essensys works with over a thousand shared workspace locations in 27 different countries globally. We’re kind of lucky, and it gives us a tremendous amount of insight into different markets and operating models.
Whether Serviced Offices or Coworking Spaces, we see some of the common challenges that arise whether they be people, process or technology problems or needs. We’ve tried to summarize some of the common trends we see – and how those issues should be opportunities to automate tasks.
1. Automated Billing and Payments
Generating invoices is an absolute nightmare. I’ve seen the process across different operators and it’s manual, and it’s inaccurate and ripe for automation. Automating invoicing cycles and giving your customers the opportunity to make payments there and then means you’ll reduce the time to cash. It’s a customer expectation in the modern world that they can pay online. I recently had to make an unnecessary trip to a shared workspace provider’s site only to make a payment because there was no option for online payments. Platforms like Occupie from essensys have multiple integrations to payment gateways to make the process simpler.
2. Wi-Fi and Network Performance
Okay, so nobody wants to talk about infrastructure, with one exception: A customer who leaves. We commonly see that limited W-Fi or poor network experience is one of the top reasons why customers leave coworking spaces or serviced offices. It’s a problem that is not easily fixed and throwing bandwidth at the problem isn’t always the right answer. There are Wi-Fi products on the market that help operators solve the problem – they are worth exploring.
3. Online Bookings
There is an expectation that a customer should be able to book online. Regardless of industry – it’s no longer seen as a nice-to-have by consumers, it is critical. If your meeting room inventory isn’t published online, prospects and customers are overlooking you as an option. While it is easy to pick up the phone and book a room – consumers have been trained to self-serve, and they expect you to facilitate it. Allowing self-service also makes your space management simpler. With an automated booking system you can start to analyze trends and reduce the risk of your inventory being underutilized.
4. Customer trends and insight: metrics-driven business
Data and insight are tough to get your hands on. Running your business via finance team spreadsheets and sales team anecdotes does make for the most efficient and effective decision making. To stay on top of your existing operation, you need a single, complete view of how your sites are performing. From pipeline to deal ratios, budget planned to revenue per sq.ft, membership to churn, occupancy to utilization and cash to debt. With that insight, you can make quicker, better decisions from finance to operations, sales, and marketing.
The good news is opportunities are broad. And even the most simple automation will have a huge impact.
We’ve got a team of people who are speaking with workspace operators every day. I’d highly recommend getting in touch if you want to find the low hanging opportunities within your coworking space or serviced office business.