The Lab on Dexter is a growth and innovation ecosystem located on one of the most historically significant streets in America – Dexter Avenue. It welcomes learning entrepreneurs and business professionals who are looking to network.
The Lab is more than just a coworking space. It is a vibrant community that bridges small businesses and technology. They focus on bringing in small companies and startups and coupling them with technology gurus such as developers and designers. Such matchmaking allows starters grow faster with the help of technology.
Our space is a little bit more than just a co-working space. It is a community that bridges small businesses and technology. We focus on bringing in startups and people with ideas into the Lab and introducing them to technology companies such as app developers, website IT, cyberspace, and cybersecurity teams. Pulling those together, we let small business owners that generally have a phobia of technology start using it to their benefit. —Kenneth Penn from The Lab on Dexter here and below unless otherwise stated.
The Lab was looking to power up the onboarding process for new members with technology. Previously, it looked like this. A customer got to know about The Lab somewhere on the web or from one of the current members and had to call or message the manager to sign up. Then, the manager had to register the new member in all their records and payment systems and send an invoice using QuickBooks. Members paid it with a cheque, which the administrator had to deposit into the bank.
It took plenty of managers’ hours and tied them to the desk, which made neither members nor administrators happy.
The onboarding process was quite manual. It took managers' time and we were not happy with it at all. It required me to be at The Lab all the time. Things became even hairier when it came to charging new members. We sent them invoices using QuickBooks and then I had to write a check and deposit it into the bank. I did not like doing that. The payment platform inside andcards app has definitely improved that process.
The Lab needed to put some structure into room and desk bookings. They wanted to automate them and limit access to certain amenities. For instance, only members who work on the second floor can book a meeting room there. Such kind of membership level customization was very difficult to maintain manually. What’s more, not every workspace management software could support this sort of flexibility.
I've looked at other coworking platforms around and either they were very expensive or they just wouldn't meet the needs of what we needed to have done. They weren’t as customizable as what I saw with andcards.
Since The Lab on Dexter became andcards customer quite recently, a couple of months ago, we will focus our further narration on the onboarding training and implementation of the software along with Kenneth’s first impressions and quick results.
Starting to use new software with a multitude of features is always a kind of stress even for a tech-savvy person. So, it was quite normal that Kenneth felt skeptical about the onboarding training with andcards, all the more, he is not a technical guy as he describes himself.
Being a customer-centric company, andcards entirely understands such kind of concerns and does everything possible to put the client at ease. We provide a personal account manager and unlimited support hours for free no matter the plan you choose.
The app is exceeding our expectations!! I really wanted to reach out to let you know that Anastasia has been WONDERFUL in assisting me in onboarding the app and her quick response and clear instructions have made someone like myself (a non-Tech person) feel at ease in onboarding and pulling it together. She has sent me very helpful articles and is so patient when my questions are probably very elementary.
In Kenneth’s case, it was Anastasia, who guided him through the entire setup process very quickly and efficiently. Here’s what Kenneth says about his experience.
At first, the onboarding process for me seemed very hairy because I'm not a technical person. Basically, I can use Excel and computer programs but surrey not build out the platform for ourselves. I was apprehensive about it, but just to be honest, Anastasia made me feel like I was a tech guru. So she made the process very, very simple. She was very efficient and quick on the responses when I would send quick emails. She always offered to help and also offered recommendations. It was almost as if she knew exactly what my problem was going to be before I even faced it. Once I started working on our platform, she would remind me about things that I may have forgotten to do. Some questions seemed silly to me. But she didn't make them seem silly. She just explained exactly how I need to do it. The onboarding process was a lot faster than I thought because we both worked on it and got to the end. I can even say it was remarkably easy.
We have already mentioned that the onboarding process at andcards was much faster than Kenneth could imagine. But how long did it take exactly to set up The Lab on Dexter app? To invite members, assign membership plans, customize membership levels, automate billing, and start to engage with customers through the newsfeed and events.
Here is our chronology:
The Lab was already up and running when they purchased andcards. Obviously, they wanted to start using the app as soon as possible. The space had members so far and was extremely happy to invite them all at once in the app using andcards mass invite feature.
Customizing membership levels was also a piece of cake. Kenneth used andcards “Limited Access” feature to allow particular companies to book certain meeting rooms.
In total, the entire workspace management system setup took Kenneth only 6 hours. Here’s what he says about the process.
It’s hard to say how many hours the process took me because I bounced in and out due to my other responsibilities. It was definitely less than a week, I probably worked on it maybe a couple of hours a day here and there. So I'd say in total it may have taken me about 5-6 hours total tops with pictures and figuring out how to structure the plans. And a lot of it was me because our system was kind of weird. I had to figure out how to customize our plans because we do have some people with different needs. We were able to go live prior to the point where I thought we would.
Speaking about coworking software, not only quick system setup matters. It’s also determining how much time members and managers need to adopt the app. In the case of The Lab - andcards cooperation, customers required zero training to start using the app and even the most skeptical administrators were able to automate their routines and see the benefits of software implementation after one quick training from Kenneth.
At first, some team members were apprehensive about it. So I had to do a quick little class with them on how andcards works. Now they understand why I was pushing very hard to get that.
