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The 7-Star Customer Experience

Customer Development

The 7-Star Customer Experience


Strategy: Position your company for Growth

-         Growth by doing things that don’t scale

-         Customer Experience through Customer JourneyMapping


How creating a “Dream Customer Profile” will give you thatdefining edge that sets you up on a sustainable growth path and how to startthinking about customer experience.

Ready? Set. Growth:

Relevance for MxMoritz

My Perspective

As I see it:

You can optimize your marketing and sales, your funnel, yourgrowth initiatives if you align for happy customers. The questions then becomes

-         What makes a happy customer? What does it needfor a customer to be a happy customer?

-         Do you know how to position yourself for growth?And how to communicate strategically?

There are basically two, not mutual exclusive approaches Ilike to take when analyzing growth opportunities of MxMoritz Consulting clients:

1.      Analyzing the best existing customers and

2.      Developing a “the perfect customer” profile.

What made your existing customers hiring your product orservice and what makes them hire it again and again? Finding answers to these shapesyour entire communication, product strategy, your value proposition andalignment of customer success. The result is a perfect customer profile that isinformed and grounded in empirical reality.

Beyond that is

3.      Creating a dream customer profile,

with a customer experience and customer that might onlyhappen in a (im)perfect reality. Because developing the perfect customer helpsyou both when you’re still a startup just beginning with customer development,as well as you wanting to think about new customers and new markets without theconstraints of your existing business models.

Following we will dive into how this more hypothetical approachcan unlock new insights into your customers, the value you deliver them and whatkind of company you want to be for your customers and all your stakeholders asa matter of fact.

For business people the conundrum with creating a “dreamcustomer” is that you sound like a moron to other business people, and you haveno clue how viable it will be… The least we can do right here right now is giveyou an idea on how to start because NOT thinking of your dream customer doesn’tonly make you moron (it’s basically up to you where you can choose to look likeone or be one) the basic principle that this comes from: unless you innovateyou will be disrupted, to innovate means you have to throw many variations tothe wall and see which sticks, that’s part of the evolutionary algorithm. Youcan optimize the process but not the outcome which basically means to make yourefforts less of a competition against luck. [Competing Against Luck ( (2016))]()

As business leaders we have the freedom and obligation todefine schedules. The obligation part is to stick to a schedule. The freedompart is to set up a schedule that you want to work on. No schedule ever workedby enumerating tasks you have to do. So many of our schedules look like that. Nobodylikes to follow that kind of schedule. And so we end up doing other things.

To be successful with following through is to set up theschedule so you have the day you want!

What is the best possible day that I could have, what wouldit look like? And then you schedule that. Obviously there is a little bit ofresponsibility and obligation that comes with it because at the end of the dayyou want to be strategically and sustainably development i.e. you don’t want tofind yourself in a worse shape than you did at the beginning of the day justbecause you “didn’t feel like” too many days in a row.

Same with customer development

So what does your dream customer look like?

Business people should fall in love with processes, not thegoal

7-star, out of this world hotel, that never existed

In 1999 we all laughed when the Burj Al Arab opened as"the world's only 'seven-star' hotel", being furnished with 2 more starsthan there are available for any hotel on the standardized 5-star rating scale.

How could a hotel be given a sixth and seventh star when thehighest that you could achieve was it 5 stars? Was it pure audacity just as theproject itself that was built on an artificial island just of the beach,because the skyscraper would cast too big a shadow on the beach?

It in fact, is the outlandish experience described by a Britishjournalist as “above and beyond anything she had ever seen and called it aseven-star hotel.”

Although the hotels classification group never gave an officiallythe 7-star rating, nor the operating Jumeirah Group ever calls their hotel a 7-starclassified hotel, it is that just in being far more generous than it would everrequire for getting the highest rating on a standardized five stars scale that makesyou being measured outside the standards.

Where you define the user experience of your customersthrough architecture, infrastructure, service, and storytelling.

Airbnb took that notion of creating Seven-Star customerexperiences all the way up to 10-Star customer experiences. A thoughtexperiment, that helps them to think about how they could design a product thatexceeds all your expectations.

exceeds all expectations

did the exactly

the “Seven-Star” notion was brought to being

Airbnb did the exactly same as a thought experiment whenthey were thinking about how they could make their customers give them morethan the usual 5 stars: How could we provide the best user experience to ourcustomers? What can we do that is outside the standard norms that would reallywow our customers? What

Something that our customers would not even be able to describethemselves wouldn’t even dare to think about

Couple years later I do understand why giving itself givingyourself rating that is unheard of provides a great culture improvements inorganization that manifests something that hasn’t been here before

As long as you think in those terms of five stars equalsshower bathrobe slippers I don’t know etc you can strain yourself in more thanactual experience could look like for your specific list guest

Someone in the car island probably doesn’t mean hairdresserhow iren but they wanna iren they won’t let their hair dry in the warmCaribbean wind

Does that make that experience a four star experience justbecause some standard Samsung

Playing out of your League in customer service or any otherthing you have to think out of you constrain the best practices and standardbusiness procedures

You have to think about the value that you create andsometimes you have to invent a new category so it actually represents what youstand for

How do you think about it

When I heard Brian Chesky talk about it with Reid how do youthink about a perfect customer experience but their perfect customer mapping isit's on my mind and it started many blog posts around never finished it


This is thedescription on the actual application that Airbnb put to YC: “Airbnb is thefirst online marketplace that lets travelers book rooms with locals, instead ofhotels.” It's concise, it's descriptive. I understand what they're building, Ihave a sense for what they're making.

How do you come from such a description to a 10 starexperience??

AiBnB Stanford

Chesky provides the framework on how to think about it

On how you can think about it too

Their sufficient goal wasn't to get a five star review ontheir platform. Because when do you give a five star review, what does itreally mean? And what does an aggregated 3.8-star review on the Internet mean?And do you know what 4 stars in a standardized hotel rating given out by reviewboards mean exactly?

5-star “might have been nice enough for other people to bookit, but we wanted to build a product where you loved it so much you would telleveryone about it,” Chesky explains; “and so we thought, what if you booked anAirbnb and we sold you a product and you didn't leave five stars, but you emailed [us] asking for a sixthstar. 'Cause the product was so good,”

you had to almost goabove and beyond.

And it would have ameaningful impact on your life. And we believe that travel has the impact totransform your life. I've taken trips and I've met people where it has animpact on your life. And we wanted to have that.

And so we imagined, when we design products, we imagine thisis what customers expect. They expect to have a five-star experience.

The 11 StarExperience

AirBnB then iterates intellectually through the questions ofwhat a five star, six, seven, eight star and even an 10 star experience could/shouldlooks like.

They take either a macro approach or an extremely specificmoment in the entire trip, and star asking

What's a five star-check-in experience on our platform?

What's a six-star?

What experience results in a seven-star review?

So what's an eight-star pickup?

What's a nine-star check-in?

So then, what's a 10-star check-in?

There are two different occasions where Brain Chesky goesinto details and they are worth listening to.

My favorite is the Stanford lecture one and is about how to designthe airport pick-up.

The five-star check-in experience is, they give you theaddress, you get to the house, you knock on the door and they're there. Andthey open the door and they let you in the house.

A six-star is, […] they actually pick you up at the airport.

Seven stars is […] they send a limousine. And you open thelimousine door, […] and they know you are into surfing and there's some surfingmagazine.

An eight-star check-in is, you get to the airport […] and there'sa parade in your honor. You get on top of the elephant and you are paradedaway.

A nine-star check-in is, […] the moment you step off theplane, […] – I call it the Beatles check-in – it's the Beatles in 1964 comingto America. And they're just cheering for you, screaming for you. And they do apress conference in the front yard of your Airbnb.

The 10-star is, you get to the airport, and there's a littlecard and it's got your name on it, and you're like, "Great! There's myride." But you realize the person dressed in the limo suit is Elon Muskand he just takes you to space.

I've exaggerated to make a point. Usually we don't go allthe way to 10.

The whole point is that if you, if what you need to do isjust find 100 people to love you, then it's very easy to take for granted thatthe five-star is what people expect, but to build something that people love,you almost need to do something more than they expect. And so, every moment isan opportunity to do something slightly more than people expect. And we playthis out, you go all the way to 10. Now, we're not gonna do all that, but maybe,suddenly six stars doesn't seem so bad. Now we should have a service, airportpickup or something like that.

So we do this almost every frame of the experience. And thisalso can apply to almost anything.

Office assign or how you hire people. You know, westoryboard, end-to-end, the interviewing experience.

- I think one other thing in your seven-star designprinciple that you haven't yet captured, which is really important, is, it'snot just the web page. It's not the mobile app.

- Yes. Yeah, I think... One time I told somebody about ourproduct. In fact, there's this person who works for the executive at Disney...I'm like, "Yeah, we have a product team." And he thought, "Aproduct..." He said, "Product, do you mean, like, the house?"

And at Airbnb, we've historically called the product thewebsite and the applications, the technology.

And I'm like, "Oh, that's kind of weird." See atFaceBook, Mark Zuckerberg calls the product the website or the app. Buttechnically speaking, the product is whatever the customer's buying. Thecustomers are not buying our website, and they're not buying our application.That's just a storefront of communication. What they're buying is a house. Andfrankly, what they're buying more than a house is the host. Experience ofhospitality. This idea of belonging.

And so, we realized very early on that we are anonline-to-offline business. In fact, in China they're called O to O,online-to-offline. But we kind of started, I think the sharing economy... We'rekind of like a next wave of the internet. So there was a wave of the internet,things online. Amazon, books online. There was another wave of the internet,connecting together. LinkedIn, FaceBook. But then there's another wave of theinternet, the internet going back into the real world. And Airbnb was one ofthose examples. And so, we started storyboarding the experience and realizingit's really about every moment of the experience. And we have to beresponsible, not just for the online part of the product, but the offline partof the product.

And so that's what we did.

Here on the Scale podcast Reid and Chesky do the same exerciseonce again.

AiBnB- Scale Podcast

Ifyou want your company to truly scale, you have to do things that DON'T scale.Handcraft the core experience. Serve your customers one by one. And don't stopuntil you know exactly what they want.

“It'sreally hard to get even 10 people to love anything. But it's not hard if youspend a ton of time with them."


“Ifyou're not getting passionate, detailed feedback from some of your users,you're off track."


Big Idea

Hand serve your customers. Win them over, one by one.

Ifyou're only doing A/B tests you're never designing with empathy.

sort of forgot about designing with empathy for a singleuser. It’s a common mistake among entrepreneurs with global ambitions. Theyhave to promise investors the world. Tens of millions of customers. Billions inrevenue. It’s intoxicating.

I cant talk to all my customers

YouR’e right getting to know your customers one by one doesnot scale.

That's exactly why you should do it with your bestcustomers.

Your best customers now and the best customer you can dreamof hypothetically. If you’re an early stage startup and only have a few yet, gotalk to them all, and then make something just for them.


I just spend time with them. And while you can probe them with like, “Well what if I didthis, what if I did this, what if I did this?” don’t solely rely on that perspective of solutionbased approach. More often than not you will find that your customers don’t know exactly whatthey want and therefore the formulation of a solution is more like a bandaid totheir inability to define and pin down the problem they are actually facing.

Also let judgment come into play: Will this particular user andparticular feedback lead me to the mass market? Or is it an edge case?

CHESKY : If you want to build something that’s truly viral you have to create a total

mindfuck experience that you tell everyone about. We basically tookone part of our

product and we extrapolated what would a five star experience be. Thenwe went crazy.


So a five star experience is you knock on the door, they open thedoor, they let you in. Great. That's not a big deal. You're not going tellevery friend about it. You might say, “I used Airbnb. It worked.”

So we thought, “What would a six star experience be?” A six starexperience: You knock

on the door, the host opens. “Hey, I'm Reid. Welcome to my house.” You’re the host in

this case. You would show them around. On the table would be a welcomegift. It would

be a bottle of wine, maybe some candy. You'd open the fridge. There'swater. You go to

the bathroom, there’s toiletries. The whole thing is great. That's asix star experience.

You'd say, “Wow I love this more than a hotel. I'mdefinitely going to use Airbnb again. It

worked. Better than I expected.”

What's a seven star experience? You knock on the door. Reid Hoffmanopens. Get in. “Welcome.Here's my full kitchen. I know you like surfing. There's a surfboard waitingfor you. I've booked lessons for you. It's going to be an amazing experience.By the way here's my car. You can use my car. And I also want to surprise you.There’sthis best restaurant in the city of San Francisco. I got you a table there.” And you're like, “Whoa. This is waybeyond.”

So what would a ten star check in be? A ten star check in would be TheBeatles check in. In 1964. I'd get off the plane and there'd be 5,000 highschool kids cheering my name with cars welcoming me to the country. I'd get tothe front yard of your house and there'd be a press conference for me, and itwould be just a mindfuck experience.

So what would 11 star experience be? I would show up at the airportand you'd be there with Elon Musk and you're saying, “You're going tospace.”

The point of the the process is that maybe 9, 10, 11 are not feasible.But if you go through the crazy exercise of keep going, there’s some sweet spotbetween they showed up and they opened the door and I went to space.

That's the sweet spot. You have to almost design the extreme to comebackwards. Suddenly, doesn't knowing my preferences and having a surfboard inthe house seem not crazy and reasonable? It's actually kind of crazylogistically, but this is the kind of stuff that creates great experience.

Then you've got folks like Brian who say, “I realize that to getto this awesome experience, I have to ratchet back to something that still seems like magic, but is totally doable. And then I needto design the elements that get me into the totally doable thing.”

So how did Brian decide on the doable thing? He settled on a servicewith the appropriate level of magic, and started building it. And—here’s the next thing tonotice: They didn’tlaunch perfectly scaled services. They built everything by hand.


Why is it so important for you to have? Because it’s thesource of your conviction.

And that’s also where your conviction to keep going comesfrom

You have to be passionate "about things you do"because there are gonna be days where it's so hard, "it's easy tostop believing in it." Steve jobs

'Cause you need to have resilience and conviction to keepgoing, that’s the thing about start-ups, Chesky says when quoting Steve Jobs.

you have to have “this reservoir of deep passion for whatyou're doing, [otherwise] you'll kind of lose faith and stop believing in it,when it gets really hard.” Chesky

this conviction, this believe Air Bed and Breakfast wouldwork comes from the that very “first weekend we hosted three people and I sawhow my life changed. And I saw how other people's lives changed. They literallychanged. One person moved. The other person decied to go on a different path'cause of the designers he met.”

“And I thought, withJoe, if people could experience what I'd experienced that first weekend, thiswould be an idea that spread around the world.And I really believed that.”

Now I couldn't getpeople to actually give it a shot, but I believed that was a marketingchallenge and that we would get them to try it. Because we discoveredsomething.

And one of the thingsPaul Graham says is, "What insight do you have that no one else has?"

In other words, whatis something that you've discovered?

Often, a discoverydoesn't happen in a laboratory.

A discovery issomething that you hacked to solve a problem for yourself, and you accidentallydiscovered it's really cool, and if only other people knew about it. And myunique insight or discovery was staying with other people in their homes wasdeeply rewarding and saved money. It would be awesome and other people wouldwant to do it. And it was clearly non-intuitive, not obvious. Which is a good thing.'Cause when you tell people, they're like, "That will never work."

That means you have some “unique insight”, some “secrectsauce”, something people won't copy you for a couple of years.



It’s like improv just roll with what you’ve got.

What’s the secretinsight you have?

How do youoperationalize your secret?

For AirBnB it is a reputation system.

Reputation Systems

The Internet is all about creating reputation systems

Airbnb is all about creating the perfect experience. It usesthe review system to be able to use the reviews that were given on a place, asa predictive signal in the matching model (if you book this listing, how likelyare you to give a good review) Collect some amount of offline data from theactual experience you want to have, and then use that as a feedback mechanisminto our ranking model (what listings are we going to who you next time) Theobjective function for ranking is: how good of an experience you are going tohave. Then all this data about: What kind of experience did you actually haveout there in the world, can then be used to your next booking, and also to beable to use that data on how other people are going to book.

Reputation system through thereview system. Airbnb has to build this baseline of trust for others toexperience the perfect travel experience. Thy build it from people who can saythat they have been at a certain place or this host has many positive reviews.

Before any experience is published, it is reviewed based onthe below criteria and it must continue upholding these standards to remain on Airbnb.

To Learn: To thingsthat don’t scale

Beyond theintellectual exercise

The exercise is important. It supplies us with amazingopportunities to think outside the box and to innovate from zero to one. It isa wonderful opportunity to involve the entire organization.

To increase your success rate you should involve customerdata

And test it with customers

Ground your hypothesis in the empirical data reflected byyour operation and resources to make it a viable hypothesis for a businessopportunity.

If your reality is not the one, of being flooded withventure capital and talent and resources to

I dearly wish for you having this reality, I would love tohave this reality for myself, but my approach comes from not finding ourselvesin a Petri dish of which doesn’t mean that sound methods of finding fitnesswon’t be beneficial as long as you keep your beginner’s mindset even more. Butthat’s more in the responsibility and mindset of the founding team and initialboard.


So whether the Burj Al Arab or AirBnB they decided tocompete out of their league. They decided to make their entrepreneurialendavours true entrprneuerial endavours not just a market study and marketshare play, because a for a hotel like the Burj al arab it is dependen onlocation. Inorder to to scale their experience they would have to open severallocations and again find the best of the best in the world to ensure thegreatest experience they could think of. For AirBnB this means investing inbuilding a reputation system with evolutionairy like selection criteria.

This is why

This doesn’t mean AirBnB has selected to stay in a smallermarket of Couchsrufing

Nor a hotel booking site

They are not competing in markets, they are market makersand rather create new categories than staying within a predefined standard of mediocre.

They have don not the one or the other, they have done bothAND created that bigger vision of experience

Airbnb Experiences standards andrequirements

In addition to behaving inaccordance with our Community Standards, which apply to all community members,Airbnb experience hosts must meet the following quality standards andrequirements. Before any experience is published, it is reviewed based on thebelow criteria and it must continue upholding these standards to remain onAirbnb.

Conclude withconfidence and further resources

The latest paragraph should includelinks to some relevant pages and conclude with encouragement to explore moreabout the topic.

Analyzing the best existing clients and developing a “theperfect customer” profile

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