Well, here we are, perched at 2017’s doorstep. As we move past the busy holiday season, we at CLS Facility Services have but one simple question for facility managers like you:

Are your signs ready to rock in 2017?

We know what you’re thinking…“Signs? That’s not exactly topping my to-do list in January.”

Yet signs are crucially important—in fact, we believe they play a key – but often unheralded – role in maximizing your marketing spend (or to put it another way, ensuring that you’re not wasting marketing dollars), and minimizing lost opportunities and bad PR. Maybe they should be a priority for you after all.

At the beginning of each year, retailers process dozens – even hundreds – of returns, so while though the holiday rush is over, shoppers still come and go in great numbers. Additionally, retailers whose fiscal year coincides with the calendar year especially want to get off to a solid start after January 1.

What could derail all this? You guessed it—signs. Specifically, poorly lit signs. Signs with unlit letters. Flickering signs. Unkempt signs with dirt, grime and other contaminants on them. Signs like these don’t do the job they’re meant to do. Worse still, they can actually cost you business.

Right now, retailers are all in fierce competition with one another. Many share spaces in malls and strip centers—or they’re located nearby in shared retail zones. If shoppers are out and about, and your signs are poorly maintained, that sends a very bad message. People naturally shy away from a store that’s poorly lit; for many of us, it’s a basic safety issue. Meanwhile, if your competitor across the street maintains his signs – all letters are brightly lit, they’re clean and look inviting – shoppers really will be more likely to spend their money with him.

What’s the solution? Like anything, it comes down to assessing the problem, making intelligent choices, and then implementing plans. At CLS, we do this by implementing a night survey program for clients. A night survey is essentially what it sounds like: Night drive-bys are performed at and around all your stores—wherever they may be throughout the U.S. or beyond. We observe your signage from our expert perspective – we look for unlit signs and sign letters, poorly lit signs and sign letters, dirty and broken signs—and our inspection is as comprehensive as you need it to be.

We also take into account traffic patterns, so we pay specific attention to signage on main roads, and in and around parking lots—areas shoppers are most likely to see. When we’re finished, we record our findings, and then we process the raw data into useful information— percentages and recommended go-forward strategies.

At that point, we upload our report and recommendations to our secure portal where clients can securely access everything—photos, raw data, statistics and recommendations.

Our night surveys not only tangibly demonstrate just how much money you might be wasting in your marketing spend, but they offer recommendations to stem that tide, and turn negative assets into positive ones.

If you think an undertaking like this can and should be done internally at the managerial level, we urge you to reconsider. Think about it: Managers are primarily worried about selling product—especially around high shopping season. Like it or not, most aren’t terribly concerned whether signs are illuminated. Put yourself in your manager’s shoes for a moment: It’s 10:30 at night, you’ve worked all day, now you’re leaving the store and heading out to your car. You may notice that the sign right above the front entrance is poorly illuminated, but what happens if that’s not what most shoppers see? If your business is located on the corner of a lot, oftentimes your building sign faces a main road. Hypothetically, that sign may be burned out, or damaged. Or, a letter isn’t lit. You as the manager won’t see that.

It’s been our experience that, if managers catch anything, it’s the sign right over the front entrance. Certainly that’s important, but it’s not always the sign that shoppers see when they’re driving by.

Sometimes, those secondary identifiers in a manager’s mind are actually primary identifiers in shoppers’ lines of vision, and they’re the most likely to get overlooked by store management and employees.

When you figure in multiple signs at multiple locations around town, or around the country, the task of sign management seems overwhelming. We take that burden off your plate, so you’re not having to worry whether all your signs are lit; whether they’re spelling something inappropriate, or whether their appearance sends shoppers the wrong message. Just as important, you’re getting expert advice on how to maximize your sign functionality.

If you aren’t sure which signs in which stores are functioning well, and which ones aren’t, put us to work. Let us investigate, analyze, process and make recommendations that can save you money, and help to ensure a positive image for your company and its brand.

Again, night surveys, and our subsequent analysis and recommendations, yield two primary benefits. From a facility maintenance standpoint, we’re helping you maintain your signs and ensure they function at their optimal capacity. And from a marketing/branding standpoint, high-functioning signs position your store and your company in the best possible light. We see it as a win-win—and a solid add to the top of your 2017 to-do list.

If you are looking for a facility management company for 2017, with close to 50 years of experience managing multiple locations nationally, learn more about CLS Facility Services by contacting us at 800-548-3542 or by filling out our contact form.