Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Making Conservation Fun

"When you conserve water you conserve life." It's a common water-saving slogan, but it's also a great
principle to start teaching kids at an early age. Teaching the next generation water conservation is vital, and with a little creativity it can be enjoyable as well. Follow some of these tips to get the whole family involved in the water conservation fun!

Shower timer: Keeping showers less than five minutes only uses 12-20 gallons of water. Installing a shower timer can help kids (and parents) keep to the time limit and reinforce the importance of conserving water. To make this fun, have a contest to see who can take the fastest shower, or challenge the family to keep their showers under five minutes for an entire week. 

Turn off the tap: Turning off the tap while the family is washing their face or brushing teeth can save up to four gallons of water a minute. A great way to remind kids of this is to put a fun reminder note on the mirror to help them remember to turn off the tap during these activities.  Another idea is to post a checklist next to the mirror so kids can check off if they remembered to turn off the tap for that day. At the end of the week or month the check marks can be added up and rewarded with a small prize or special privilege.

Teach the family about leaks: Educate family members on the importance of ensuring the faucet and toilet are not leaky. You can even demonstrate the food-coloring technique: take 12 drops of food coloring and place in your toilet tank. After an hour, if the food coloring has seeped into your bowl, you likely have a leak.

Family compost project: If you have a vegetable garden or flower beds a great way to encourage growth in the garden is to start a compost project. Instead of running the garbage disposal (and running water) to get rid of excess scraps of food, start a compost pile. This can be an activity the kids can join in as well, helping to identify things that can be put in the compost container. Make it fun and let the kids decorate the ceramic compost container with paint or chalk.

These are just a few simple tips that can help to make water conservation fun for the entire family. Getting the kids involved so they feel like they are an important part of conserving natural resources is a great way to get them inspired about water conservation! 

Friday, March 15, 2013

One Size Fits All?

Because I am in the marketing department at Conservice, I try to stay up to date not only on what is happening in the multifamily industry, but also what is going on in the marketing world. I ventured over to Inc.com this week and came across an article, “The New Rules for Marketing.” Of course the headline caught my eye and I had to see if Conservice was following these “new rules.”

I am happy to report that Conservice lives and breathes by these “New Rules for Marketing,” or at least how I interpreted them. The article explained that marketing used to be all about creating a product that has a broad appeal to a large audience. According to the author, this approach no longer works, or at least it is a lot less successful than it used to be. Instead, the author suggests that companies should target a specific consumer group, gain their trust, and let that group define the company’s brand and future offerings.

Conservice does this in so many ways. When Conservice was founded in 2000, we only offered utility billing and we targeted the multifamily industry. Now we offer a full suite of utility management solutions, and we not only serve the multifamily industry, but we also provide solutions for student housing, HOAs, commercial buildings, military housing, single family, and more.  We've been able to expand and grow so successfully because we don’t offer a “one-size fits all” solution, but instead cater our services to match the needs of each of our clients. Many of our service offerings have been created and improved because we've listened to suggestions from clients.

The “New Rules for Marketing” make sense to me. It’s important to build a trusting relationship with a niche group of customers first, and then let that relationship help your company grow, because those customers will become your advocates. I've definitely seen it work for Conservice. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Transcending the Cubicle

When I first walked into the Conservice billing department, I was struck by a very obvious difference between Conservice and a traditional office layout: There were no cubicles. Teams were set up with their desks facing each other, and team members were openly interacting without having to peek over or around a divider. There were no barriers.

During my time at Conservice, I have realized that the openness and lack of confining barriers applies to much more than just the way the desks are laid out. The entire Conservice culture is one that embraces openness and rejects unnecessary barriers.

CEO Dave Jenkins on Halloween 2012. Everyone always
eagerly anticipates his costume choice each year.
With most companies, if an employee wants to meet with a department head, that employee would have to contact a secretary or assistant and schedule an appointment. At Conservice, there are no assistants. If I want to meet or speak with someone, I can send them an email, an instant message, or a calendar invite. Our CEO, Dave Jenkins has made himself accessible to employees. Every pay day, he personally hands out paychecks and stubs to each and every employee. Dave also participates in office activities such as dressing up for Halloween and serving the community as part of the ConserviceCares program. Even when I worked in an entry-level position, Dave has always greeted me by name in passing and has even stopped to chat. Each person who works here is valued and respected, regardless of position.

Another way that Conservice culture allows its employees to transcend the cubicle is by giving them a voice. Employees are encouraged to make suggestions and ask questions without fear of being ignored, dismissed, or belittled. Management takes into consideration suggestions on how to improve not only our clients’ experience, but also our employees’ experience.

You may have heard that Conservice puts people first. What you may not realize is that we are not just talking about customers. “Internal customer service” is just as important to our company as external. Conservice fosters an atmosphere of collaboration, innovation, and creativity. We transcend the cubicle.