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Opinion CX Impact

AirBnB's Focus and Investment on Eliminating CX Friction Points

This week Fast Company had a great article about how AirBnB had helped drive momentum in its ‘host’ signups by its approach to unsticking the setup process. The article was about their approach to helping property owners to price their rentals using ‘predictive pricing’. The article is a great read and it inspired some secondary insights from our editorial team.

What Stands Out is the Customer Centricity

Many people think that online companies are soulless, server driven organizations. But surprisingly, if you look around, the very fact of being an online business has allowed companies like Amazon and now AirBnb to be far more ‘ human’ in their dealings with their customers.

Like many ‘intermediary’ type businesses, AirBnB has two customers :the ‘hosts’ and the ‘renters’. They have a unique challenge in satisfying both because without both in adequate numbers there is no business.

AirBnB has done a good job being customer centric in dealing with both their audiences. In this case, their laser focus on solving the biggest hurdle in the minds of their ‘hosts’ has allowed:

  1. much faster signups of new properties to add to their rental pool
  2. a higher rental success rate for those properties

It’s the Commitment Stupid

Looking in on their business, AirBnB seems to understand that their business is not about their software or service but about the interaction between their two customers layers. The company’s job is to remove as much friction as a possible from between those two groups.

Their commitment to that has led them to invest vast amounts in software development and acquiring companies that could smooth the interaction between hosts and renters. A lot of it has to do with accurate information about the neighborhoods properties are located in (which AirBnB has acquired a company to help with) and even more importantly, getting pricing right.

Pricing is the ultimate friction point

Pricing is by far the most important emotional trigger in any business relationship. Every feature, benefit and value is relative to the price being charged for it.

But its not only emotional for the buyer. It’s also critical for the seller’s experience.

AirBnB figured out early (as the article discusses) that pricing is the biggest sticking point for hosts. It’s where they get stuck when listing a property for the first time and equally importantly, it’s a huge factor in the booking volume a property gets.

The Big Takeaway

There are a lot of factors that go into a successful business but a key one is a a laser focus on (and significant investment in) removing the friction points that are most important to customers. There’s two key parts that AirBnb gets right in that context:

1. Dissecting the customer journey to identify and understand those friction points
2. Investing heavily in overcoming them

Mar 6, 2014 | Original Link
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