Flex space owners and coworking leaders have a lot on their plates, and without a doubt, ensuring a high retention rate is one of their top priorities at all times. After all, retention is the key to long-term brand growth and financial stability, though acquisition should always remain a priority as well. But that’s not what we are here to talk about today.
No, we are here to talk about brand loyalty and how to nurture lifetime customers. This is very different from mere retention because long-term customers might not necessarily be loyal customers, which reduces their lifetime value, among other things.
Flex space members that aren’t particularly invested in your brand are much more likely to churn, and they aren’t likely to drive your social proof and word of mouth forward. But a loyal customer is.
With all of that in mind, here are the tried-and-true tactics you should start using right now to boost brand loyalty for your coworking space and capitalize on lifetime customers.
A brand ambassador is someone who embodies the company culture and represents and portrays the brand in the best possible light, both internally and externally. We are not talking about influencers here, mind you, because influencers don’t have to embody your brand — they simply have to advocate for it.
Ambassadors are different, and they are typically people hired specifically to fill that role. That said, brand ambassadors can also be your existing employees as well as loyal customers and members. Whoever they are, your brand ambassadors need to be able to convey your unique brand message to the world, as well as nurture and support your brand in-house to elevate the experience of your members.
With dedicated brand ambassadors, you will cause a unique culture and brand experience to permeate the space. In time, this will inspire and incentivize your members to start advocating for your brand and become brand ambassadors themselves.
If you want to retain members and turn them into lifetime, loyal customers that will give back to your brand, then you have to provide valuable experiences. In other words, building a loyal community demands an investment on your part, and that means providing valuable materials, products, and experiences at every turn.
The key is to build and nurture a community around education, helping professionals advance their skills, interests, networks, and more. The more consistent value you bring, the more invested people will be in your brand. Being consistent should also be your priority because you want people to expect and anticipate new and exciting campaigns and activities at your flex space.
Consider the following strategies:
You can announce these events in a shared calendar and send email notifications. Your presenters can use everything from a PowerPoint template to video snippets and infographics to ensure people stay engaged in your webinars and on-site presentations and conferences.
The point is to keep bringing people together, online and offline, to nurture a brand identity that truly cares about the members.
One of the best ways to nurture lifetime members and maximize their value is to, of course, do things better than your competitors. You should always invest in staying ahead of the competition, but when it comes to brand loyalty and CLV (customer lifetime value), outshining your competitors can be the determining factor. Therefore, researching and analyzing your competition will set you on the path to staying ahead.
Competitive analysis is also not a set-it-and-forget-it type of deal, as you need to continuously analyze your top competitors to discover what they’re doing right and where they’re underdelivering. Both data points will be instrumental in improving, optimizing, and maximizing your brand experience, loyalty, and value.
For example, by simply analyzing competitors’ websites, you can figure out your own website development cost for optimization and revitalization, making sure to invest financial resources in the right areas. In this scenario, you’ll need to not only identify the visual, branding, and UX aspects that work best, but also to use their shortcomings to create a better, more optimized website experience for your members.
You can apply this approach and logic to all online and offline aspects of your brand, using competitor analysis to increase your brand’s value and stay ahead of the game.
Nothing drives loyalty and camaraderie like a common cause. Getting people to believe in something together and work towards a common goal or purpose inspires loyalty and trust, both within your community and from a brand-member perspective.
Luckily, you can always find a good cause to involve your coworking community in. Again, you’ll need to be proactive — put time and effort into spreading awareness, notifying members, and making it easy for them to get involved.
You could choose a fitness cause, for example, organizing a race or an event where entrants perform a list of exercises together. Not only would participants have a good time, but more importantly, they would raise money and awareness for a specific charity. And don’t stop at simply getting the event on your calendar.
To be truly successful, take the lead and organize the event through and through. Provide the necessary amenities and equipment, have a concrete program and format, and have people on-site who will coordinate and keep things running smoothly.
Apply this principle to any type of cause and event, and you will have a much easier time involving your members. The more organized you get, and the easier you make it for people to participate, the more engaged and loyal they’ll become over time. Remember, you can’t expect loyalty to form from a single charity event — you have to show people that you truly care, and that requires consistency.
There is a big difference between customer service and customer support, but you need to excel at both to build meaningful relationships and loyal coworking members. Sure, customer service is about supporting the customer, but it’s also about portraying the brand in the best possible light and ensuring a stellar brand experience. Especially if you're in the B2B sector, building a branded client portal can help resolve a lot of customer communication issues and improve relationships with your brand.
Experienced business leaders know that good customer service builds retention and loyalty, and to provide it, you need a mix of skilled experts and AI-driven tools for automation. On the automation side, you can use chatbot marketing and customer service to create an amazing self-help hub where people can find the answers to their questions quickly.
This will take a lot of the pressure off your human staff. On the other hand, you also need dedicated customer success specialists to handle complex issues and nurture relationships with members.
Your customer service experts will reach out to members regularly to check in, to see if they can help them in any way, and also to open cross-sell and up-sell opportunities to maximize their CLV.
In the long run, you will only be able to maintain a high retention rate and boost brand loyalty if you make data-driven decisions. This means collecting, collating, and acting on key data points to optimize the customer experience across the board — online and on-site.
Luckily, there are comprehensive, dedicated tools you can use to track everything from occupancy to performance and space utilization, member satisfaction, sentiment, and much more. You need to combine and visualize all these data points to create actionable reports for every department.
That said, simply creating comprehensive reports is not enough. You also need to create an internal culture that thrives on taking action immediately and taking small, incremental steps forward every day.
This internal culture will quickly start permeating your coworking space, and your members will start taking note of all your hard work, dedication, and appreciation for your patrons. This way, you’ll not only improve the overall brand experience, but you will create a brand-wide culture of continuous movement and progress, for which you’ll become recognized and known in the industry.
The bottom line: leverage data, work on your internal culture and use both to drive brand loyalty and your on-site culture among your members.
Business leaders in the coworking sector need to brainstorm new ideas continuously, not only to retain members but to elevate their experience and turn them into lifelong brand advocates. This proactive approach sets the leading brands apart from the rest in this hyper-competitive market, and it will future-proof your business in the ever-changing professional landscape.
The way people work, network, and lead a balanced professional and personal life is always changing, and you need to be at the forefront of that change to provide everything they need to thrive in your coworking space. Use these tips to achieve all of this and much more in the years to come.
The article was written by Ciara Byrnes. Ciara spends most of her time reporting on digital marketing for an over-stressed audience of marketers and business owners trying to keep up with the fast pace of change. To center herself, she has become a wellness enthusiast, reaching "highs" like morning yoga on the porch of her family's summer lake cabin to "lows" like failing to convince herself that wheatgrass is actually yummy.