It’s common knowledge that it takes much less time, effort, and money to keep existing customers than it does to attract new ones. This mantra is no different for coworking spaces, which are particularly dependent on meaningful customer relationships to thrive.
If you’re like most coworking space managers, you’ve already worked hard to promote your coworking space and grow membership levels. Keeping the members you’ve already worked so hard to recruit deserves just as much investment as your initial marketing efforts.
Keeping your members satisfied with your coworking space can sometimes feel more art than science. But if you follow these basic steps, you’ll be well on your way to sustaining member happiness and maxing out membership lengths.
Focus on the Basics
Ryan Chatterton founded website Coworking Insights to share his experience working in various co-working spaces and helping to found a few of his own.
In his post on the factors that cause coworking members to quit, he notes that keeping members happy requires focusing first on their basic needs — and spending less time on unrelated details like quirky amenities and other bells and whistles.
These are your coworking members basic needs, according to Chatterton, along with the percentage of your attention they deserve:
- Productivity and Comfort (40%) – Members should have the appropriate space and resources to get their work done effectively and without interruption.
- Professional and social connectivity (30%) – Planned introductions, networking events, and a comprehensive member database can help members connect more easily.
- Inspiration (20%) – Eye-catching art, interesting decor, and events featuring thought leaders keep members inspired to show up to work, and happy with their membership.
- Flexibility (10%) – Allowing members the flexibility to do things like cancel their memberships easily and occasionally bring their friends and colleagues helps them feel more comfortable and valued as a member.
Chatterton advises the owners of coworking spaces to make sure that every single one of their expenses, amenities, and efforts directly support one of these four base needs.
Of course, the exact things your members need to be productive, comfortable, and inspired will vary based on the type of member you’re trying to attract. That’s why the next point is so important.
Adjust Your Messaging to Appeal to the Right People
As we covered in our post 4 Ideas for Attracting New Members to Your Coworking Space, building a profile of the kind of members you’d like to attract will usually lead to a more engaged membership.
Although this article focuses on retaining existing members, not recruiting new ones, your members will likely be happier long-term if they have a clear of what to expect out of their membership from the very beginning. This requires drilling down to what makes your space unique for the specific group of people you want to reach.
As coworking space consultant Kevin Whelan writes in his Everspaces blog, your coworking space couldn’t possibly be “for everyone.” Specializing in your experience will help you distinguish your space in the crowded market of coworking. For some coworking spaces, that might mean focusing on a specific industry. For others, it might be choosing to cater to solo freelancers or entrepreneurs.
To help build your ideal member profile, Whelan advises staying alert to trends around the members that stay—and leave. Then, you can focus your space’s messaging towards those who tend to stick around. He writes:
“When you focus on a specific group (the type of members who love your workspace already), your website copy becomes far more clear and resonates with that group. Your workspace will ‘feel like the right choice’ because ‘people like me choose a workspace like this.’”
When members feel like they’re surrounded by a community of people who have similar needs and challenges, they will feel more at home and are more likely to stay for the long term.
Stay in Touch With Members and Solicit Feedback Regularly
It’s tough to make members happy if you don’t have your finger on the pulse of their coworking wants and needs. Those can also change over time as the market changes and your membership evolves.
Collecting relevant, up-to-date insight into what your members want isn’t complicated. It simply requires staying in touch with members personally.But getting relevant, up-to-date insight into what members want isn’t complicated. It simply requires staying in touch with members personally. #receptionistapp Click To Tweet
Tony Bacigalupo is the founder of multiple coworking organizations and author of coworking book “No More Sink Full of Mugs: Lighten Your Workload, Increase Participation, and Build Better Culture in Your Coworking Space.” Interviewed in this blog post, he has the following advice on keeping tabs on members:
“Ask people a lot about themselves—what’s going on for them, what their needs are. You can be a little vulnerable, a little upfront, and say, ‘We’re here to be valuable to folks like you. For us to exist, we need to be doing a great job of giving you every reason to want to continue to be a member here. That means helping you be happy, helping you be successful, helping you be excited to be here. What do you wish we would do to make you really excited to be here?’”
Kevin Whelan also suggests improving your onboarding experience to more consistently communicate with new members in the early stages of membership, when they may feel the most out-of-place. Try out a series of drip emails to check in with new members periodically and spread out all of your new member info so it’s less overwhelming.
You should also make sure that the community manager personally checks in with new members, introduces them to other members, and announces their membership to the rest of the group (with their permission).
Beyond personal check-ins and conversations, there are also more formal systems and tools to collect feedback. These tools can be especially helpful for larger spaces with more members.
Net Promoter Score is a popular option for many spaces (related post: How to Get the Most Out of Your Net Promoter Score).
Anytime you make an official attempt to collect feedback, make sure to then let your members know what you found out and what you plan to do about it. This holds you accountable and helps members feel like they’re truly in the loop.
Try to make any easy suggested changes right away to assure members that you’re serious about their feedback and working to protect their interests.
More articles for coworking managers and professionals:
- Spotlight on Cultivated Synergy, a coworking space for cannabis-related businesses
- [Podcast] Spotlight on Nexis Wellness, a coworking space for medical and wellness professionals
- 21 Event Ideas for Coworking Spaces
- Personalized Workspace Design: What it is and Why Employees Love it
Finally, to learn more about how coworking spaces are using modern, tablet-based visitor check-in systems to check in and track their visitors, head over to our site: The Receptionist for Coworking Spaces.
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