Doable actions to keep your members returning month after month

For coworking and flexible space operators, a high customer retention rate is a key metric for a successful space. It’s no secret that for coworking spaces, it’s all about relationships, and no relationship is more important than the one you create with your members. Studies and statistics from across the industry show that it’s easier and more profitable to keep a member than it is to acquire new members, and only a 5% increase in customer retention can increase company revenue by 25-95%. So, it is crucial that part of your business strategy focuses on member retention and building out meaningful relationships with current members in order to continue to serve them and meet their needs.

Check out this resource on how to calculate your own customer retention rate.

Attracting new customers for your coworking space requires spending money—often a lot of money—in order to see results. Spending money on advertisements and marketing campaigns and even offering free days and trials for prospective members are likely parts of your business, but those strategies are just pieces of a larger puzzle.

Retaining members you’ve worked hard to attract to your business takes more than just providing unlimited coffee (but the coffee won’t hurt!). Here are five simple strategies you can follow to boost member retention and increase the profitability of your business.


Get specific and differentiate your brand

You know how some people like salty treats and some like sweet? Well, not every coworking space is meant for every person. It’s important to tailor your coworking or flexible workspace for the types of customers who already love what your business represents. That common denominator will go a long way in building a strong, lasting community.

Take a look at your churned customers to see if they share any similar characteristics with regard to budget, industry or team and company size, and analyze the types of members you already have retained. When you have figured out who your space serves well and who it doesn’t, you’re able to more effectively create tailored messaging and content to attract the specific clientele who will love your space and want to stay for the long term.

As Kevin Whelan writes in his blog, Everspaces, “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.”


Listen and stay focused on your members

Keep your finger on the pulse

Coworking and flexible workspaces are all about community, so it’s crucial to avoid getting stuck operating within a vacuum or making decisions that don’t keep members at the forefront of your thinking and reasoning. It’s simple, but talk to your members regularly by creating transparent and open lines of communication.

Send out surveys to find the ground truth of how the member experience is at your space. People don’t always know what they want, but by polling them about current offerings you can get closer to tailored solutions that will continue to drive your business. Topics could include inquiring about members’ productivity at the space and if noise levels are adequate, and surveying about privacy options and whether there are enough phone booths, conference rooms or other resources to meet their needs. If you are holding events at your space, you can ask members about whether event programming occurs at preferred times, if they prefer networking-focused events or ones that simply build community and in general, if programming feels tailored to their wants. Find out if members are comfortable with space safety and cleaning protocols and any adopted policies as a result of the COVID-19.

One aspect of surveying that you could incorporate is to solicit feedback using a Net Promoter Score survey, which is a market research metric that generally uses a single question asking customers to rate the likelihood they would recommend your business to a friend, business partner or colleague. Check out Delighted, SurveyMonkey, and other Net Promoter Score survey tools to keep your finger on the pulse of the community you’ve created.


Adopt a members-first content strategy

There’s no better way to share the value proposition of your coworking or flexible workspace than by bragging about the people who comprise your community. Highlight members on your social media channels and blog while also promoting their own businesses through engagement with their accounts. Create a “members-first” approach by sharing members’ stories with your larger community in order to inspire and motivate others.


Take the lead on forming connections and creating value

At every turn, you should be thinking about ways to increase the loyalty of your current customers, and that starts with you. Brainstorm about freebies, giveaways or discounted pricing to members who have been with your business for defined periods of time. It’s important to show your members you appreciate them, so make it personal. Get to know your members and be direct about asking them how their needs can be better served.

Looking for some inspiration on how focusing on current customers can increase retention and create loyalty? Watch Steven van Belleghem’s TED Talk, “What if customers became friends?”


Set expectations

It’s important to set clear expectations with your customers from the beginning in order for them to stay satisfied throughout the length of your relationship with them. If they aren’t clear on what to expect from your coworking or flexible space, they might believe that you can deliver on certain amenities or space features that might not be aligned with reality. It’s important to communicate early and frequently about changes or impacts to your members to ensure their expectations are met from the start. With a variety of customers likely using your spaces, it’s critical to understand the different points of view members within your space might have on what’s important to them.

Make sure members feel equipped to handle the basics at your space. Reinforce any in-person space walkthroughs you might have facilitated by providing follow up information and resources on how to make reservations, information about billing and when they’ll be charged each month, policies for call and meeting etiquette, how to update or change membership levels and what space policies are for bringing or inviting guests to the space. Check in with new members at the end of their first thirty days so you can address any questions or concerns they might have and everyone remains on the same page.


Keep communication consistent

Empower your customers through communication by giving them the pertinent information members need to know about your spaces. By crafting email campaigns and newsletters that provide social content previews, member spotlights and connections as well as information about any events or changes to the physical workspace, members will feel like they are both the center of attention as well as informed about everything going on.

Being welcomed into a new space can sometimes feel intimidating for members, so make sure you have touchpoints with your customers well past their initial onboarding. Through a series of follow-up emails, you could communicate additional highlights about space features or benefits available to members within your coworking or flexible workspace. This way, they’ll be less likely to forget what’s available and more likely to use their membership to their full advantage.


Don’t forget to sharpen your axe

Last but certainly not least, take care of yourself, and take care of your employees. In a service-driven industry, it’s easy for space managers and operators to want to charge full steam ahead, but that can’t come at the expense of your company or team’s own growth and development.

A woodcutter was once hired to fell as much timber as he could for his boss.

The first day, the woodcutter got right to work and chopped down 20 trees without stopping. The boss was happy and told him to continue.

The second day, the woodcutter, determined to match the success of the first day, started out at an even faster pace but only chopped down 15 trees. The boss said to keep on.

The third day, the woodcutter was extremely frustrated. He skipped his morning coffee in order to get a head start on the day, but by sundown, he only chopped down 10 trees.

“I must not be as strong as I thought,” said the woodcutter to his boss.

“When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” asked the boss.

“Well, I’ve had no time, you see,” said the woodcutter.

The boss said he was sorry to have to let him go, but informed the woodcutter things weren’t working out. He’d have to hire a new woodcutter for the job.

Of course, most coworking space owners and operators aren’t exactly chopping down trees to build new desks for their members (we think, anyway!), but the metaphor remains. In order to take care of customers, you have to take care of yourself and your teams.

Make time to listen to podcasts, audiobooks, meditation apps or any way you like to recharge in order to build mindfulness throughout the workday. If your team is in need of a motivational refresh, watch Simon Sinek’s video “How great leaders inspire action. When teams can define why they exist and who they exist for, success naturally follows. Ensuring your team has a clear, compelling purpose and vision will create a cohesive foundation that will extend to your space. When individual team members feel refreshed, recharged and united, it will only increase the ability of the whole team collective to better serve your members.


The Proximity Platform

Proximity is the workspace management platform that helps you connect people and places and makes daily operations easier for you and your members. Proximity software helps you automate membership management, reservations, billing, Wi-Fi control, digital door access, guest management and more via a single solution. View Proximity features to learn more about streamlined management for your flexible space or schedule a demo with our team.