After receiving this advice from Graham, Chesky realized that it would take more than 5-star service to make fans love Airbnb, because 5-star service had become the norm. This is 5 star. 8 star service – There is a giant parade when you arrive at the airport and you are honored for coming. If you work backwards from the 10-star review, you’ll realize how simple it is to provide above-and-beyond service at the 6-star level or better. Set aside a couple hours a week to engage with the content your clients are sharing on social media. You might think that any effort you put into interacting with a company on social media will only be noticed by that company’s social media manager. The effort you put into social media can earn new business, but even more importantly, it can earn repeat business from your existing customers. As an example, our company AmpliPhi, is working toward this model: 5 star service – After a great yearlong relationship, you count AmpliPhi (and our staff) as your biggest fans on social media. What about 6 star, though? What would going just a bit further beyond 5 star mean to you and your customers?
“It’s better to have 100 fans that love you than 1 million fans that like you.” — Y Combinator founder Paul Graham
This was the advice that galvanized Airbnb founder Brian Chesky into creating a paradigm for service beyond five stars. Chesky shared this story in an interview with LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman during a class at Stanford University.
After receiving this advice from Graham, Chesky realized that it would take more than 5-star service to make fans love Airbnb, because 5-star service had become the norm. He wanted the service to be so good that customers would contact the company and demand to award a six-star review instead of the usual maximum of five.
Here’s the excerpt from the show notes, when Chesky explained what service beyond five stars even looks like:
“5 star service – You leave the airport, go to the Airbnb, your hosts are in the house, they let you in. This is 5 star. Worse than this is if your host is late (4 star) and the worst is if your host never showed up (1 star).
6 star service – All of the above + your host picks you up at the airport.
7 star service – All of the above + there is a limo waiting for you at the airport and inside the limo are your favorite chips and coconut water.
8 star service – There is a giant parade when you arrive at the airport and you are honored for coming.
9 star service – The moment you step off the plane there is 5,000 screaming fans holding signs for your arrive – we call this the Beatles check-in.
10 star – I could go all the way up to 30 stars – I won’t, but 10 stars would be when you arrive and a Tesla with your name on it is waiting for you and in the car the driver is Elon Musk, and instead of your Airbnb, Elon takes you to outer space.
I exaggerated this to make a point but the principle is if what you need to do is find 100 people who love you — 5 star is what people expect. For them to love you, you need to do more than what they expect. We play out these scenarios all of the time — once you go up to 10 stars, 6 stars doesn’t seem so crazy anymore.”
You don’t have to be an Airbnb host to provide six-star service…