Gary Schottenstein learned from his father, Irving Schottenstein, to treat your customer right and fairly. And after more than 35 years in the real estate business, he still holds true to that — and tries to treat everyone that way, from customers to employees.
In fact, the chairman and CEO of Schottenstein Real Estate Group keeps a voicemail to remind him, and because it makes him feel good.
Bruce Heine was trying to buy one of the company’s condominiums for himself and his wife. The two had a lot of health problems.
Schottenstein says Heine couldn’t qualify for a mortgage. So, even though he didn’t know him very well, he told him to go ahead and move in, and pay what he could until he could buy it.
He got this call in August 2012:
I very sadly wanted to let you know that my wife died Friday night after six hours of open-heart surgery. I just want you to know that you allowing us to get into that beautiful place meant everything to her. She was the happiest I’ve seen her in years.
She saw me through five surgeries and some business setbacks, and she stuck with me with five IVs and I almost lost my leg. And it just — everything, she just willed me through it. And you making this, allowing this, to happen is immense.
I don’t — I know you’ve done hundreds of thousands of transactions, but you will never do a transaction where you have anyone more appreciative and grateful than myself and my wife.
Heine’s wife spent 10 days in the condo, and Heine himself died just over a year later in September 2013.
Schottenstein is very proud of the experience, but makes no brags about it: “I am not trying to toot my own horn. You’ve just got to feel for other people.”
Here’s how Schottenstein Real Estate, one of the largest developers and builders in the Midwest, focuses on customer satisfaction and team building.
A customer-centric culture
Schottenstein Real Estate strives to be open and forthright with customers. Management tries to get feedback from residents, so it throws different events and has staff mingle with residents.
“We’re a company that, if you want an appointment with the vice president, they’ll come to your home or business,” Schottenstein says. “We’re not some out-of-state company with ABC in the name that no one can figure out who they are.
“I think we were the first developer to implement a total satisfaction guarantee warranty for any resident.”
Schottenstein Real Estate’s first core value is to: “Build honest, open relationships with residents, customers, contractors, related parties and the public, so that our promises and integrity are unquestioned and reaffirmed to all.”
By striving to reinforce the customer’s trust and their decision to contract with Schottenstein Real Estate for one of the most important parts of their life — where they live, you build long-term relationships.
“When someone does business with you, they have confidence in you, and you want to try to, obviously, earn their confidence and trust ongoing in the future,” Schottenstein says.