From the moment people walk through the door, they begin to process the experience you’ve created for them. Of course, the first wave comes from their initial impression of the environment you’ve designed, but quickly shifts to an evaluation of the services and opportunities you provide. The experience you provide contributes to the overall value proposition prospective members will consider when deciding to join a space.
The Elements of Experience
As previously described in our post on the Six Elements of Coworking, and in our posts on the factors of Space and People, the 3D Coworking Model divides the factor of Experience into the complementary elements of Engagement and Hospitality. As you continue to dig deeper into each, you will discover these elements break down further into sub categories.
Hospitality (passive): In the 3D Coworking Model, Hospitality incorporates the act of offering interactions, customer service and amenities which make guests feel welcome and well cared for in your space. This concept, when broken down into business model terms, includes everything from your hiring and training process to what service amenities you offer as part of your membership plans. Hospitality is highly affected by such things as smoothly running processes and procedures, so for that reason we also consider such things as operations to be included in this element.You can read a more in depth description of Hospitality HERE
Engagement (active): Engagement is ultimately about user experience: the ease of use when accessing the space and amenities for both users and their guests. This also includes the implementation of purposeful and well rounded events and programing which allow members to connect and engage with both each other and the space itself. You can read a more in depth description of Engagement HERE
Delivering a Service vs. Providing Opportunities
To the extent that a coworking membership is, in fact, a business transaction (exchanging dollars for experience) members want to feel comfortable and ‘taken care of’ when coming to your space. Consistency is important: the extent to which you can ensure members receive attentive service from knowledgeable staff, enjoy complimentary provisions and reliable access to business services will set the bar for members future expectations. In the 3D Coworking Model we refer to this as the element of Hospitality, meaning the way your space interacts with your users.
Creating “community” however, involves at least some level of active participation on the part of its members. Depending on your model, this could mean something as simple as offering the ability to self-schedule meeting rooms and managing your own visitors, or something as big as implementing democratic governance. Encouraging the opportunity for active engagement is also something to consider when designing your spaces programing and events calendars. The 3D Coworking Model refers to these opportunities within the element of Engagement, meaning ways in which your users will interact with your space.
Inevitably, different people want different things, and they will ultimately self select a coworking model that has the combination of service and autonomy that feels right for them. Through Agora RDM’s DEFINE process, we’ve identified various member personas, each of which suggest a different combination of active and passive engagement. We encourage space operators to take this into consideration when deciding which opportunities they will utilize to actively engage members compared to services offered to make their members feel comfortable and serviced.
Ultimately finding some form of balance between these two corresponding elements will be the key in managing expectations and maintaining a healthy relationship where users remain both engaged in the community and satisfied with the experience you’re offering.