Serving Clients: Focus on Details (and Happiness)

Find out how one broker is using her scrupulous consistency and southern hospitality to put clients first in her Hawaii market.

September 11, 2015

In the second of a four-part series on building a client-centric culture, we meet Patricia Choi, president and principal of Choi International in Honolulu.


Patricia Choi leads by a well-honed example that amplifies her natural charm, which she credits to her southern upbringing. This native of Birmingham, Ala., moved to Hawaii in 1975, and believes in empowering her agents and clients with choice. For agents, it’s a choice to come to her for advice; for clients, it’s a choice to work with her.


“If you want to sign with me, that’s fine. If you are unhappy and you want to cancel, that’s okay. I’m here to take care of you,” she said. “I always say please choose someone who you feel comfortable with.”

Choi characterizes herself as having a penchant for consistency and detail. She delights in paperwork, harking back to a former life as a paralegal. If any member of her 32-agent team (who speak 10 languages among them) asks her to share her experience and expertise, she’s happy to, considering herself an open book.

Over the course of 30 years and $1 billion in sales, Choi finds effectiveness in the approach of putting others in the driver’s seat and building relationships on trust.

In addition to empowering with choice, Choi has other ways for staying client-centric: by using her positive personality and presentation of research. In both, she offers the consistency that clients and agents have come to expect.

“I never argue with clients about anything,” she says, recommending to speak slowly and with a kind voice. “You have to be the happy person with everyone. People like to be around people who are happy.”

When meeting with a client, she prepares and presents relevant housing information in a simple form: a personal letter with attachments. She says a physical handout is extremely important because clients may not remember what’s discussed, but they can go home and reread everything that was presented. It creates consistency and peace of mind, she says.

Working on the small island of Oahu not only puts emphasis on the level of service given to clients, but the treatment of competitors as well.

“It’s a small town — you have to get along,” she says.


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Beth Shea Palmer is a Hawaii-based freelance writer with nine years of experience reporting and editing for the Chicago Tribune, AOL, Advertising Age, and other publications. Connect with Beth at