As part of the discussion Coworking To Rebuild This City – helping people create value in and for our communities, andcards explained how technology can assist with this growth.
Atop of that, Ross Khanas, Co-Founder & CTO of andcards, explains how technology is able to assist any coworking space in upscaling.
Create a more accessible space
The choice of technology depends on the audience you are looking to impact. To make your coworking space more accessible for prospective coworkers, a good online presence is of utmost importance.
A clear and informative marketing website, Google Business, and active social media can help you with member acquisition by making your space attractive to buyers. To convert visitors into paying coworkers, connect your marketing website to the coworking space platform.
The data that andcards has collected from customers in 35+ countries confirms that coworking space members value self-sufficiency and ease of use.
Ross says that “if you are looking to impact members, invest in a technology that makes your flexible workspace available 24/7. You can’t be there all the time to help members, but an all-around coworking space platform would normally empower your members to book meeting rooms, pay for memberships, connect with the community, unlock doors, and connect to Wi-Fi – all without having to talk to anyone.
“People want to do the least amount of work or expend the least amount of effort, both physically (clicks) and cognitively (thinking about what to click).”
Ross explains that the more steps customers need to take to access your services, the higher the chance they will abandon midway. If you go full analog or hands-on with spreadsheets and Google Calendar, your customers will have to reach out to you every time they want to book or subscribe and waste time on endless emails back and forth — all this unnecessary friction on a member journey.
“In contrast, a mobile app would let people book rooms, pay for memberships, and discover all your services, whenever and wherever,” says Ross.
This completely eliminates the step of messaging or calling you before making a booking. Technology reduces the number of steps customers have to go through, which significantly increases conversion, speeds up revenue, and enhances member experience.
What does customer-centric mean?
“For me,” explains Ross, “being customer-centric is first of all about building your business around member satisfaction and happiness.”
Member satisfaction metrics help you deeply understand the performance and grow in the right direction. “This is surprising, but from our research, about 80% of coworking spaces do not take any special efforts to truly understand whether customers are happy.”
It’s rather challenging to measure member happiness and a set of metrics may differ but here are a few parameters that are pretty common for most of the flexible workspaces:
When people leave, it’s called member churn.
“Your coworking business shouldn’t be a revolving door,” says Ross. “If you want to maintain growth, you should keep acquisition levels as high as possible.”
Your member churn KPI can help you better understand what slows down your business and what are the most common reasons why people choose to leave.
Member Retention Rate
Retaining the existing customers always costs less than acquiring new ones, that’s why it’s so important to track this KPI and improve it.
Ross explains that to calculate your retention rate, you need to first figure out the percentage of members who left. To do that, just divide the number of churned members by the number of members at the beginning of the month. To get a retention rate, deduct that percentage from one.
Ross poses this question: are your community-building efforts paying off?
“The best way to know is to measure community engagement through touchpoints of your customers across various products and services you do. The number of activities on your community feed, the average number of likes and comments, and event attendees help you understand how active your community is.”
So, by setting member centric goals, tracking member happiness, and constantly making improvements, you can walk all the way to becoming a customer-centric space. By exceeding member expectations, you are ensuring that people stay, turn into advocates, and help your business grow.
The use of technology to become more customer-centric
“I would say it is easier to become customer-centric with helpful technology at hand,” says Ross.
“Let’s imagine the situation: A member has a problem, it is too cold in the premises. They come to the manager and report the issue verbally. The manager is too busy with more pressing matters at the moment, so they miss to act on the issue.”
Ross explains that as a result, the coworker feels frustrated because no action was taken to settle the problem. Next month this coworker may just leave your space and you won’t even know the reason for the churn as you have no record of the incident.
“Instead,” says Ross “using an easy-to-use member support technology, the member could report the issue through the app. The management team is immediately notified, and the right person in charge of the air conditioning is assigned to tackle the issue.”
The member sees all these activities through the issue reporting system and gets peace of mind that someone is attending to their needs, Ross explains.
“The management team gets a comprehensive overview of the support tickets, with response times and aggregated analytics to proactively address member concerns.”
This is a simple example of how technology helps you resolve issues before they become problems and keep your coworkers happy with their days at your coworking space.
Technology to help you along the way
“Before co-founding andcards, I used to work as a software engineer at Samsung Electronics in Seoul,” says Ross.
“I clearly remember the first coworking space I visited there. It had a comfortable interior, meeting rooms, a device lab to test apps, and even a backyard to play badminton. The concept and amenities were quite fascinating.”
The downfall of this space, Ross explains, is that the only way to know how to access these facilities was by asking a receptionist who only worked during the daytime. “Want to buy a membership? Ask a manager. Want to book a room? Well… you know the answer,” says Ross.
Ross advises that becoming customer-centric is easy by adopting the technology that makes members self-sufficient. Let them book rooms and desks on smartphones while commuting. Let them unlock doors with the app 24/7 without asking anyone’s permission (or waking them up).
“Empower your members to connect with the community, find and join events, and learn about membership benefits and the opportunities of your coworking space,” says Ross.
Ross closes off with one final, important thought: you can’t always be there to help your customers when they need you, but technology can.