Photo credit: OnePiece Work in San Francisco, California.
For coworking and flexible office operators, having a high retention rate is a key indicator of a space’s success. In today’s coworking marketplace, sustaining high retention rates is essential to generating profits—as, otherwise, the cost of acquiring new members is much greater than servicing existing ones.
One study by Bain & Company found that improving retention by just 5% can increase overall profits by 25-95%. For coworking operators, adopting strategies that are known to bolster retention can drastically impact revenue, starting with excellent customer service.
Nowadays, customer service at coworking spaces is an expectation, not a differentiator. This means that customer service must go above and beyond industry standards so that members feel supported and cared for, which will engender loyalty in due time.
According to the CEO and founder of OnePiece Work, Vickey Li, the key to providing great customer service is to establish open communication with each member, listen to their feedback, and make adjustments that cater to their specific needs.
Along with strong communication, operators that are focused on retention should possess three characteristics: resourcefulness, resilience, and responsiveness.
Since the core of coworking is flexibility, members will expect a variety of tools, services, and options that they can utilize at their disposal. Being resourceful and finding ways to create the most value for members is very important to retention.
“To ensure worker safety, flexible office space providers must assume the responsibility of directing resources to members,” says Li. “This may involve providing resources at multiple, convenient locations, making it easy for members to get what they need.”
Additionally, operators should work closely with workspace management professionals to implement proven methods for maintaining a safe, healthy work environment. This is especially critical for modern workforces, as members will want to see that operators have taken the extra steps to ensure safety and comfortability.
While evaluating members’ changing needs, coworking operators should also show resilience in adapting to those changes. Providing up-to-date training for onsite staff is a great way to make sure that customer service never falls behind.
“In our offices, we’ve invested in our employees through strategic training,” says Li of OnePiece Work. “Training our employees on how to prepare and effectively deal with the crisis gives them the capability to succeed in difficult circumstances. When our employee base is strengthened through education, it benefits the entire organization.”
Demonstrating resiliency and a willingness to adjust to new challenges will show your members that you are prioritizing their needs, which will boost retention.
The third quality that can generate customer loyalty is being responsive to the obstacles faced by members.
“Caring for members by lending support and helpful resources is essential for businesses in the current workspace environment,” says Li. “Flexible office space providers today must also offer an array of options in the workspace, such as multiple meeting rooms, mental health support, and specialized office services, to ensure that members can complete their best work.”
Responsiveness is essential to excelling at customer service, as members will observe your compassion and even enthusiasm to assist them in any problems they’re hoping to solve. Operators that embody a responsive and reactive approach will be able to create stronger relationships with members — resulting in long-term loyalty.
Sustaining high retention rates is essential in today’s shared office environment, which is both increasingly competitive and presently facing new challenges brought on by COVID-19. With more long-term members, operators can take advantage of referrals and establish a dynamic community culture with lower overall management costs.