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By Sara Bause Mason –  ComQi

One of my fondest memories of my school time was my theater studies and a wonderful drama teacher, Mr. Venables – who directed us through everything from musicals to Macbeth. It was heavy stuff for 13-year-old, but I loved it.

Now … you’re reading this and wondering, what has theater studies got to do with digital signage and customer experience in retail ? Bear with me!!

I was dancing or acting a lot during my school days – my happy place, flamboyantly performing, twirling and always leaving it to the last moment to learn my lines. However much I enjoyed the limelight and the creative process, what always really fascinated me was the Stage Management operations – or “Running crew”  – that seem to make things happen, as if by magic.

The Stage Manager is the individual who has overall responsibility for managing and ensuring the smooth execution of a theatrical production.  The actors were obviously cool, but to me, the stage production team had almost mythical status – the way they kept everything running like clockwork, while being completely invisible.

Dark-clothed individuals wearing headsets, floating in seamlessly, swapping out furniture, sets and props like ghosts, cueing the actors, adding perfect lighting effects or moving backdrops as if by magic.

The artists are the people who create the value in a theatre, but it’s the backstage team that makes the show possible – and THAT’S the connection I see with the work I now do with digital signage in retail and other environments that demand great customer experiences.

Yes, it’s the content and the brightest/coolest technology – whether that’s LCD or LED  – that people notice, but that’s all been put together through a rigorous process of site surveys, project management, procurement, technicians and on-going support infrastructure.

Maybe that sounds boring, but the details make or break these visual projects.

Running operations for ComQi over the last 14 years is not dissimilar to those magical Stage Managers, and my ethos for achieving operational excellence for our clients, day in and day out.  Our top priority is to execute flawlessly, and when we really nail it, invisibly. The drama in a great visual project should be from the sumptuous, compelling visuals – not from the deployment process.

So how do we achieve this? 

At ComQi, it’s our passion to truly understand our client’s brand, culture, needs, pain points and objectives.  To do all that, we have to ensure we are listening to our clients and designing the right solution for their needs.

Of course, we have years of experience delivering these solutions in this space, and can talk for hours on the subject. But ultimately, our job is to help navigate the client to the best solution for them in their environment with the right message, and the only way to do that is by being curious, asking questions and most importantly listening to our clients.  Only by going through this discovery journey can we then convert it into a production plan that will carry the client through the full life cycle of their customer experience.

Digital signage is not just about the biggest and brightest screens, it’s about meeting client objectives – whether that’s driving sales or reducing operational cost. Understanding these objectives is key to any deployment. By involving the client right up front, by being transparent throughout the process, ComQi builds trust with clients. We become trusted advisors … and that’s when the magic happens.

The work, and attention, doesn’t stop after the initial planning and launch. It’s an ongoing process that ensures that the “Wow Factor” of a customer experience project can be easily replicated, flawlessly, by every single person involved.

That work also cuts down on wasted time, misunderstandings and conflicts – which translates to getting things done right, the first. time. When you have the drill down, you have the ability to scale.

This all traces back to my days in drama. When we can properly plan and stage-manage a project, we have a blueprint for success. And we can help our clients deliver a great show – a great experience – that drives their business objectives.

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