My name is Michael and I'm the president and co-founder of SharedSpace, a high-tech co-working space focused on serving local communities in the Atlanta suburbs. I began my career in the audio-visual industry where I designed and built collaboration spaces for large corporations across the southeast. I'm working on growing our first and second locations in Atlanta and launching our third in Augusta, Ga.
I'm a big believer in using technology in our business. We were early adopters of live chat on our website because a lot of our members will visit our site to do research and have questions about the space. Between myself and my team, we were handling more and more conversations each week and 75%-80% of the questions were similar week in and week out. I started looking around for a solution to automate these conversations and that's when I learned about conversational marketing and using a bot to handle live chat conversations with my site visitors.
First we studied past conversations we were having with users on our site. We also thought about the sales funnel for each product we offer. With these in hand we were able to design ShareBear, our bot, to handle the common questions our site visitors have as well as nudge them down the appropriate funnel. It was important to get ShareBear live fast so we could start getting real world data from it interacting with users. Once ShareBear started chatting with users we learned even more about how it would best help grow our business and we continued to iterate from there.
When someone visits our site, we wait a few seconds and then ShareBear welcomes them to the site and asks, "How can I help you today?". ShareBear presents a number of options to the visitor. Visitors can book a tour, book a meeting space, request an event, refer a friend, and more. After turning on ShareBear we increased conversations with qualified prospects by over 370% and increased our email capture by 1,150%. Tour bookings have correspondingly increased.
We have three core funnels.
First we have coworking memberships. Co-working members sign up for a tour of one our spaces. They get a personal tour and then a free day they can use on the spot or come back and work from the space at their convenience. When they are ready to sign up they choose a plan and pay on a month to month basis.
Next we have private offices. Private office members also come in for a tour. Depending on how many team members they have we will create a tailored quote and proposal for them. We often set up longer term agreements with these members so that they can lock in great pricing.
Finally we allow members and non-members to host events and meetings in the space. Folks interested in hosting an event chat with ShareBear providing more information about their event. We'll then follow up with them over the phone or email to coordinate the logistics of their event.
The majority of our revenue comes from our private office members. With that said, private office membership is highly correlated with co-working memberships. Co-working members provide the energy and community that makes SharedSpace attractive to all our members. Hosting events has also proven to be an effective business model and a way to market SharedSpace.
Therefore, we've grown SharedSpace by focusing on getting new co-working members signed up and by hosting more and more member and non-member events at our locations.
My goals for the future are to make SharedSpace an even better place for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and remote workers to come in and hang their hat, roll up their sleeves, and get to work. Nothing makes us happier than to see our members have success and grow from being a part of our community.
One of the big challenges we had was scaling our inbound activity. Our sales funnel is fairly high touch. It requires people to physically come to our space for a tour. One of our challenges is continuing to think about how we can simplify and streamline the new member experience and make it as easy as possible for them to join. If I had to start over, one thing I would do differently is offer more single and two person private offices. Over time we discovered there is huge demand for these smaller offices and at first our offices were setup for larger teams.
Start collecting emails as soon as possible! Our ShareBear does as much as he can to assist guests coming in, but if we are not able to respond to the guest in time we now collect their email to follow back up quickly. Also - customers remember meaningful chat conversations much more than an email. I have had so many customers that have told me during the tour how helpful the chat was on our website for getting their questions answered quickly.
If you're in the Atlanta area, we'd love to have you come visit and spend a day with us.
Online, find us here:
- Michael Everts, President & Co-founder of SharedSpace.