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Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014: Honor and Remembrance

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, we recognize members of the CPS family who have served our country.
Two family members served during World War II and this year is particularly memorable with  the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Bob's father, Robert S. Musa (US Marines, retired) was a Pearl Harbor survivor and spent his World War II days throughout the South Pacific. Zoe's father, Charles Miller (US Army) served in the Philippines. Memories of their service years served as a constant throughout their lives.

We remember and thank these CPS family members for their military service:

Bob Strickland, US Air Force

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 brother, Wilson Miller (US Army)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Retail Line Queue Management: Disneyland Innovated in 1955!

Did you know there's a person known as a waiting lines expert?"

Actually, it's Richard Larson and he refers to the line management process as "queue calculus."
Both shopping carts and baskets are welcome!
Waiting in line," said Lewis in a recent article, "is a stressful game with mostly losing players and picking the wrong line can lead to queue rage."

Queue rage and simple economics are the reasons you see a "single serpentine line" in many retail locations.  Queue psychology was born in 1955 when Disneyland opened and learned to keep guests happy by having them wait in a single, serpentine line.  That's back when a 45-minute wait for a 2-minute ride was a novelty!

The single line satisfies the most number of people because it "guarantees first-come, first-served," says Larson. And, the single line can drive additional sales of "grab and go" items -- not just in grocery stores but other locations with easily understood and selectable items (as examples, think Best Buy, Marshalls and T.J. Maxx.).

Traditionally, grocery stores have been considered "hold outs" in this customer-service trend (emergency rooms are another hold out).

However, Whole Foods has proven to be an exception -- especially in large, metro areas.  As Larson mentions, their typical consumer "doesn't buy a week's worth of groceries for families." He continues, "You can fit those people into a serpentine line without wasting a lot of valuable sales space."

CPS' QuikLine queueing management system takes the process a step further -- multiple lines feeding a changeable register bank and the ability to differentiate between "express" and "standard" registers. Shopping carts are welcome, in other words!

Meeting your customer's needs, generating additional sales: queue management is an idea worth exploring!


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

How Do You Stack Up: 4 Keys to Effective Master-Planned Communities

There's a very thought-provoking article about Johnson Development in the recent BuilderOnline: A Developer of Master-Planned Communities Shares Know How. Read the entire article here.

In the article, Johnson's COO, Douglas Goff, suggests today's MPC isn't your father's MPC.  "There's no secret code," according to Goff, but today's MPC offers features that weren't important 20 years ago.  "Walkability and mixed use are becoming more important," Goff says.  And, Johnson loves to develop communities that can support close-in employment and generate jobs.

What makes a successful MPC today?  Johnson Developments suggests the following:

(1) Cast a Wide Net -- MPCs used to be primarily single-family oriented; now they need to address the full spectrum of potential buyers -- singles, move-down, families.  And, there's interesting info regarding price range: Johnson Development mentions while proformas don't usually pencil out for first-time buyers, upscale rental housing is a good alternative for that segment of the market not wanting to make a home commitment...yet.

Put Your Buyers in Touch with the Amenity Package
(2) Mine the Data -- Data surrounds us today; using is correctly is key.  Johnson collects and analyzes website traffic and on-site visits -- and shares that information with its builders.  They're also taking advantage of QR codes to deliver on-demand information (vs. lots of pre-printed information delivered by a fully-staffed welcome center).

We've talked about today's buyer in previous blogs -- interested in using touchscreen systems and tablets for  narrowcasting (being able to select from a broad range of information to focus on what's of interest) and "green" conscious (print on-demand makes sense as compared to reams of paper).

(3) Fast-Track Amenities -- Sense of place is important to today's buyer.  Remember we talked about "selling the neighborhood"? MPCs, according to Goff, need to invest more upfront in community anchors and enhanced natural features.

This "new but fully-functional" neighborhood is consistent with the ability to compete against resale -- as long as buyers can see what's either available now or planned for the short-term.  Take a look at Neal Communities' Grand Palm Amenity Package -- there's something for every buyer!

(4) Plan for Down Cycles -- Goff suggests that cultural and economic shifts need to be on everyone's radar.  Whether its keeping tabs on the quality of school districts or growth projects, knowing the market via research and attention builds a strong foundation.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Queue Management Enhances Your Customer Experience

It's been said that "creativity can be time-consuming!" an effort to assist in the creative thinking process, here is an outside the box digital signage solution to help you differentiate your business and more effectively engage customers.

QuikLine: Improved wait time; enhanced customer experience
Everyone waits in lines...whether the grocery store, DMV, sporting events, big box retailers. 

Generally, few of us will report a good "line experience." As James Bickers,'s contributing editor reminds us, "The psychology of the customer experience says that when things are bad, it's noticed right away; but when things are good, they often go unnoticed."

When considering lines and looking to improve the customer experience, why not add digital signage to the queue?  Instead of having customers wait and wait and... add digital signage to the process to logically queue customers and send them to the first available location. And, while customers are waiting, engage them with messages, specials, images, too!

The effect: enhancing the wait process and reducing your customer's perceived wait time.  A win/win for this creative use of digital signage.  Technology enabled the task (better queue management) to be accomplished and your customer experience has improved, too.

Let us know if you'd like information regarding CPS' creative QuikLine solution tool -- effective line queue management software utilizing off-the-shelf hardware.