8 Things Coworking Space Owners and Managers Should Understand About Their Customers
The rising demand for coworking spaces is an indicator of the sweeping changes we can expect in the work environment of the future. When the average person thinks about coworking, what often comes to mind are office spaces where individuals and organizations share the exact same space and facilities as other tenants.
While this is certainly an essential ingredient of coworking, coworking space owners and managers must be wary of an excessive fixation with the physical space itself as opposed to why it exists as this could distort their perspective of prospective coworking customers.
Coworking, is first of all, a mindset. The spaces are simply a means of enabling this work culture.
To attract customers to their premises, coworking owners and managers must understand a number of things about their target market.
1. Customers Want You to Keep Your Promises
For any business owner or manager, there’s an adrenaline rush that comes with signing a new customer. So when taking a client on a tour of the premises, you may go out of your way to paint the space as ideal for them.
Nevertheless, as a coworking space owner or manager, you must be wary of making promises on the spur of the moment in the hopes of getting a prospect to sign the dotted line. It may get the customer to sign up but the potential long term damage to your business reputation can be catastrophic.
On the other hand, aggressively marketing the space but being frank about any shortcomings will earn the trust of your customers and bolster your business’ credibility.
2. Customers Want Continuous, Consistent Support
Customer service begins well before a prospective customer calls your office to make an enquiry. It starts by making sure that as much information as the customer needs to make a decision is available on your website and social media pages.
Not every customer will have the interest or patience to visit your website or social media page before they call but ensuring the information is available will be crucial in making a good first impression of the business.
Build on this positive experience when the client first calls to enquire, visits your reception desk and moves into the space. Ensure help is at hand whenever it’s needed. Customer awareness shouldn’t be the preserve of your customer service department alone—everyone from the accounts staff to the janitor must play their part in fostering a conducive, customer-friendly environment.
Pro tip: You can free community manager's hands for essential activities—new members onboarding, building community, maintaining collaboration and networking, and supporting visitors by implementing modern coworking space management software that does all the routines like new members registration, meeting room booking, access control, etc.
3. Customers Want Coworking Space to Have, well, Space
The more the coworking customers you have, the better for your bottom line. However, that’s only up to a point.
Workers enjoy environments that are spacious, open, uncluttered and calm.
No one likes to be packed like sardines. Crowded coworking spaces are stifling and inhibiting not just to the physical execution of work but also in the nurturing of fresh innovative ideas. They are noisy, insecure, dirty and more expensive to maintain.
Study your coworking space and determine well in advance what is its optimal carrying capacity. Once you reach this limit of customers, resist signing up any more or consider starting a new location.
Your quest to pack more people in the space will only end up with you losing the ones already there.
4. Customers Want a Schedule That Reflects Their Core Goals
Coworking often means a flexibility to work not just wherever but also whenever you want.
Nothing is impossible for freelancers, they may even choose to work straight from paradise like AiEspacio coworking, located in Villa La Angostura, Argentina.
Such freedom can be a powerful motivation for work. Nevertheless, just because one is motivated to work doesn’t necessarily mean they will apply the motivation toward the things that truly matter.
Coworking space owners and managers can help their customers create a schedule that establishes the structure required to ensure they realize their objectives. Many coworking space customers recognize that just because they are coworking doesn’t mean they shouldn’t adhere to the traditional work hours of 9-5 if that is what will make them most effective.
Figure out what helps your customers overcome their personal fears and limitations then recommend a schedule that will help accelerate their success.
5. Customers Need Collaborative Motivation
It’s easy for someone in a coworking space to get lost in their own world and work in a silo that isolates them from the other workers around them. Yet, coworking space customers can benefit from joining a collaborative motivation group that helps them continuously motivate themselves and set goals.
Coworking space owners and managers should create avenues through which their customers can identify common ground with one or more fellow customers. The customers can regularly check with each other to voluntarily monitor one another’s progress in the realization of their separate objectives.
These groups are also a great way to help customers develop meaningful interpersonal relationships with their fellow coworkers. They are sharing the same space after all so stronger connections can only be a good thing.
6. Customers Want You to Facilitate Rather Than Force Creativity
Coworking environments should be designed to facilitate a transition from rigidity to creativity.
They ought to be a nurturing ground for serenity and magical connections. But that will only happen if coworking space owners and managers facilitate creative forces.
The coworking space must encourage symbiotic connections. Water coolers and office kitchens should be the only environment where workers have the peace of mind needed to experience a burst of new ideas. Instead, there should be multiple locations workers can relax and contemplate their goals and the things that inspire them.
7. Customers Want a Lifestyle and Not Just Space
If you design and build coworking spaces just as premises for people to work, you’ll fall short of the optimal value proposition you could offer your prospective clients. You must see a coworking space as the physical and cultural infrastructure supporting the realization of the customer’s goals.
Coworking is dead, the community is alive. That's my strong belief. And my goal is building a strong, vivid community. Not renting desks, but maintaining relationships, bringing people together.
~Xavier Bertschy, the Owner of Urbanfish Coworking (Bern, Switzerland) in his interview for andcards.
Coworking space owners and managers must think about not just what their customers need but also what makes them come alive. The workers who are most productive and effective are those whose work is invigorated by a deep authentic passion that permeates through their lifestyle. It’s this passion that attracts people to what they do and creates the kind of beneficial long-term business and personal relationships they need.
8. Customers Want Participation Over Observation
Your coworking space customers are paying for the service so you should expect some criticism. After spending some time in a given coworking space, workers will inevitably start to notice all the negative things around them. If their response to this realization is moving their business elsewhere, your coworking space stands to lose.
One of the main reasons for this customer disenchantment is them being relegated to an observer role as opposed to being incorporated in the coworking space as an active participant. Ergo, regularly remind your customers that they shouldn’t be passive members of the space. Actively solicit their input on how the space can be improved further.
By making your customers contributors to the betterment of the workspace, they’ll not only appreciate what has gone into making the environment what it is but they will also develop a deep sense of ownership.
For example, if one of your customers recommends the installation of a shared logging-as-a-service solution to replace the existing on-premises setup, the resulting efficiency is positive for both you as the space owner or manager and the customers who use it.
Understanding the mindset of your coworking customers is important but the physical design and structure of the coworking space should not be downplayed. So as you align your coworking business with the customer view with these tips, make sure the space is interesting and attractive for clients.
Please let us know whether you find these psychological tips helpful for your coworking business. Have your own observations / disagree with the author? Let's talk!
This article is written by Wendy Dessler. Wendy Dessler is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.