Your customers are more important than competitors

You have to treat your customer right. It’s no accident that our six core goals and philosophies start with “Build honest, open relationships with residents, customers, contractors, related parties and the public … ”

It’s critical to incorporate five important qualities to ensure you treat your customer right. If you follow these traits throughout your career, you will have a much better chance at being successful — and beating out your competition.

Spread your reputation

Reputation is so important in both business and in customer service. The better reputation your company is able to build, the more future business you will obtain as you gain customers by being known for having a quality brand. For example, our company has earned a Better Business Bureau A+ rating and has won numerous awards voted on by both our customers and by the competition. Building your reputation is critical to success.

Care about the communication

Satisfied customers, including those who have had an issue resolved by a company, tell other people about their experience — and this positive word of mouth can create a lot of business. Any service request is really an opportunity to resell your customer.

Don’t act as a nameless or faceless business. Genuinely talk with your customers as someone who is representing your company. Use surveys and social media to create a sense of community, gather feedback and interact with your customers. And don’t just respond to your customers with canned answers. Instead, actually hear them and care about what you are saying to them in response.

Provide a satisfaction guarantee warranty

Our customer’s warranty states that their living experience is extremely important to us, and “if for any reason you ever feel we are not complying with your lease or meeting your expectations, and if we can’t make it right, then you have the option to terminate the lease without penalty.” Customers love knowing a company is so confident in its product or service that, if something goes wrong, your business will be able to fix it — and if it can’t, will let them out of their commitment with no penalty.

Always listen

Listening to your customers will not only enhance their experience, it can help lead to additional sales for your business. Understanding what your customers’ hot buttons are and relating to them on a personal level most likely will win them over.

Listening can also mean understanding what’s going on in the market and then offering innovative amenities for your customers — amenities that are better than what your competition is offering.

Trust is everything

I believe trust is the most valuable commodity in business. There is a lot of risk to owning a private company and putting your own money on the line, and sometimes there are situations when a person just has to trust that you are going to do what you say — and when you’re going to have to trust them.

Trust is very important, and the more people who have confidence in your company, the better your reputation and the more positive the results for your business.

Brian Schottenstein is President of Schottenstein Real Estate Group