The boom in Asia’s major cities such as Singapore and Shanghai spells immense opportunity to companies worldwide. Eager to kickstart operations in these outposts, some companies turn to serviced offices as temporary locations to work from.
When Arcc Offices launched in 2003 (then known as apbcOffices), it offered more than just a good address topped with secretarial assistance. Networking and bespoke services were some add-ons that would set it apart in a niche market of serviced and virtual offices.
Tony Chen is the managing director of Arcc Offices, which he started in 2003. “We are not just a work-space provider. We realise the importance of building a meaningful workplace with resources to facilitate growth.”
Instead of rows of closed doors, Chen wanted to tear down walls – literally and figuratively. Through the language of design -- fewer partitions, larger pantries, and sofas strategically placed -- people using his offices were encouraged to interact and network, even if they came from different companies and industries.
This accessibility to “human connections” was applauded and the formula proved to be a hit.
To better serve its customers, Arcc Offices wanted to understand them as well as a personal concierge does, if not better. At any one time, its staff needed to know who were using the offices, where they were putting up in the city, their preferences and dislikes, and any other information that could lead to a more personalised level of service.
When the business took off, however, the volumes of customer data it collected on file grew massive.
Underlining the obstacles he faced, Chen says: “Valuing our customers means being in sync with the needs and life cycles of every account under us. We had a good system to document every aspect of that, but needed to find ways to reduce the time needed for administrative work.”
Chen started looking for an easy-to-use, cloud-based solution to reach all of Arcc Offices’ branches from its headquarters in Singapore.
He found that salesforce.com had all the cloud technology required to host its sizable system, and it was also software-free. Everyone started entering into a centralised account and staff could also begin to leverage shared experiences.
Everything from a client’s unique and evolving IT requirements, to how a customer likes his coffee, could be captured, shared, and accessed easily. When needs can be anticipated, a customer can be surprised in many pleasant ways – which includes having coffee always served from his favourite coffee chain in his preferred style, no matter which staff is on duty that day.