Truly personalized service. Each client has their own story and their own needs. Not every client is looking for the same thing. For example, one client needs ALL the details in order to feel comfortable, while the other client is overwhelmed by details and needs to see the vision. My job is to provide both clients with what they need. My service might be fundamentally the same with everyone, but how I interact with each client will be t completely different.
As part of my series about the five things a business should do to create a Wow! customer experience, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Shebib.
As an award winning real estate investor, Chris has been investing as a licensed carpenter and contractor since 1992 across North America. Having completed millions in forced appreciation renovations, Chris has a track record of producing wealth through multiple investing strategies in different markets and market conditions.
Chris is a published authority in real estate and is a national speaker featured across Canada. Previously Chris had an extensive career in technology and digital marketing in Silicon Valley and Canada, managing large teams of 50+ employees across geographically disparate teams in multiple countries responsible for delivering digital marketing products and services to some of Canada’s largest retail and travel brands.
Through an initial career as a licensed carpenter and contractor, working in both residential and commercial construction, Chris has run projects for his own investments and others. One particular project in commercial contracting was converting a large heritage building into 18, stand alone student rental units in Peterborough for Trent University.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
I met my wife, Theresa, when I was 18 at a Halloween party. Funny enough, she was dressed as an old man (which I seemed to be attracted to) and I was dressed as a Zombie. We’ve been together ever since. Things were simpler then and wow have we been through a lot together since then. I do mean a lot…3 careers, a move to California for 5 years, 3 daughters… I’m a totally different person now.
I’ve really never been afraid of hard work, in fact, it’s been a huge part of my path. I started out as a carpenter and contractor building homes and additions, followed by doing commercial work and this was the first time in my life that I was recognized for my work ethic. Architects started knocking on my door more and more and I realized that (for the first time) I wasn’t doing what I really wanted to be doing.
Then we moved on a dime to California and we worked in tech. The stories I have from that time would blow your mind. It was the most stressful years of my life (and I have 3 daughters don’t forget). For example, I once stayed awake for 96 hours in a 110 hour period!
During this time, we were also flipping homes in California. We’d just finished our most successful flip ever (with over 240k dollars in profit), but I knew we were at a market peak. This wasn’t my first market correction.
To top all of this off we’d just had our first daughter, Kate, and my wife had made it VERY clear that they were moving home to be closer to friends and family, so a new chapter opened up for us. We were no strangers to real estate and we knew how to create long lasting wealth using it, so this was when my final transition happened.
A few years later, my corporate life was constantly changing and I lived in constant turmoil. On top of this, my job was always being “evaluated” and I lived in fear that I was going to lose it at any time.
We’d been flipping for a long time at this point. I was ready to be in control and decided to move into real estate.
I’m a bit of a unicorn. I’m driven by people, but also by data. My software background has set me up to help people make the smartest decisions truly backed up by data objectively.
Bringing it all together, it was a no brainer and I finally felt like I had some real security in my life. All of my previous lives served my real estate decision perfectly. Contracting, project management, organization and systems, and flipping… this is what I was made for!
Now that you know why I’m here, I want to explain why I’ve stayed so long. This work is literally the culmination of my life. I get to spend time with girls and use all of the skills I didn’t understand were bringing me here.
I’ve chosen to specialize in upsizers because I’ve gone through exactly that. We came back here with one daughter and now we have three very different girls that we’re raising. Kate’s my athlete, and always game for anything, she needs space.
Ava is my homebody, She knows ALL the best snuggle spots in the house.
Natalie is a natural performer.
All of them, as well as Theresa and I, have different needs in our home. The way we use it is different. So I love working with families to make sure that everyone has what they need! I’ve gone through the growth myself.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
Not only was our first purchase not staged and beautiful, we needed a flashlight when we went to look at it. AND we walked in on people actually sleeping in there! It was absolutely the worst house, but on a good Street.
From this we learned that finding the roughest place, intimidating to most, was very profitable.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Several people have been very influential. Some influence without even knowing it and some explicitly helping, taking the time to help me along the way.
When I was a contractor, I had a client who was self-made. He saw potential in me and took the time to really help me understand the cost of my business as it relates to how much I was charging.
I realized that I was under charging my clients and wasn’t really covering the cost of my business, let alone profiting. The lesson wasn’t so much about how much I needed to charge, as it was about really understanding what it means to run a business in a way that makes sense. If it doesn’t make sense, you won’t be in business for long and the service you’re providing won’t be sustainable. It needs to be a win/win. For the client and for my business.
Thank you for that. Let’s now pivot to the main focus of our interview. This might be intuitive, but I think it’s helpful to specifically articulate it. In your words, can you share a few reasons why great customer service and a great customer experience is essential for success in business?
