BY DAVID KINNAIRD, COO, ESSENSYS
Part 4 of the free eBook: The Complete Guide to Growing Your Flexible Workspace Business
There is nothing simple about running a business and much less a shared workspace. Operators must have control of and visibility into every aspect of their operation, from sales and lead management, services and billing, to building a community and delivering positive member experiences.
Sustaining a flexible workspace and keeping customers happy – while maintaining your sanity – largely depends on the ability to tightly integrate each step in the management process. And it doesn’t have to be difficult. In this chapter of our lead to cash series, we look at licensing, onboarding and the value of making the transition from opportunity to customer smooth and easy, both for you and your clients.
A License to License
By the nature of the diverse – and growing – flexible workspace industry there are a number of license agreement options: short, long and longer term resident licenses, virtuals, day passes, coworking, hot-desking, flex-desking, rolling or fixed terms, or on-demand service offerings, just to name a few. What you choose to offer requires an understanding of market trends and the capacities of your workspace, while considering pipeline and evaluating demand.
Creating and managing your product offering needs to be hassle-free and flexible for prospects and customers alike to view and consume services. Displaying your service offering on your website is just the beginning. Having real-time insight into your inventory allows you to respond quicker and more accurately to inquiries. Generating and sending a proposal and license agreement that match their needs with just a few clicks should be standard in your process.
For this, workspace management tools that underpin inventory, CRM and communications are crucial. Tracking communications and receiving feedback from your prospect in one place makes it easier to make changes in the license agreement or service packages where needed quickly and easily. By working from a single interface you can amend and resend documents with little effort.
By now, you’ve closed the deal and you have a new client – and possibly multiple members – to add to your contact lists, member directory, events board, announcements list, invoicing and billing systems, and so on.
Using multiple systems most likely means you are managing various spreadsheets and entering data manually the same number of times as the number of systems you are using.
This creates confusion and duplicate or incorrect entries, which can compromise the integrity of your operation and not to mention waste your valuable time and frustrate your members.
When a prospect signs a license agreement, an automated workflow should convert their status in your system from an opportunity to a member triggering the complete on-boarding process and activating them throughout all of your sites and within the member community.
Download your ‘Complete Guide to Growing Your Flexible Workspace Business’ ebook
Once activated in your system your customers should be enabled with access to all services from day one. This includes basic services like Wi-Fi, wired connectivity, telephones, access to meeting room bookings, and more advanced services such as member communities, messaging systems and any other tools or platforms that you offer. Many of these services traditionally require a series of administrative tasks or calling on your IT guy for provisioning.
Imagine adding a new customer to your workspace and automatically activating their services based on the plan they selected and license agreement they signed, all in a matter of moments. Provisioning services in a shared workspace is possible with a few clicks and having a bird’s eye view of usage and consumption patterns should be painless and at your fingertips at all times.
The days of calling your outsourced IT guy to patch a cable or setup a new phone are over. Integrated platforms and on-demand services reduce resources and time spent on mundane administrative tasks that distract you from the bigger-picture – building your member community and growing your business.
Signing and onboarding a new customer is great for business, but the sales process – and flexible workspace lifecycle – doesn’t stop there. Customers’ needs are constantly changing and as an operator you need to be flexible and prepared to accommodate license agreement changes, especially at renewal time.
Having a detailed view of what customers are paying and, importantly, the changing value of your workspace over time, will give you the ability to maximize service and space uptake. A platform that integrates each piece of the puzzle will give you the freedom to make quick and easy changes while offering new and updated services to your clients.
Continue to Part V: Customer In-Life Management in the Shared Workspace
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