Our Unique Approach
COCM’s unique approach to management partnerships is to share control for better outcomes. We call this Shared Governance, which is simply determining what COCM, our partner institutions, and other stakeholders can each best contribute for the management of a community, and then combining these roles and responsibilities for success. Using a tool developed by COCM, called the Responsibility Matrix, we carefully review management roles and responsibilities with all stakeholders to tailor the ultimate management partnership.
While duties are divided per the responsibility matrix, the areas are interrelated in practice and, in many cases, overlap because the goal of the partnership is student success, and the student is where all parties are focused. Oftentimes, this means residents don’t even realize COCM is part of the team. That’s OK with us, as we believe it’s about recruitment and retention of students, not about COCM. Our residents experience student housing the way our institutional partners want them to.
Because each party brings its own efficiencies and economies of scale to the partnership, there are greater opportunities for lowering operating costs and enhancing affordability to residents.
The Values That Guide Us
Think Like an Owner
We believe the best way to provide remarkable services to our university clients and owners is to manage each community as if we owned it, which leads us to ask: How would we want to be served? The answer to this question influences everything we do. From how we care for the residents, the types of operational services we provide and how we charge for them, how we budget and spend every operating dollar, to how we work alongside our campus client to promote their campus culture.
It’s About the Success of the Partnership
Successful housing partnerships are built upon strong collaboration with the campus partner and a focus on the success of the partnership. Our Shared Governance approach (described above) has been invaluable for clearly establishing roles and responsibilities, strengthening the relationship with the campus partner, and enhancing the ability of the community to keep student rents as affordable as possible. It has also served to achieve management agreements that are tailored to the needs of the campus and its culture. Cookie-cutter agreements are not the way we do business.
A Fanatical Commitment to Reporting and Communication
We value consistent and clear communication and for this reason, our employees are fanatical about reporting and communication. Our reporting protocols include weekly operations, monthly financials, budget variance and annual reports. We have an annual budgeting process with our owners and university clients to review and approve the budget and capital plan each year and an annual resident survey to assess the quality of our services. Our KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) are Keep People Informed, Keep People Involved, Keep People Interested and Keep People Inspired.
Client Satisfaction is our Livelihood
Our clients are not simply numbers, they are our livelihood. Many of our partners have allowed us to serve their students for numerous years. We are committed to never taking any client for granted. That’s why we tell each partner that if they have a concern, they can not only contact our site staff, but any of the senior leadership at our home office. As one our clients recently said, “When I call, they get me an answer.”
We believe that housing is more than just putting “heads in beds.” If positioned well, on-campus housing can serve as a powerful tool for both recruitment and retention. To achieve this with our campus partners, we take a consultative approach, seeking to understand before seeking to be understood. That means we asks many questions and listen well before we recommend solutions. We learned the value of a consultative approach from our experience in helping turn around many troubled on-campus communities, which led us to develop a consulting service we call Fresh Eyes. The Fresh Eyes approach has been a critical part of our success.
Student Success Above All
The reason we exist is our student residents. No matter what our role or responsibility in a management partnership, every decision we make must support their success. That’s why we hire people with higher education backgrounds with a passion for serving students.
The Benefits of Thinking Like an Owner
COCM is a privately-owned management company with no ownership stake in our communities. This allows us to act as a true owner on behalf of our campus and owner partners. We make decisions based on doing what is right for all involved, without the distraction of shareholders, market moves, or personal gain. We do not answer to shareholders or a development company owner, hold ownership interests in any on-campus community we manage or manage competing off-campus communities.