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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Customer Service: Asking (for Input) vs. Receiving (Complaints)

CPS recently developed a Customer Comment system to collect customer feedback.  It uses an interactive touchscreen so shoppers can walk up, touch the screen to ask a question or make a comment.  An on-screen, touchable keyboard makes the process simple and easy-to-use.

Comments are sent via Instant Message to store management; responses are posted immediately to the touchscreen.  Managers can also forward product questions to store employees for research and a more detailed response sent via the touchscreen or email.

Shoppers aren't shy about asking why a product isn't available.  More remarkable, at least to us, is that the overwhelming number of comments are positive with shoppers mentioning their favorite products, suggesting new products and thanking individual employees for their efforts.

What's really noteworthy, however, is the volume of comments (much higher than the previous "manual" system) and the positive impact the Comment system has generated.  Many comments are simply, "Thanks for giving us this great way to interact with you!"

From both a customer and store perspective, asking for input and making it both easy and transparent is recognized as a far more positive customer service process than simply waiting to receive what usually turn out to be a complaint.

Proactive customer a touch!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Out of the Mouth of Babes or..Where is the Digital Signage??

Just returned from a quick trip to New York and visited the USS Intrepid Museum.  It was Spring Break and a gorgeous Spring day so...the lines were long and slow-moving for this very popular destination showcasing a World War II aircraft carrier complete with A-12 Blackbird, Concorde and Growler submarine.

I was behind Arthur -- an enthusiastic 13-year old from New Jersey with plenty of opinions on almost everything ... digital.  As our line zigged and zagged through the labryinth that tried to make the wait (to the ticket counter!) seem less than 1 hour, he turned to me and said, "You'd think they would have monitors above... telling us what was in the Museum, getting us excited about the special exhibits and advertising what's in the store."

Honest.. a 13-year old!

Bob Musa's book, Creating Customers with Touchscreen Digital Signage, talks about the value of digital signage in reducing perceived wait time, engaging customers and managing inventory.  And, a 13-year old not only gets it; he wonders why "adults" don't.

Take a look at the Intrepid website here:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lyon Homes Opens Community in Orange County; SalesTouch Provides Interactive Touchscreen Presentation

Canopy Lane - Orange County, CA
William Lyon Homes is opening another new community in Orange County this weekend  -- featuring single family homes.  Canopy Lane has a great South Coast Metro location -- near South Coast Plaza, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, John Wayne Airport and Irvine financial/legal office hub. 

We're thrilled to have CPS' interactive touchscreen included in the sales office offering interactive neighborhood amenity information and floorplansand all sorts of information about William Lyon Homes and the homebuying process, as well.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Millennials: Convergence of Influence (aka "Helicopter Friends")

AdvertisingAge, on April 11, 2011, mentioned the idea, "convergence of influence."  You've heard about "helicopter parents", right?  Well, Advertising Age suggested millennials frequently function as "helicopter friends" in the much the same way as individuals influence each others' purchases, friends, world view. 

That concept is what makes today's social networking (and, more importantly, social marketing) so critical, "I made a mistake, I didn't like this product so...I'm going to share that experience with you because I don't want you to make the same mistake."

And, "helicoptering" applies to their positive purchasing experiences, as well.  Millennials, says AdvertisingAge, aren't impulse shoppers. They like to spend a lot of time and effort researching.  And, they like to share what they're seeing and buying (complete with images).

ZIslander leasing office Bryan, TX
Today's marketing strategies need to take that "shop/share/buy" process into account.  To some extent, it's no longer marketing to an individual ... but marketing to that individual and everyone within their social network.

That's what is exciting about the use of technology from a sales perspective: this audience will shop and when they see something in line with their spending priorities, they'll share it with friends... as well as buy.  It may not be the cheapest choice but...because technology has played a role in what they look for and actually see, they have become "expert" consumers. 

The web has helped make this "expert" consumer possible; now, it's time to incorporate a similar experience at "point of sale."  Interactive touchscreens encourage the same "shop" experience as they, too, engage, inform and create an "expert."  Adding the ability to "share" the experience is the next, critical step for interactive touchscreen design.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Does Your Digital Media Look Like a Brochure? Time to Move On...

Gumas, a Bay Area full-service marketing firm, sent out a great email, "6 Tips to Transform your Website from Good to Great."

Key thought: if your website still looks and acts like an online brochure, you're not maximizing one of the greatest marketing opportunities available.  Things have changed over the last 1-2 years as far as website strategies; Gumas suggests 6 ways to improve your website:

(1) Tell your web visitors what you can do for them.  Gumas suggests you have only 5 seconds to let visitors know.

(2) Answer their questions...immediately.

(3) Don't make your visitors work.  The more clicks to find information, the greater the chance a visitor will leave your site...prematurely.

(4) Induce a connection.  There should be some sort of "call to action" somewhere...anywhere.

(5) Make keywords/phrases prominent.  They are key for SEO as well as navigation.

(6) It's all about traffic.  Great-looking site or not, it's about numbers.

Stonebriar Mall Frisco, TX
Many -- if not all -- of these points apply to interactive touchscreen design, as well. 

Key is knowing your visitor and what they want to know...also known as narrowcasting.  Make it easy for them to find what they're looking for...and, we're firm believers in keeping the number of "drill downs" to a minimum. It's much better to have a presentation that is broad and let's your visitors see what's available than making them guess where information is located.

And, with interactive touchscreens, it's all about the final result: usually, that's sales but it can also include customer satisfaction and communication. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

CPS' 57" SalesTouch featured on Horizon Technology website

SalesTouch - Richmond, VA
SalesTouch — featuring a 57” interactive touch screen — on location at Forest City’s Tobacco Row leasing office in Richmond, VA. 

Leasing management reports, “We love our touchscreen kiosk! SalesTouch makes it easy for our leasing team to go over floorplans, building layouts and amenities.  Prospects enjoy the option of being able to find their ideal apartment themselves and its so easy for them to use.”

Horizon Technology, located in Southern California, is a leader in touch display and digital signage.  Take a look at their website here: