Thriving In Smaller Markets
Technology is typically viewed as a cost, with its value measured by the operational efficiency it creates. This is a logical approach, but fails to consider the positive impact that technology can have on the customer experience. In a coworking context, it’s important to view your technology as a strategic asset. It doesn’t just save you time and money, it also supports a seamless coworking member experience that’s so crucial to your coworking space’s success. Although harder to quantify, this value can be defined in terms of loyalty, member retention and more.
There’s plenty of technology options available for coworking spaces today. From access control systems to member management and accounting software, you can create a whole technology ecosystem to power your space.
Many of these software focus heavily on their utility for your team. However, the reality is that these administrative features are often very similar from one software to the next. One of the important differentiators is in the attention given to the end-user, in this case coworking member experience.
This can vary greatly by software. Some solutions are rigid, forcing you and your members to adapt to work with them. Others offer more flexibility through configuration options, the ability to turn features on and off, and integrations with other technologies being used in the space. It’s unlikely you’re going to find a single solution that does everything you require. There may be features you don’t want or don’t have. As a result, the degree to which you can customize and build upon your technology is an important consideration.
You may also be thinking about building your own tailored solution. This can be an expensive and complex endeavour. However, some softwares allow you to introduce custom features and UI elements using public APIs and platform tools. In this way, you can customize your technology, without having to bear the cost of building an entire solution from scratch.
Whether you’re implementing new technology or switching from another provider, the process can be time-consuming and disruptive for both you and your members. So it’s important that you choose the right partner from the outset. Taking a long-term view is key, evaluating both the product itself and the team behind it.
To help you review your options, we’ve outlined six questions that ensure the product, its team and strategic vision align with your needs:
Before making any decisions, you should carefully consider what you need your technology to do today. Are there tasks your team is struggling with or areas where your coworking member experience is lacking? This is where collecting member feedback can come in handy.
It’s not just today’s challenges that matter. You need to ensure your technology is capable of scaling with your business. This is a good time to nail down the vision for your coworking space. Are you planning to expand into new locations? Build out additional services? Target a different customer segment? Once you know this, you can assess how your potential tech solutions are able to support you on this journey.
It won’t matter that your new tech is the best on the market if your members don’t use it. Next time you run a survey ask them how they prefer to interact with you and the services you have to offer. You may find that your members want to be able to engage with your team and your space through an app, so mobile functionality is often an important feature to evaluate.
Having access to extra, value-added features is never a bad thing. Instead of glossing over this functionality during your search, think about how you could use it to do more for members. A community feed, for example, may not be a feature you’re immediately looking for but, if leveraged properly, can boost member engagement significantly.
No coworking space is exactly the same. You may find that a minor investment in developing custom functionality could reap major coworking member experience benefits. But that’s only if the technology is flexible enough to allow it. As you review your tech options, look out for their API capabilities, their developer tools and the integrations they offer with other solutions. The more robust these are, the greater the degree of customization you can achieve.
This question is often overlooked, but it’s just as important as the others. The coworking industry is evolving rapidly, which means your needs today will likely be very different from your needs in the future. The last thing you want is to be weighed down by outdated technology. So make sure you evaluate your shortlist of tech partners to ensure their team is equipped to support you long-term.
Choosing technology can be a daunting task. By evaluating the product, its team and customization capabilities, you can be sure you’re selecting the right solution. The effort will be worth it once everything’s in place. Not only will it deliver operational efficiency for your team, it will also ensure a happier, more engaged member base. And at the end of the day, happy members are more likely to make your space a better place for everyone to work.
Interested in learning more about how to improve your coworking member experience through technology? 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