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Customer service and hospitality are often used interchangeably, even though they shouldn’t.  In the past, the flexible workspace industry was very much focused on service, however in recent years we’ve seen workspace brands shift towards a more hospitality-focused approach. But, what’s the difference?

Peter Lyons makes this simple distinction between service and hospitality:

Service is what you do–tasks, procedures, acts. Hospitality is “the ability to make an emotional connection with your guest.” Lyons describes the latter as a “secret weapon” that allows businesses to stand out from the crowd.

For flexible workspace operators, excellent customer service is no longer enough to differentiate from the competition. The industry has experienced exponential growth over the past few years, and there are now more operators of coworking and shared workspace than ever before. It’s in big part because of this that we are seeing that workspace brands are leaning towards hospitality and offering a unique experience at all touchpoints.

If you look at it from a different way, hospitality is making sure that your staff goes the extra mile for your guests, every moment of every day. Not only your guests, but also your infrastructure as a whole. In order for this to happen, you have to make sure that you’ve created a culture that values hospitality and that you’ve trained your staff above and beyond imaginable.

This requires that you lead by example. If you want your community managers to not only take care of your guests, but also bond with them, then you, as owner or manager, have to do the same with all members of your staff.

Great service is the first step in building towards hospitality. Great service means there will be someone to greet your desks when they walk in, that there will be an IT support team if the Wi-Fi or any other tech infrastructure fails, that they will find coffee grounds to make some coffee.

Hospitality means that the service each member gets is personalized to his or her own needs, that you offer a unique working environment, that the coffee is already made and ready to serve, that your IT team and community manager will check in with guests to make sure their needs are being met.

It’s a subtle distinction, yet it makes a world of a difference. Great service will lead to satisfied members and guests; hospitality will lead to loyal, returning ones.Want to learn about more ways in which you can use hospitality to differentiate yourself from the competition? Reach out to us!