registers: Whole Foods Union Square New York.

What type of queue makes waiting fair in your mind?