So far administrators of the Lab didn’t get a single inquiry for assistance with the app from members. Even not tech people easily log in and navigate through a simple menu. They book rooms and desks, make payments, join events, read news in the feed without any assistance, which not only saves administrators time but makes customers happy with workspace service.
I haven't gotten any calls because it's so simple. Members just log in and go from there. The interface is pretty simple even for non-tech people. They easily make payments, see the events, and Stream conversations on the screen. They're loving it.
Managers also find the platform intuitive. They bill members and collect payments automatically, manage events on the fly, and track workspace growth through the analytics page.
I basically just add the events and then one of our assistants handles the rest. We put the bill out there and members just pay it right in the app. Administrators can easily see who hasn't paid and who has. Also, our team finds analytics very advantageous. They can see the numbers and monitor our growth. All those tools we use are very intuitive and user-friendly.
Previously manual onboarding process at The Lab on Dexter is 100% automated these days. For members, it’s as easy as logging into the app and getting access to all workspace perks. For managers, everything boils down to inviting a member into the app and assigning a membership plan. No manual data input, no copy-pasting, no overcomplicated invoicing process.
Today the onboarding at our space looks like this: we ask customers to log in to our app, then the system notifies me that they accepted the invitation and I grant access. That’s it.
The Lab has a unique “membership levels” system with certain amenities available to particular members only. andcards was flexible enough to solve the issue through customizing membership plans by making some room bookings available to authorized companies.
Members see only the rooms they can book through their apps. They use them when needed and the service cost is automatically added to their monthly bills. Administrators don’t have to manage the process. Though, they always have a clear overview of all bookings made by each team member.
andcards platform has allowed us to really, really improve our conference room reservation and payment system.
Since The Lab rolled out andcards on the edge of their payment dates, they started to experience the awesome impact of automation almost immediately. Administrators stopped sending invoices via email and started billing members through the app, which is a piece of cake compared to the outdated approach. The system generates all the bills automatically, including regular membership fees and all ad-hoc items, the administrator only needs to click “send,” which doesn’t take much time at all. Customers receive their payment requests in-app and pay them with a card on file or another preferred method.
On day one we saw how andcards makes workflows quick and efficient. Our billing process changed drastically. We rolled out the platform at the turn of the month, which is when our invoices usually go out. We basically turned the email invoice off, put it on the platform, and on day one, people started to pay through the app. It saves us so much time and that alone is worth the fee for the subscription. Just that, because I hate collecting cheques from people.
Entrepreneurs who join The Lab need to look through multiple papers and sign some agreements, which took quite a lot of managers' time and effort before and made a negative impression on customers. Now, this uneasy process is sorted out with the help of the app. All guidelines, workspace rules, documents, and agreements are available inside it. Managers don’t overwhelm customers with bureaucracy. Also, they don’t have to stay at their desks just to collect papers from people.
Thanks to the app we cut a lot of bureaucracy. I'm currently building guidelines and the agreement with Google Forms links inside the app. So, once a member gets there, they confirm that they are going to abide our rules and checks all essential files. Such a turnaround makes it a lot simpler. I don't have to sit there the whole time or collect papers from people.
Kenneth is an accountant by trade, so he is a big fan of accurate numbers and data analysis. He knew that andcards includes business performance analytics dashboards but couldn't imagine how robust the feature is and how deeply it analyzes every aspect of activities at The Lab including revenue, bookings, events, and even members engagement.
I think analytics is a pretty big benefit. I'm an accountant or CPA by trade, so I love data. andcards analytics tied with Stripe allows us to see a lot of things. I knew it was there, but I didn't realize how robust it was. It is showing us everything.
Stream community newsfeed also turned out a pleasant surprise for Kenneth. At first, he underestimated this communication channel's potential as there are so many social media out there. But when he saw a lot of members using it, he decided to direct all conversations there as an exclusive workspace feed makes it much easier to deliver important news and messages to members.
Feed was one of the pleasant surprises. I already knew about the Stream, but I do like the fact that I can see a lot of people using it. Generally, we have not totally jumped on it yet because there are so many other social media things, but we're going to start directing almost all of our conversations directly there. We're going to have an event and put it there and also put it on the events page to raise awareness about it among members.
Another unexpected benefit of andcards Kenneth discovered recently with the help of his personal account manager is in-app member support. It offers members the easiest way to report their issues, ask questions, and give feedback. They create tickets and see the progress, which gives customers peace of mind that their requests are important and properly handled. Administrators in their turn get all support queries in one place with all essential backgrounds, assign a responsible person and resolve the issues faster.
Member support is another feature that's pretty big. It allows us to instead of getting email everywhere have one place showing them. “Hey, this office space needs lightbulbs. The coffee's out,” you know, those kinds of things. So it allows us to see it in one place. And I've tied in our facility manager who handles a lot of that so I don't have to. It basically puts out a little discussion. It makes it faster.
I've looked at other coworking platforms around and either they were very expensive or they just wouldn't meet the needs of what we needed to have done. They weren’t as customizable as what I saw with andcards. andcards is perfect for us with its excellent customer service, free onboarding and unlimited support. I'm a big fan of the platform.