Keeping with the point above, if it’s not win/win… then everybody will walk away with less than expected.
If you’re not solving market problems in a high-value sustainable way, you won’t have happy clients and so you won’t have a business. Business has always been about the relationship, not just a quick transaction. I would far rather have a good client experience that leads to a long-term relationship, then a subpar client experience with nothing in the future.
With one particular investing client I had a maintenance issue come out shortly after we partnered on the investment. By the letter of the agreement it would have been a Cash call in month to for my investing partner. While I would have been fully within my rights to make that cash call, I covered it myself instead.
Even though the letter of the agreement said it was fine, the intent of the agreement was such that I covered it on my own because the investment was new enough. That partner still doesn’t know to this day that I did that, but they are happy. And, to the point, they have done repeat business with me. Just a small example of how placing priority on the customer experience reaps long-term benefits for both parties.
We have all had times either in a store, or online, when we’ve had a very poor experience as a customer or user. If the importance of a good customer experience is so intuitive, and apparent, where is the disconnect? How is it that so many companies do not make this a priority?
At the end of the day, saying that you want to win is easy. The difficulty comes in the maturity and the discipline to make decisions today based on your guiding principles, even if there is delayed gratification. It all sounds easy to do, but the reality can be much harder.
Do you think that more competition helps force companies to improve the customer experience they offer? Are there other external pressures that can force a company to improve the customer experience?
For those companies that are in it for the long term, yes absolutely. The competitive environment keeps us sharp, and forces us to provide more value to our clients. In the end, a business will evolve or die. And that’s a good thing for both the business and its clients. Complacency is one of the worst things there is.
Can you share with us a story from your experience about a customer who was “Wowed” by the experience you provided?
While working with some first-time home buyers, their new home needed renovations. I helped them identify what renovations need to be done and recommended one of my personal contractors to complete the work. I also helped oversee that work. At the end of the process, their feedback was that working with me was seamless and stress-free. It was clear to them that I had selected external stakeholders with the same kind of client experience that I provided. They expected a lot of stress and hassle, but it was very hands-off very stress-free. In the end they loved the outcome
Did that Wow! experience have any long term ripple effects? Can you share the story?
Absolutely, that wow experience created good referrals and good repeat business.
Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a founder or CEO should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience. Please share a story or an example for each.
- Empathy is critical. Having been a buyer and a seller as well as a managing partner and a money partner, I’ve seen and experienced from multiple angles. Every time we’ve sold a home of our own, we have put the extra touches on that home and marketed it specifically for the unique value that it alone offers. The results have been a premium price each time. That’s the exact philosophy we bring to our clients today.
And because we’ve been through that experience, we know what clients are going through. Sometimes, all they need is just a listening ear. Showing someone that you understand and hear them makes all the difference.
- Truly personalized service. Each client has their own story and their own needs. Not every client is looking for the same thing. For example, one client needs ALL the details in order to feel comfortable, while the other client is overwhelmed by details and needs to see the vision. My job is to provide both clients with what they need. My service might be fundamentally the same with everyone, but how I interact with each client will be t completely different.
- Purpose is fundamental. My purpose is to help as many families as they can get into the homes they love, and build wealth for the future. With that purpose, I can quickly identify those clients that I can truly help.
- Listen more than you talk. This is the foundation to everything in personal and business. If you can listen more than you talk… then you’ll be able to understand. If you understand your clients’ needs, you can provide real value and service. Often those that are talking (or worse, selling) don’t really understand what pains need to be solved, and are applying someone else’s solutions that don’t really fit.
- It’s never about selling. It’s always about legitimately solving problems for my clients. I find so much of my time is about sharing information rather than selling. When I can share the pros and cons, the experience and expertise… then we can find if there is a fit. And if there isn’t, that’s totally okay. The clients that I work with are a fit and that’s where we have the best outcomes of all
Are there a few things that can be done so that when a customer or client has a Wow! experience, they inspire others to reach out to you as well?
I find simply asking them to share their experience to be the most effective way for them to share. Happy clients are usually more than generous with referrals.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
- I’m really passionate about helping people perform optimally. I’m on a mission to increase my own performance and collaborate with others on how to best do the same with them.
- Each of us operates on our best everyday. Putting our airplane masks on first and learning what it means the truly be taking care of ourselves. We have so much more that we can give to the people around us
How can our readers follow you on social media?
- Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/shebib
- Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/chris.shebib/
- Youtube — https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIP29W-Jnbi528FAGMhhSjg
- Linkedin — https://www.linkedin.com/in/chrisshebib/
- Website — https://BlueOrchardRealty.com
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!