What can we learn from disrupters like Airbnb which have introduced the sharing economy into the business landscape? This new business model has impacted customer experience expectations even beyond tech platforms. In today’s conversation with Joseph Michelli, we discuss his latest book, The Airbnb Way. In this book, Joseph looks at how Airbnb has been able to thrive, based on 5 key concepts that can be applied to any industry.
Extremely passionate about customer experience, Joseph Michelli is a sought-after thought leader in this space. He has authored numerous books, highlighting methods that some of the nation’s most well-known companies have used to achieve unparalleled success. Joseph and I have a very lively discussion and I encourage you to listen to the full episode for more great insights!
5 Lessons to Apply to Your Customer Experience
According to Joseph, Airbnb creates a sense of belonging for the host, who then aims to provide that experience for the guest. Airbnb helps the host see the vision of an aligned True North experience. This True North means that there’s a singular mission and set of values that are understood by all; the host understands that they’re aspiring to live a branded experience. Joseph shares that it then becomes the host’s responsibility to ensure that the guest feels like they belong. Meeting this feeling of belonging is catering to a basic human need.
“I could go to South Africa tomorrow and plop into a location and I should feel like I belong in this (Airbnb) building. And if we do that, we beat the hotels because in all due respect, very seldom do I go to a Hampton Inn or name your hotel, and I meet that person at the front desk, and I genuinely feel I belong,” says Joseph.
Joseph shares that reputation systems are built into Airbnb’s design for the intention of fostering trust. “If you’re in business today, you’re in the people business. You know, we have to somehow manage the perceptions of other human beings to be in business. […] So from the perspective of a business leader, if you are distrustful, you will treat all your customers as not trustworthy, and thus you will be viewed by them as not trustworthy,” he says. Joseph goes on to say that it’s important to do core exercises and have dialogues around policies. Work with the notion that humanity is trustworthy while managing expectations and not being naive.
(3) Hospitality as an Approach
Developing your approach to business affects your level of hospitality. According to Joseph, if you think in the terms of “customer service,” the business may come across as more transactional. When you think in terms of customer experience, it’s richer than service. “In many ways, hospitality is owning that service needs to have a heart attached to it. So the definition of hospitality in the world of Airbnb is service with heart,” says Joseph. He shares that an organization should showcase authentic caring in the form of creating belonging for the audience.
If you think in terms of customer service, the business may come across as more transactional. When you think in terms of customer experience, it's richer than service. -- @josephmichelli #CX Click To Tweet
Is your company helping people find their power? Joseph explains that it’s important to help people leverage their economic power, stating, “I think a lot of our job in the world today is to help people experience the power of themselves. That’s that individuality. That’s the personalization that we’re trying to create for people. It’s giving them the ability to find their uniqueness in the world through our service.”
Joseph believes that it’s important to integrate community into your business model. He shares the following, regarding Airbnb’s community involvement: “This is really a lot about trying to find ways to rally the community around causes. So you’ll see Airbnb hosts, at times of hurricanes, opening their homes at no charge for displaced people, a lot of social causes, you know, around refugees — as part of belonging anywhere. And then there’s the community of Airbnb which fosters and nurtures the community that forms between hosts and guests.”
Think Beyond Transactional Elements
Joseph also leaves us with this gem of advice: “What I frequently say to organizations and people who are a level below leadership teams is to push your leaders to constantly be setting the outcome, the emotional outcome of their relationship with the customer, not just the transactional metrics of the day, and frankly, start helping us get the silos broken down so that we can work collaboratively to make this happen.”
“A lot of what I see in Airbnb is technologies that have worked against silos. I’ve seen lots of work within the inside of this organization done to create open mindsets, lots of training on open mindsets. I think we ‘get’ showing tactical, but what we’re trying to deliver is something that is very emotional.”
About Joseph MichelliJoseph A. Michelli, Ph.D., C.S.P., is an internationally sought-after speaker, author, and organizational consultant. He is also a New York Times #1 bestselling author. Joseph transfers his knowledge of exceptional business practices in ways that develop joyful and productive workplaces with a focus on the total customer experience. His insights encourage leaders and frontline workers to grow and invest passionately in all aspects of their lives.
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