What came first, the brand perception or the consumer experience?
The customer journey experience plays an integral part in ensuring the success of your business; it translates into the perception of your brand. The better the perception, the better the business. Therefore, curating a seamlessly tailored experience for your customers is pertinent to inducing a positive influx of business — every minuscule detail matters.
The spectrum of customer experience in the coworking industry expands into numerous categories, each interconnected to facilitate the customer with an experience to remember. The constant drive to improve, innovate and enhance this relatively new category is essential to differentiating your space from others. Coworking brings together multiple sectors into one such as hospitality, facility management, real estate and owners’ association. So the winning formula must also incorporate each sector’s strategy into one.
Answer: The Community Team
The community team is the heart of a coworking space. This team is responsible for managing the clients and their needs from the first second of their move-in to the last second of their move-out. Their roles essentially pivot towards facilitating the clients in any capacity. They are a customer-centric team with the resources to manage the clientele: housekeeping staff, IT, front desk, security, repair and maintenance.
Community Team is the nexus of the customer experience engine.
If you are planning on moving into a coworking space, here are some of the things you should keep an eye out for to help you choose the right space:
1. Proactive and responsive service
Do they forecast the needs of their customers? Do they cater to FAQs without being prompted? During the acquisition and the onboarding stage, the top priority of any good community team should be to disclose all relevant information to the customers.
The primal need-to-know is the essence of initial tour of the space. The customers should become familiar with the physical space, where the meeting rooms, the conference rooms and the lounges are situated. They should be informed of per seating pricing, added amenities and core services. There is a ton of information that needs to be communicated to help make the potential client make an informed decision. The more proactively the community team involves the client the more likely they are to be good at servicing their clients after they move-in.
Smaller details might come into play later, for example, all the WiFi passwords, the process of printing anything, the extensions to order a coffee, or the availability different food options. But all in all, the more they involve you in the process, the better service they will be able to provide.
2. There should always be a feedback loop
The customer may become familiar with operating the facilities and amenities, but a hiccup will always occur. Therefore, it is essential to have appropriate channels of communication between clients and the team. The mode of communication must be clear. The customer’s input could be given through digital means like an email, a digital form on the website, or if they have to fill the form available at the reception of your space. Any suggestion, feedback or complaint must be well-received, evaluated and solved. If you go to a coworking space for a tour, always ask them the process of getting in touch with the POC and how to register a formal or not so formal complaint. Ask them what are the usual complaints they get and how they resolve them.
The where, how and what to communicate for the members should be a straightforward process with the assurance that they are being listened to by the team. Just an apology cannot amend a lousy experience. The Community Team should validate the customer complaints and be empowered enough to rectify whatever feedback was received. For example, if there is a mess in a particular office space and a complaint is received, the response should be providing an alternative space and complimentary service. This is to ensure that the customer’s opinion is heard and appropriate action is taken.
3. The Sales Team
An integral part of the customer experience is the sales experience. The sales team is responsible for the acquisition of the client. They should be equipped with matchmaking skills. Their business is to know the business of their customers; to understand the business model, their mission and vision, their expansion plans, and the frequency of meeting rooms needed.
This will allow the sales team should know the customer’s requirements to curate a package altered to perfection according to the specific needs. If the sales team lapsed in terms of asking you about your company and your needs and just presented you with a cookie cutter proposal then you can expect the rest of the customer experience to also be cookie cutter.
4. Networking and Community Building
One of the reasons businesses have levitated towards coworking spaces rather than setting up their own offices, is finding networking opportunities and connecting with similar companies working from within the vicinity. Ask the community team to introduce you to similar or complementary businesses. Ask if they follow any protocols to create an atmosphere of collaboration. Any coworking space that regularly creates networking opportunity is destined to be beneficial in the long run. If they can help you in finding business or other solutions, then that needs to factor into your consideration.
5. Adding Value
A personal touch to standard services is the key differentiator between a great coworking space and just a good one. Small gestures will go a long way to make you feel comfortable and at home, so to speak. You should be assigned a Person of Contact from the get-go of the acquisition phase to the termination of the contract. The PoC’s job is essentially to become the problem solver, the caterer of needs – the go-to person in all cases!
Moreover, when a customer is on boarded, do they make it personalized and special for you? Do you get a welcome pack: merchandise like Notebooks, pens or USBs.
When it comes to moving out, does the coworking space still treat you with the same attention and respect, now that your official relationship is ending?
6. Effective and Efficient
Consider that the community team did every single thing mentioned above. They checked all the boxes. Did they do it well? To create a seamless customer experience, the utmost importance should be given to the delivery of any process.
If the entire coworking category is offering space, reception services, competitive prices and the usual amenities, the leader of the pack will be determined on the delivery method of these offerings. From the acquisition to the termination, the goal should be smooth delivery. The Community Team should ensure that the customers have been given a proper tour, that they have detailed knowledge of the facilities and amenities provided to them, that their PoC takes care of all the paperwork, bookings, complaints, etc.
A well versed coworking space will make it easy for the customers through all dealings, taking most of the burden on themselves. That is the entire point of a coworking space. At least, a good one.
See if your space makes it easy for you. Have they given thought to an FAQ where most your inquiries are already listed? Is there a place where they have consolidated their information, contact numbers, chat boxes, email addresses or addresses readily available on the website? Moreover, there should be a direct call to action button prompting the potential customer for contact.
Furthermore, constantly updated social media platforms play an instrumental role in helping the potential customer access the look and the feel of the company. An analysis of their digital presence will easily tell you everything you need to know. Ending on the same note as we started, it is the brand perception around which the customer experience is built, yet it is the customer experience that determines the brand perception. This perception is an accumulative effect of the customers’ interaction with the company through all the stages of their official relationship. If you feel you were treated with respect, your knowledge was appreciated and your lapses were not judged, then you are most probably in the right space.