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Designing a star studded experience for your customers

Designing a star studded experience for your customers

"If you want to build something that’s truly viral, you have to create a total mindf@#k experience that you tell everyone about. We basically took one part of our product and we extrapolated: what would a five-star experience be?"

This is Brian Chesky, Founder of AirBnB, on Reid Hoffman's Masters of Scale Podcast talking about the exercise every entrepreneur should go through to figure out where they want to take their product experience. Brian details how they thought about their star experience design at AirBnB.

Brian continues, "Then we went crazy. So a one-, two-, or three-star experience is, you get to your Airbnb and no one is there. You knock on the door. They don’t open. That’s a one-star. Maybe it’s a three-star if they don’t open, you have to wait 20 minutes. If they never show up and you’re pissed and you need to get your money back, that’s a one-star experience. You’re never using us again. So a five-star experience is you knock on the door, they open the door, they let you in. Great. That’s not a big deal. You’re not going to tell every friend about it. You might say, “I used Airbnb. It worked.”

So we thought, “What would a six-star experience be?” A six-star experience: You knock on the door, the host opens. “Hey, I’m Reid Hoffman. Welcome to my house.”. You would show them around. On the table would be a welcome gift. It would be a bottle of wine, maybe some candy. You’d open the fridge. There’s water. You go to the bathroom, there are toiletries. The whole thing is great. That’s a six-star experience. You’d say, “Wow, I love this more than a hotel. I’m definitely going to use Airbnb again. It worked. Better than I expected.” What’s a seven-star experience? You knock on the door. Reid Hoffman opens. Get in. “Welcome. Here’s my full kitchen. I know you like surfing. There’s a surfboard waiting for 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’s this best restaurant in the city of San Francisco. I got you a table there.” And you’re like, “Whoa. This is way beyond.”

Brian Chesky - Masters of Scale

So what would a ten-star check-in be? A ten-star check-in would be the Beatles check-in in 1964. I’d get off the plane and there’d be 5,000 high-school kids cheering my name with cards welcoming me to the country. I’d get to the front yard of your house and there’d be a press conference for me, and it would be just a mindf@#k experience. So what would an 11-star experience be? I would show up at the airport and you’d be there with Elon Musk and you’re saying, “You’re going to space.” The point of the process is that maybe nine, 10, 11 are not feasible. But if you go through the crazy exercise of keep going, there’s some sweet spot between “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 come backwards. Suddenly, doesn’t knowing my preferences and having a surfboard in the house seem not crazy but reasonable? It’s actually kind of crazy logistically, but this is the kind of stuff that creates a great experience." concludes Brian.

But, as startup founders, we are dreamers by design (one might even say delusional), we have to come back to earth at some point. Our customers would definitely have one-, two- and three-star experiences early on and we, at Funnelll, had our fair share of that. Broken logins that resemble the customer knocking on the door without an answer, lengthy onboarding that resembles a customer waiting for 20 minutes on our door, and you can imagine the rest.

As part of our onboarding for any new employee to Funnelll, we do the "star experience design". It is OK to have one-star experiences from time to time but the important thing is for you and your team to realize it. "This is a one-star experience" you would hear us say when we hit one of those 'bugs' then we set out to make sure it never happens again.

This process also guides our product roadmap. Today we are between the four- stars experience trying the knock on the door of five-stars and, boy, that was not an easy journey to take. I, personally, think Product/Market fit starts at a six-star experience and I want to make sure that my team understands what that looks like.

For us at Funnelll, a platform that helps startups and SMBs run their own marketing campaigns like pro marketeers, our six-stars experience is one where you are able to signup, link your analytics and ad accounts, and, voila, you'd be able to see what your customers are doing on your website, how far they are going on their customer journey, what are your bottlenecks, drivers, and get actionable advice from your platform on how you can tune your marketing campaigns and products that would give you 10X sales in less than a quarter. We've customers who have reached 3X so we are on the way but still have a long way to go.

Your customers during your one-, two-, three-star days are also going to be very different from your five and up. So, if you are interested in trying our four-star, and help us get to the next level, give us a visit at and let me know :-)

Best of luck everyone!

About Author: Sherif Ali is the founder of Funnelll; a platform that helps you run your own high-performing marketing campaigns like a pro. No coding, complex integrations, or data science needed.


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