BY CLAIRE LUIK, VICE PRESIDENT PRODUCT AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, ESSENSYS NORTH AMERICA
Part 5 of the free eBook: The Complete Guide to Growing Your Flexible Workspace Business
In the first few installments of our lead to cash series, we’ve presented best practices for lead generation, sales management and the licensing and onboarding process. You may have closed the deal and added a new member to your community, but the work doesn’t stop there. Understanding your customers’ needs and managing and nurturing relationships with them after the sales process is almost just as important as them signing up.
No customer is the same. It is of utmost importance to understand what type of members you have in your community and what they intend to get out of their membership in your shared workspace. We’ve identified three key types of members…
- The Dependent Member
The dependent member will seek you out for the most basic of needs and routine transactions around the workspace.
Despite offering self-service tools for on-demand access to services like bookings and meeting rooms, the late adapters and dependent members live for the human interaction at the workspace and will rely heavily on the operator to guide them.
First and foremost, set clearly defined goals and objectives. Aim to complete the booking process – from the time a lead comes in to qualifying it and booking the tour – in less than five minutes. The most efficient way to achieve this is to define a workflow and leverage tools that push the lead through the sales cycle, such as auto-responses, task assignments and reminders.
- The All Work, No Play Member
These members didn’t sign up to play ping-pong in the common area or to attend events. They’ve signed up to come to work and be productive every day.
They are often reluctant to engage in excessive conversation and are generally self-sufficient in using the services and workspace tools made available to them. They don’t always sign up to community events but still consider the option to partake attractive.
- The life-of-the-workspace member
These members live for community and thrive off of social interaction in the workspace. They’re champions of generating attendance to your events and will be the life of the party.
While enthusiastic about the social element of your space, life-of-the-workspace members appreciate productive collaboration and will find their own way about your workspace with little fuss. Part of their drive is being genuinely interested in helping out other members.
Managing Your Members
Given these unique member profiles, it is key to establish a healthy balance between being a helpful and involved operator and an intrusive operator. Here are some tried and tested tips:
- Consider Renewal Dates
For the reluctant, all-work-no play member your attempts to interact may be regarded as an intrusion. Keep it friendly and short on the day to day and limit excessive communication or visits to their office or workstation. However, engage them at least three months prior to their renewal date to determine what their intentions are.
Depending on your renewal policies and the state of the market, it may be in your interest to not disturb the customer and to allow the contract to roll on at the existing rates. Vice versa, if the market is up, this is your chance to increase rates if favorable.
The worst case scenario is disrupting a content customer with a renewal conversation that may prompt them to reconsider staying in your workspace, resulting in loss of business.
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- Build Trust
Maintaining a balance between heavy contact and isolation is important for your less active members in the community. Consider engineering a mechanism for you and your staff to engage with these members in a non-intrusive way that still builds trust.
For example, if delivering mail is not a routine service you offer, surprise them with a mail delivery once a week. This gives you an excuse to see their office, check-in on complaints or issues and see how their business is doing, all while providing a service.
- Use Technology as a Buffer
The digital transformation and increasing presence of workspace management software has impacted the way operators can build relationships with their members. Bespoke software platforms facilitate both operator to member and member to member communications. Offering your members an interface by which they can not only access their service records, billing information and on-demand booking services, but can also control their communications with you and other members gives them greater flexibility to tailor their workspace experience to both business and personal objectives.
- Get Feedback
Leveraging technology is a great way to tailor communications to your members. Send periodic (short!) surveys to evaluate how you and your center are performing. Capturing negative feedback before it snowballs and correcting it quickly will prevent complaints and escalations from arising and compromising your business.
Knowing your members and what their future objectives are allows you to accommodate their arising needs around space usage and planning, upsizing, downsizing, splitting teams or potentially relocating. The idea is to interact sufficiently with your members to keep them happy and renewing at your center.
- Focus on Customer Service
The shared workspace industry is increasingly akin to the hospitality industry. Formally training your staff in customer service techniques can be a huge advantage. Not only will you give your staff a career and qualifications that are transferable but you also offer due diligence in quality communication, issue management and customer care.
In summary, the simple secret to running a shared workspace is to attract and sign-up new members, move them in with little hassle, and keep them happy during their stay. Managing your members’ experience and making it a positive one will allow you to increase rates, gain more referrals and ultimately drive revenues.
Continue to Part VI: Simplifying Complex Shared Workspace Technology
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