In the growing Coworking market, operators are finding increased competition and new spaces popping up left and right. Increased market competition is motivation to distinguish your brand and services from the crowd. In a stagnant market, a status quo approach to running your Coworking space may suffice. But we all know that the Coworking market is heating up. And as the market grows, coworking operators must work harder to maintain optimal occupancy rates, retain existing customers and attract new ones.
Historically, operators have relied on traditional differentiators such as space and staff. With market growth rapidly increasing landlords and CRE players can no longer rely on simple brand and messaging pillars to distinguish their brand. The below outlines original ways that operators can stand out from the crowd of both long-time and new workspaces.
In this article:
1. Exceed Expectations
One thing is to list the value proposition and core values of your Coworking space on your website, and another thing is to follow through on them. Differentiating your brand demands that you ask yourself whether the experience you promise matches the experience you offer. Your member base is what keeps your businesses going, so meeting and exceeding the expectations they have of your workspace should be a priority.
2. Member Experience
From the moment they request a tour as a prospect to when they leave for the day as a customer, your focus should be on delivering a slick and pleasant experience for your Coworking members. Core technology services should enable a productive and fulfilling work experience and engagement with your workspace, and your staff should be quick and easy. The right technology solutions – reliable and secure Wi-Fi along with a platform with which they can book rooms, manage their invoices and payments, and interact with the community – enhances the experience at your workspace.
3. Customer Service First
With the number of Coworking spaces continually rising they all seem the same after a while. Differentiate your brand with a customer-centric culture and a focus on hospitality that will stand out in their minds. It’s amazing what an impact having friendly and sociable staff who greet and engage your customers can make on the member’s experience. Services are front and center of a well-liked workspace brand, but people make all the difference, especially when it comes to building community. Let’s not forget that social media platforms such as Twitter and Yelp make it easier for a customer to complain about your Coworking space if they had a negative experience, which could be seriously detrimental to your brand and overall success.
4. Build Community
Much like customer service, the staff in your Coworking space are one of the most differentiating factors, especially when building community. With the right community curator to build a strong network of members, they will eventually take ownership to drive their community forward. A positive interpersonal experience will keep your member base coming back and even growing it. Rather than just a place to work, your Coworking space will become a place where members come for the people and to build connections.
5. Provide a Niche Service
You can differentiate your Coworking space from the masses by highly specializing your proposition to attract a niche segment of workers. The more targeted your offering is to your customer base, the more services you’ll be able to offer them. Focusing your workspace on a niche sector gives you the ability to tailor services to those professionals and create a tight-knit community based on shared professional interests. For example, Enrich Coworking Community for Lawyers in San Diego offers an environment tailored to the needs of legal professionals making available business practices and legal resources. Another example is Image Studios 360, which offers flex space for beauty professionals that serves as a salon and an office with a particular focus on receptionist services, and women-geared Coworking spaces such as Seattle-based The Riveter and New York-based The Wing, which are providing new forums for female professionals and entrepreneurs. Other niche shared workspaces that have popped in the past year are surf-board workshops, cannabis-related incubators, production studios, digital and media workspaces and food accelerators.
6. Enterprise-grade Technology
Differentiate your brand by the level of technology services you offer. “Ultra-fast Wi-Fi” has become a standard marketing term used to sell a Coworking space. The top reason members leave a workspace is due to poor internet. Offering a genuinely secure and reliable network, both wireless and cabled connectivity, gives you a competitive edge against the standard Coworking space with the DIY Wi-Fi. Cabled connections are even better because they remove the strain from your wireless network and offer even faster connection speeds without causing frequency interference. (Read in-depth about Wi-Fi for Coworking here.) Taking it a step further, add an extra layer of security to members’ data and internet usage with the ability to spin up dedicated VLANs. With enterprise-grade technology, you can be attracting legal, finance and tech companies that seek the flexibility and lower costs of Coworking but have strict security and confidentiality requirements, which other spaces can’t deliver.
Distinguish Your Services
There is no doubt there’s a vast addressable market for Coworking and shared workspaces. However, these workers need more than real estate and a workstation. Community, services and member experience are the focal points for those seeking flexible workspaces. It’s not always about a lower price point to stay competitive, but higher quality services that better position your tenants and members to run their business in a productive and pleasant environment. Offering more than just workspace is key to distinguishing your brand. From the top of the line technology and digital experience to business resources, the caliber of services you offer and how you deliver them will help to distinguish your business from the run of the mill Coworking space.
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