Thriving In Smaller Markets
At Optix, we’ve seen first hand how a focus on coworking member experience can serve as a strategic tool to retain members and differentiate in an increasingly competitive market. But what do we mean when we talk about member experience? It’s the experience your members have engaging with your business – a perception defined by every interaction they have with you on and offline, inside and outside your space. Everything from your space design, services and staff to your website, coworking software, and community, contribute towards your coworking member experience.
Happy members stick around (and sometimes even invite their friends to join!). By understanding your coworking member experience, you can launch an informed, proactive effort to delight them at every opportunity. As a result, you build relationships that generate loyalty for your business.
Loyalty supports a high retention rate. This helps stabilize your revenue through reduced member churn, while increasing the ROI on your marketing and sales efforts. This means you can focus on truly growing your business, rather than stressing out over filling seats to make ends meet.
Happy members are also more likely to refer others, further reducing your marketing costs. This is known as word-of-mouth or referral marketing, an extremely effective tool for achieving membership growth. In fact, research suggests that one conversation with a friend can drive five times more sales than a paid ad.
One conversation with a friend can drive five times more sales than a paid ad.
Online reviews from these happy members offer a double benefit. Testimonials are tracked by search engines as an indicator that your business is worth showing users. This improves your SEO ranking and improves the chances of your business being seen on the first page of search engine results. The more five-star reviews you can get on Google and other review sites, the better.
It’s not just your members and bottom line that win when you improve member experience. There are big benefits for your staff too. By fixing issues in your space, you also improve operational efficiency and make your employees’ lives easier. A win-win all around!
The good news is you don’t need to take dramatic steps to improve your member experience. You simply need to focus on evolving in the key areas they care the most about. But how do you determine what those are?
Here are a few questions that will help you identify the drivers of your coworking member experience and determine where to focus your efforts.
Ask yourself: Where do members gain the most value from their membership?
There is always a reason members choose to work out of your space over your competitors. Understanding what this unique value proposition is will help you better design your workplace experience to ensure you are catering to member’s needs and wants. To get to the crux of your member’s motivation, you can further break this question down into three parts. Let’s look at an example:
What motivated your current members to join a coworking space? Perhaps your core membership is made up of fresh-faced entrepreneurs, looking for a network to accelerate their business plans.
Why did they choose your space over others? After attending networking events at multiple coworking spaces, the fresh-faced entrepreneur settled on you because your space had the most vibrant community with members in the same stage of business development as them.
What made them stay? After signing up, this entrepreneur enjoyed how you nurtured an environment of continuous learning and connection through happy hours, speakers, and personal introductions to new members.
After reflecting on these questions, you’ll have a better understanding of your value proposition. Then you can look at ways to amplify it for members. In our example, it could be exploring ways to make your community events even more relevant by focusing on the challenges that the entrepreneurs are facing or what services they are looking to get access to (i.e. accounting, legal, etc).
Ask your members: Where could your experience be improved?
This is your opportunity to ask members for feedback and dig in to their pain points. Nothing can tell you more about your member experience than members themselves. However, if you’re going to do this, it’s important that you are prepared to follow through with clear actions based on their input. Otherwise, members may feel resentful that they wasted time giving feedback that led nowhere.
Diving deeper with more specific questions may help you extract more actionable responses from your members. For example:
What are we doing well? Having members tell you what they appreciate about the space can help to reinforce or challenge the conclusions you made when self reflecting on your member experience.
What is the most frustrating aspect of working out of this space? Give members the opportunity to vent their frustrations, and you’ll probably learn a thing or two in the process.
What services do you wish we offered? This question represents a great opportunity to extract innovative ideas for how you can improve your service offering.
Make sure you thank your members for providing feedback! Their time is valuable and a ‘thank you’ with a small token (for example a coffee or cookie!) can go a long way.
Once you have gathered insights, it’s time to organize and prioritize. Categorizing feedback is helpful at this stage to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the input that you’ve received, and is the first step in creating a member experience action plan. Try sorting it by the aspect of your experience members want to improve and then by the effort required to do so. Doing this, you’ll see the quick wins you can act on immediately (the low-hanging fruit), the worthwhile areas that require more of an investment and the changes you simply can’t make right now. Following this, it’s just about choosing where to begin.
At the end of the day, the important thing is to view your coworking member experience as a continuous improvement process, not an end state. Improving the member experience is an ongoing journey that should be integrated as part of your overall service strategy. Try to engage members in a feedback loop. This can be through monthly check-in chats, quarterly surveys or a suggestion box at the front desk. By making iterative improvements, not only will you keep your feedback loop going, you’ll also show members you really care. A fact which in itself will significantly boost their happiness in your coworking space.
Interested in learning more about how to improve your coworking member experience? Check out the Optix blog for additional resources and keep an eye out for the next blog in this series!
Save your community manager 41 hours each week—learn how The Yard did it with cloud-based access control.Read the Case Study