Coworking space software is one of the powerful instruments that help to
build community. Of course, I am talking only about technologies focused on your customers that offer mobile apps for members.
There is no lack of workspace management systems in the market. Some of them promise to be really useful. However, many coworking operators face member activation issues.
Members tend to postpone the moment of coworking space app download. Their objections may be different. Some say they are too busy, some forget about your app all the time, some don't want to download one more app on their phones, and others are terrified by the learning curve. If your members don't even bother to download your app, there is no sense to talk about engagement.
This article is aimed to change the situation. Advanced technology and an active community are essential components of a strong coworking brand, so I encourage you to work out a strategy that will help you boost member activation and engagement rates. I believe that this publication will become a good starting point for this.
It will be much easier for you to show members the value of a coworking app if the software is really worthy. That's why it's critical to make the right choice from the start.
Here are a few tips that will help you:
Choose coworking software developed from a member’s perspective. Not just a set of tools for administrators. The systems are not the same. They are developed for different audiences even if vendors try to feed you a one-size-fits-all fairy tale. If the software is packed with built-in features for administrators (CRM, accounting, etc.) and mobile apps for members are a by-product, it is targeted at managers and you will hardly ever reach satisfactory activation and engagement rates. These apps (if they are available at all) are poorly designed, poorly developed, and rarely updated. It's quite another ball game when members' apps are the primary product of the developer. They are thought to detail and comply with all best practices of user experience, which makes their adoption a piece of cake.
Author's note: Coworking software focused on members will also give you a set of solutions for administrators. Vendors usually offer a bunch of built-in tools (billing, desk and room booking, etc.) and plenty of integrations with best-of-breed service providers (i.e.: Kisi for door open, Stripe for payments, HubSpot for CRM, MDM Tool for device management, etc.). This way you will get the best from both worlds: cutting-edge apps for paying customers and usable solutions for administrators.
Prioritize solutions over features. Choosing a coworking app, you mustn't be dazzled by the overwhelming variety of features. A feature does not equal a solution. Be wise and ask yourself all the time: "Is it a feature or a solution? What particular problem can it solve for residents or administrators?"
The simpler, the better. Apps for members must be fool-proof. Their design and functionality must be intuitive and familiar. It's really cool when a developer uses native design and Google guidelines. This makes the app usable right out of the box, without any additional training.
Opt for fancy apps. Modern users are very picky about the software they use. They have dozens of apps already installed on their phones. There is no problem for them to install your coworking app as well but it should make their life easier and contribute to their cool image. For instance, dark interfaces are trendy today. Skype, Messenger, WhatsApp, and others have black interfaces, and what about your coworking app? As far as I know, andcards is the only coworking space app that features a stylish dark UI.
Now, when you have your initial portion of tips on how to choose an app for your coworking space, we can move on. The next step is to encourage members to download it.
Invite new members to download your workspace app. Start building relationships with new members from day one. Place information about your coworking app on-site together with other perks and services. Describe the process of sign up and onboarding and highlight application download among the initial steps. Send an automated invitation to download your coworking space app immediately after sign up. A new member should understand that as soon as they download the technology, their exciting experience at your workspace begins as they get access to the community newsfeed, services, perks, bookings, in a word, everything you have to offer.
Resend invitation emails. If a member didn't accept the first invitation, send it again. andcards offers this option on uninvited user profiles.
Offer rewards. Supposing you decided to transition to a new system or maybe you introduce a new platform and need to combat members' resistance. Create some incentives available only for coworking space app users. For instance: + X meeting room booking credits at activation, payments with a Bill (use now - pay later), and so on.
Educate your members. You are probably running a corporate blog, newsfeed, social media accounts, maybe a YouTube channel, and an email newsletter. Educate your members through all available channels. Tell them about the cool features of your app, how can it simplify their lives, how can it help to use membership perks to the fullest, how will it save their time, add convenience, etc. Don't forget about clear download instructions, links, and call-to-actions.
Pro tip: Send a newsletter to communicate to your customers the capabilities of apps (booking, Stream, benefits) to generate awareness. This is great as a regular measure. For example, you can mention recently added benefits or recent Stream post review to give users a glimpse of what they're missing out.
Include apps into work playbooks for receptionists. If users request a booking or ask a question at the reception, the administrator can politely remind users to use the apps next time.
To remind of the app offline, print a small poster demonstrating the app and its features, and place it around the space (inside rooms, in restroom cabins, reception area). You can also place some visuals with instructions and reminders (maybe even jokes) to download your coworking app.
