11-star experience

Ever done an 11-star experience exercise?

If you want to give your customers an experience so remarkable they can’t help but tell others about your product, you should try it.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Describe a crappy experience with your product (1-star)
  2. Describe an amazing experience with your product (5-star)
  3. Keep going until you get to an experience so absurd it would be impossible (11-star)

Let’s use Airbnb as an example. What would their 11-star experience look like?

  • 1-star: I go to the website and it takes forever to load. I sit there for 2+ minutes and leave out of frustration.
  • 3-star: The website loads! But when I search for a place, only a few results come up. One looks OK. I message the host with a question but still haven’t heard back 2 days later. I’m annoyed, but book anyway.
  • 5-star: I find multiple incredible places. The hosts respond to questions within minutes. When I show up to the place I book, the host greets me with a smile. It’s spotless, has an amazing view, and the host is easy to reach whenever I need something.
  • 7-star: Gift bags are waiting for my wife and me when we arrive. Our names are on them. Cheese, wine, and chocolate truffles are arranged throughout the place. We’re blown away.
  • 9-star: After booking, the host sends a care package to our house. A car is waiting for us at the airport when we arrive at our destination. We enter the house and find a personal chef making dinner. After dinner, a masseuse is waiting for us.
  • 11-star: Elon Musk picks us up from the airport. We ride on the back of an elephant from the airport to the house. A giant parade of people welcome us. Elon flys us on a private trip around the moon.

This exercise expands your idea of what’s possible with your product by taking you to the absurd. I first heard about it from Brian Chesky, the co-founder and CEO of Airbnb.

The point isn’t to build the 11-star experience, or even the 9-star experience. But the ideas you come up with for the 7-star experience are closer to your reach than you realize.

Focus on them and amazing things can happen.

Your Action Items:

  1. Set a 30-minute timer.
  1. Open a Google Doc and start dreaming—get your team together (or a group of friends) if possible and field their ideas as well.
  1. Go build the 7-star experience.

I’d love to see your results.

Leave a comment below and share them with me.