AirBNB’s Real Issue, Perfecting The Core Service & LinkedIn Recruiter 2024
8 October 2023 Newsletter
“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” Louis L’Amour
Hope you’re Thriving!
I’ve enjoyed a second week in Europe, this time in Barcelona, perhaps one of my favourite cities. Beyond the fantastic culture, learning how fiercely independent locals have resisted global platforms like AirBNB and Uber has been interesting. In fact, the streets of Barcelona feel more like they did pre-Uber everywhere else, often having more taxis than regular cars.
Also, it was wonderful to see my new book Onboarded for Managers reach Amazon best-seller status.
If you have a moment, I would love a review on Amazon for either Onboarded or Onboarded for Managers. Please note that you do NOT have to buy my books on Amazon to post a customer review, you just have to have an account on Amazon.
AirBNB’s Real Issue
As we’ve travelled through France and Spain with a large family group, we’ve been staying at AirBNB’s, and I’ve noticed a recurring trend.
The problem with AirBNB homes isn’t taking out the trash or cleaning fees, as discussed by the media.
The real problem with AirBNB’s is maintenance. In one place, the spa (chemicals) would ruin jewellery, the power outlets were dicey, and the first-floor shower leaked into the ceiling below. The back doors wouldn’t lock in another place; at another, it felt like most handles and drawers were broken or damaged. That’s only a few maintenance items among many – but these were expensive houses we stayed at. Guests don’t care to or don’t want to tell hosts about the problems for fear of inadvertently losing their bond, and hosts often don’t stay in the homes to learn about the issues (or don’t care).
If we look at the Brand Promise for guests on AirBNB
• Choice and variety of unique homes and locations
• Cheap(er) than a hotel
• Authenticity of staying in a local community
There seems to be no catalytic mechanism to counter the large pool of stock that might not be maintained.
Back in July, I discussed how AirBNB CEO Brian Chesky is working to improve the core offering, and why the software product isn’t suitable for today’s scale. That’s fine in terms of improving the selling process, but the operational process of the transaction is outsourced to hosts, with the only consequence of failure being a lower star rating from guests.
So, how is this relatable to your business?
Ask yourself, what’s the system in your business that’s causing the equivalent of poor maintenance for your customers?
What simple thing does your team regularly miss or forget to do that harms your customer’s experience?
The Year Of Perfecting AirBNB’s Core Service
Regardless of my above observations about guest house maintenance, Chesky is determined to remedy issues at AirBNB.
In fact, he has stopped all work on new products and laser-targeted the company on the core service for an entire year.
In an article this week, Chesky is quoted as saying:
“We need to make sure the listings are great, we’re providing great customer service, and we’re affordable. And I’ve told our team that we can get back to creating new and exciting things once we’ve fixed that foundation.”
“To use a precise metaphor, it’s kind of like we never fully built the foundation. Like, we had a house and it had four pillars when we needed to have 10”.
It’s fun to work on new and exciting things. I’m sure the teams would much rather be doing that instead of relentlessly focusing on operational excellence. But that’s what customers need, and if your offering is mediocre, customers will fulfil their needs (and take their dollars) elsewhere.
Chesky recognises that the stakes are high, and by not delivering excellence on the core – their brand promises – to delight guests, the business is at risk.
Ask yourself, is your business delivering excellence on the core?
Is your base value proposition being delivered flawlessly? And if not, what might that be costing you?
Finally, might you have the courage to stop everything to fix it like Brian Chesky?
LinkedIn Recruiter 2024
Microsoft owns LinkedIn and a part of OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, and we’re beginning to see how AI is changing LinkedIn.
In an interesting article this week, I saw how LinkedIn is offering a service to its users to rewrite their LinkedIn profile, improving how it’s written.
According to LinkedIn, we’re “moving toward a future in which each user has their own AI jobs coach, which can help spruce up their profile, recommend new roles and provide insights into the jobs market”.
In a new product called Learn with AI, users are then prompted to fill in the voids in their skillset. They are offered courses from LinkedIn Learning to fill their skills gaps and become more attractive to employers – relative to similar people.
Also, this week, LinkedIn released the next version of their Recruiter product, which aims to bring together all the data they have about people on their platform and present suitable candidates for recruiters or employers.
Interestingly, the value proposition recruiters offer goes something like this:
- Their database of relevant candidates
- Their ability to talk with potential candidates and have them consider working for your company
- Their ability to convince the right / best candidate to work for your company
In the ‘Wave 1’ release, the LinkedIn Recruiter product promises:
- Increased access to qualified talent by up to 10% with Recommended Matches
- A 40% increase in InMail acceptance rates when they personalise candidate outreach with AI-assisted messages
- Move candidates through the hiring funnel faster
I’m not saying that AI within LinkedIn will replace recruiters, but like many professional industries, it could supercharge the productivity of the A players (and wipe out the C players).
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