7 Star Service - Is your firm the next Airbnb?

Business Development Featured

Erryn Worth, National Communications and Marketing Manager, Centrepoint Alliance

Client expectations have shifted to a new paradigm. With the onslaught of the on-demand economy, customers expect five star experiences as a basic minimum. In this new paradigm, how well do the client experiences in your financial advice firm stack up?

At a recent strategy session, our creative agency – Trout Creative Thinking – introduced the group to the 7 star design principle¹. Developed by Brian Chesky, co-founder of Airbnb, the framework was used by Airbnb during a recent redesign and sought to storyboard the entire Airbnb customer experience – both online and offline.

7 Star Design Principle

Here’s the exercise applied to the experience of arriving at your Airbnb.

5 Stars: Knock on the door, they open, and let you in. Standard.

6 Stars: Knock on the door, your host welcomes you, on the table there is a bottle of wine, the fridge has water, and there are toiletries in the bathroom.

7 Stars: Knock on the door. There’s a fully stocked kitchen. The host booked you surfboard lessons and supplied a surfboard because he knows you like to surf. He lets you borrow his car, and got you a table at a fancy restaurant.

8 Stars: You land at the airport and there is a limousine waiting to take you to the apartment. The limousine knows all your preferences and is stocked with food and drinks.

9 Stars: You show up at the airport and there is a parade in your honour. There is an elephant there that you ride along with the parade to your apartment.

10 Stars: When you get off the plane there are 5,000 high school students cheering your name. When you get to the front yard, you give a press conference announcing your arrival. This is the Beatles check in.

Brian Chesky said, “Maybe 8, 9, and 10 are not possible, but if you keep going and push your boundaries you’ll find a sweet spot that is both feasible, and so remarkable that you tell everyone about it. You have to design the extreme to come backwards to something amazing.”

Designing financial advice experiences

When people hear the word design, the first thing they think about is pixel placement, logos, whitespace, etc. But if you are designing for your customers and users you have to think about it in a broader context. You have to think about the entire experience they have using your product or service.

Steve Jobs once said: “A lot of people have the fallacy that design is how it looks. Design is how it works.”

So, now it’s your turn. Think about the financial advice experience at your advice firm. Think about what you would expect your firm to do if you were the client. Then take it one step further. What would be an experience that you would say “wow” to? Then keep going further and further, slowly removing any technical and logistical constraints.

You might just end up somewhere amazing. And, if you do, we’d love you to share in the comments!

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1 Hoffman, R. (2017). Handcrafted. [podcast] Masters of Scale. https://mastersofscale.com/brian-chesky-handcrafted/