Organize an app launch event. Arranging a party for your community is one of the best ways to make members download your app and start using it. Demonstrate members how cool is your app and how much simpler and better it makes their lives. Make sure to include the fun part with contests and prizes for the first X people who download the app (book a meeting room/desk, etc.)
Start using in-app Stream as a communication channel for important news, events (event ideas), and announcements. This is a very effective tool to boost app engagement because it plays on a fear of missing out on something important.
Add more benefits to the app. I also recommend using a CTA button on coworking space benefits — it increases application rates because it gives a clear and familiar button to press.
Activate the Shop page — you can use it as a virtual catalog of all additional products you offer. For example, merch, branded stuff, office necessities, food, and alcohol. If you consolidate all your product applications through this page, it'll create an additional driving force for users to have the apps.
Now, when all your members have your workspace app on their phones, you are only halfway there. Now your goal is to make them use it. Successful digital adoption means that you have changed consumers' behavior.
A few tips on how to make a coworking app part of members' regular routine (improve members' engagement.)
Interact with members via community feed. A stream inside your coworking app is a brilliant instrument to build community and improve members' engagement. You can efficiently convey messages to customers and gather their feedback at once. Members can like and comment on your posts and share their thoughts, ideas, and pics as well. It's a great place to communicate with members, tell about updates, news, events, and more. Set up push notifications to remind super busy and less-active members to check out missed messages in a corporate channel.
Change members' behavior. If your members got used to booking meeting rooms by coming to the reception or calling a community manager, ask them to make reservations through the app. As soon as they discover a simpler and more convenient way to book a room, apply for a benefit, or a discounted service, they will change their behavior forever.
Create benefit and product catalogs. Nothing is more attractive than freebies and discounts. Present them beautifully in the benefits catalog and Shop that are easy to discover through the coworking app. Refresh those catalogs regularly, add new goodies, notify clients about updates, and members will frequently come to check out what's new.
Inform members about app features. Your coworking app develops with your community and workspace. It acquires new custom features according to the unique requirements of your community. Announce them in your newsletters and other channels, and teach members how to use those features to their benefit. This will improve members' experience with your software and remind them how useful it is as well.
When you put so much effort into activation and engagement with your coworking space app, you surely want to track the results. In this section, we will talk about how to measure community engagement with workspace software.
First of all, let's figure out what is community engagement because it's impossible to measure success if you are unclear about the definition.
In our case, community engagement is the level of user involvement with a coworking space app. Member engagement refers to the frequency, intensity, and depth of interaction between a user and an app over a given period of time. Community engagement is an unbiased behavioral metric, which makes it trustworthy, valid, and reliable.
You need to measure community engagement (behavior) toward a coworking space app because it is revealing how much the software is meeting members' needs and how much are they hooked into using it.
Do you remember how we talked about software activation at the beginning of this post? Great, the first metric you want to measure is the Activation or Adoption Rate.
The adoption rate is the percentage of new users of your app. The formula for calculating the adoption rate is as follows: Adoption rate = number of new users / total number of users. The adoption rate should be calculated for a specific time period (a month, a quarter, a year.)
After the stage of adoption goes the stage of engagement, which can be measured in MAU (monthly active users), Key Actions per User, and Feature Breakdown.
Monthly active users (MAU) is a key performance indicator (KPI) to count the number of unique users who interact with the app during a particular month.
Key Actions per User is the average number of key actions a user is performing with the app. For example, it can show you how many times a member booked a meeting room last month, applied for a benefit, or purchased a product. You don't need to measure every small action performed by members. This monitoring makes sense only if you focus on actions that are core to the experience.
Feature Breakdown is a metric that shows how many times this or that feature is used over a certain period of time. It helps to identify which features are most popular and which are underused by members. The analysis is very useful as this way you will get to know where to direct your attention and how to cater exactly to members' needs.
And the last metric is Members Satisfaction.
Members Satisfaction is the percentage of users who indicated they are happy, satisfied, or delighted with a feature, product, or service. When calculating the results, you can give a happy rating - 1 point, an undecided rating - 1/2 point, and an unhappy rating - 0 points. This way, if you have 100 members and 60 of them said they are happy, 20 - unhappy, and 20 - undecided, then your satisfaction rate is 60x1 + 20x0 + 20x0,5 = 70
Using coworking software is a requirement of our time. If you choose the right one, it will become a powerful tool for building community and improving member experience. However, it's not enough to have an app. The fact won't change the way your members interact with your coworking space just like buying a fitness tracker won't make your body shaped.
You need to educate your members on this piece of technology, make it a part of their onboarding experience, and boost their engagement with it. Implement the tactics listed above to improve member activation and engagement with the coworking app and very soon your residents will start to enjoy the benefits of a digitally powered shared workspace.