Here at Jones, we have identified the three key strategies you need to focus on to deliver a great tenant experience (or a less horrible one):
#1. Vendor Procurement
This is the most impactful of the three strategies because it is proactive.
Create a Rolodex of pre-approved vendors who you know are compliant in your building and share it with your tenants. This simple strategy will allow tenants to bypass the whole COI verification process and get vendors in the door so much faster. If you already have an up-to-date COI for an electrician that has worked in the building before, why not encourage your tenants to hire them?
Make sure this Rolodex is easily accessible to your tenants. It can be hosted on your website, a platform such as Notion, or even created and maintained as a PDF, as long as your tenants can easily find the link (hint: drop it in your email signature!).
If a tenant requires an ad-hoc vendor who is not in the Rolodex, help them bring this vendor into the building fast by accelerating the COI approval process. This is where the pre-approved vendors and compliance come into play, so be sure you tend to both.
#2. Communication Strategy
The moment your tenants receive an email request for an insurance certificate, they cringe. Most of such emails are a) confusing b) full of jargon and c) sound as if they were addressed to a robot.
Designing great emails is a science, but here are some general rules:
Use short sentences that are extremely clear on the nature of the request (“Your vendor’s COI has expired. Please provide an updated one by clicking on the button below”). That goes for the subject line too!
Try to avoid, or at least explain insurance jargon. If you must use insurance terms, always include reference links that provide a simple explanation of the term, what is needed and why it is needed.
If you use a COI management tool, make sure you can control the branding of the email, the domain host, and the frequency so that tenants recognize the email and can respond accordingly. Emails that are confusing, untrustworthy, and too frequent will only add to your tenants’ frustration.
#3. Available Resources
Offer your tenants a variety of resources to assist them with the compliance process, and make sure resources are easy to access! For instance, help centers, blogs, insurance glossaries – all of these options will work as long as they are clickable and instantly available on both desktop and mobile.
Include a guide for your “jobs to be done”. For example, if you are missing a Waiver of Subrogation and requesting it from your tenant’s vendor, specify where they can find it (ACORD 25 or Additional Insured Remarks) and provide screenshots to show what these documents look like.
If you are using software to manage compliance, make sure to include resources on how to use the software product as well, such as a step-by-step guide on how to upload a COI into the system for review and how to escalate any issues with your property management.
Leverage your relationship with your insurance broker and allow tenants to reach for clarifications if needed. Open a line of communication between your broker, your tenants’ brokers, and those of their vendors, as a means to streamline the approval process and leverage experts in the workflow.