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Listening to a Tim Ferris podcast the other day, there was a guest host – Reid Hoffman – interviewing Brian Chesky. For those who don’t recognise those two names, Hoffman was the guy who created LinkedIn and then sold it for $26billion to Microsoft. His net worth is $3.3billion. Chesky is the co-founder of AirBnB and worth $3.8billion.
So not short of a bob or two between them.
One of the ideas Chesky talked about was determining what your one-star and five-star experience was when customers interacted with your business. He talks about the difference between a five-star AirBnB experience versus a one-star one – both with very obvious consequences.
What’s Your Digital Five-Star Experience?
So how would a one-star digital experience differentiate to a five-star digital experience?
Well, a one-star would be obvious – the site is down. Although some people might return later when it’s up and apart from a minor inconvenience, that might not be an entire disaster. So maybe a one-star would be where your site is actually live, but the customer can’t find anything they want and keep getting stuck in dead-end pages?
But rather than dwell on what not to do, I want to focus on the other end of the scale. What are some of the elements in your entire digital experience (not just your website) that would make a five-star experience?
- Your website user experience?
- Your website content?
- Your social media presence?
- Your response to enquiries/complaints across digital platforms?
- The language you use in emails?
- You monthly enewsletters?
There’s a huge amount of touch-points when you have to consider your complete digital experience.
In fact, Chesky takes this five-star experience analogy with AirBnB a step further and starts talking about the six-star, seven-star and so on up to an eleven-star experience. The premise being that if you can visualise an eleven-star experience, then you start with that and work back, picking out key elements and seeing if you can, somehow, make them reality.
The AirBnB eleven-star experience might be taking a vacation on the Moon with the Beatles and that’s not going to happen anytime soon, but it gives you a benchmark to aspire too.
If you think about it, five-star should be a normal benchmark. That should be a pre-requisite of being in business. Really stepping above your competitors and engaging the user and getting an ‘eleven-star experience’ is the stretch goal.
So how is your digital experience and engagement going to move from five-star to eleven-star? It’s a question I’ve been asking myself today about our business and those of our clients.
What’s The Perfect Digital Experience?
All this is summed up in a broader question – what’s the perfect experience with your business online? And more importantly, are you currently delivering it?
It might not seem important on the face of it – especially if you have a simple and small brochure website – but small improvements in loading time, quality of content, ease of use of information and so on can make a huge difference in the long run with quality of visitors and conversions.
You strive to deliver a five-star experience in your business every day when you’re face-to-face with your customers; why aren’t you delivering a five-star digital experience online too?
A Final Comment
Another great insight that came from Chesky was ‘Do Everything By Hand Until You Can’t Do It By Hand Anymore’. I’ve paraphrased that a little but that was the cornerstone of his chat – many of the things that you do in the early days of a start-up have to be done by hand, even if they don’t seem like they can scale. That way you can really understand your customers and clients.
Once you can’t do those things by hand anymore – because you’re too busy or too big – then you can look at automating parts of your process.
But always quality comes before automation.