- GCUC’s latest online event focused on member re-entry and attracting people back to flexible workspaces.
- Most U.S. flexible workspace operators don’t expect an influx of people until around fall of this year.
- One key thing to keep in mind in order to attract people back is to ensure that your brand’s messaging reflects customers’ current priorities.
In January, GCUC held the first of a five-part regional series of online events focusing on member re-entry and attracting people to (or back to) flexible workspaces.
Liz Elam, founder of GCUC, notes that ‘re-entry’ refers to “the flood of people that are going to be coming your way soon.”
How soon is “soon”?
A snap GCUC poll conducted during the webinar suggested that most operators in the U.S. don’t expect an influx of people until around fall 2021. By that time, most people should have received a vaccination and will be both physically and mentally ready to head back to the workplace.
On the plus side, that gives workspace operators time to plan and prepare for the influx.
The panel featured:
- KC Cox – Liquidspace
- James Chapman – Plain Sight
- Megan Kaye Marti – Common Desk
- Liz Elam – GCUC
Here are some of the highlights from the event.
- Employees are actively seeking out space… with or without their employers. KC Cox from Liquidspace noted that some employees have signed up to local spaces through Liquidspace on their own initiative because “they need a place to work, and working from home just isn’t working all the time.” Long-term, with expectations that a hybrid work model is here to stay, more and more companies are turning to flexible space for those solutions, which is driven in large part by their employees.
- Double down and figure it out. James Chapman from Plain Sight said that when the pandemic started, they had two choices: “Shut down, or figure it out. There was no in-between for us.” Chapman and his team decided to figure it out, and realised that if you really listen and get a good understanding of what your customers need, and figure things out together, you can find your sweet spot. “Double down in that sweet spot. There are tremendous opportunities out there.”
- Re-evaluate your messaging. Megan Kaye Marti from Common Desk iterated the importance of evaluating every piece of your messaging to ensure it reflects your customers’ current priorities. Right now, that priority is health and safety. “Everyone who is looking at you as a potential solution, they want to know that you’re safe and speaking their language.” Assess all of your messaging, re-iterate your procedures, and instil confidence by showing that you understand their pain points. “Don’t forget the human element. Weave empathy into your messaging as much as possible.”
- Be intentional. For Chapman, when you’re searching for solutions, you must be intentional. “The answer is not going to be blatant. You’re going to have to dig in. Keep an open mind — it’s a new world right now, ask yourself, what can we do to adjust and adapt and thrive? We still have time to understand what opportunities are out there. Pull on those threads.”
- Put the word around. “Word of mouth is so, so critical,” said Elam. “Ask members for referrals, ask if they have friends working at home who might want to come in. The worst they will say is ‘no’.”
- Treasure your leads. Marti notes that any point of contact you make should be treasured. “Try to maintain a similar cadence and familiarity. Even if a member has to cancel, we’re willing to flex with people we really want to keep. Acts of service speak more to our brand and help retain people.”
- Invest in relationships. It’s important to invest in your relationships, even with those you no longer work with or who have cancelled memberships. Build a sense of trust and value, be helpful, and connect people. According to Cox, Liquidspace does that by providing a lot of content – 400% more than last year – to add value and be as helpful as possible. “Be ready for the influx. If you’re not, and you don’t have those relationships, someone else will take it.”
- Work on your storytelling. Chapman notes that storytelling is a great and organic way to relate to people. “It shows how we fit in with their life. Everyone is searching for answers right now – put out content on your platform, show that you’re an industry leader, and people will listen.”
- Consider non-traditional marketing platforms. Ever tried Craigslist? According to Marti, it’s just $5 per month for an ad and it can be a useful way to get extra leads. “It’s a first for us. It’s part of the ‘be everywhere’ approach.” They’re also revisiting print marketing with QR codes for “eyeball awareness”. Different platforms work for different companies and locations, so it’s important to evaluate their effectiveness carefully. “Position yourself on the right platform that gives you the biggest bang for your buck, and the most leads for your budget.”