By Steve Moran

This is not a story from senior living, but it is a great example of what an 11-STAR EXPERIENCE looks like. When I read it I was blown away. Here is the story (lightly edited):

In today’s world, corporate profits mean more than anything or so it seems . . . This is not the case with Chewy, the online pet supply company.

My 17-year-old tuxedo cat Cliff had a mass and I had to put him to sleep on February 3, 2020. The loss has been devastating especially since I recently retired and was looking forward to spending time with him particularly with social distancing and the states stay at home order.

Yesterday, I called them to straighten out an auto-order I forgot to stop and was delivered after the cat passed. My question to them was “what do I need to do to send my order back?” Their immediate response was to gift it to someone or some organization that needed it in Cliff’s memory.

The order was for $94.16. My credit card was reimbursed, and you’d think that was the end of the story, but no . . . I checked my credit card and saw that there were three additional charges. I called Chewy to figure out what was going on. I was a bit frustrated because I had to wait on hold for longer than I wanted to talk to someone.

Once we were connected, she explained that there were three orders shipped and billed separately, but the total of those three shipments totaled $94.16 for which I was reimbursed. But there is more . . . she did not hang up right away and asked me about my cat.

I told her Cliff’s story and broke down and cried while talking. I also told her that I appreciated Chewy’s commitment to pets and their owners and if I get another cat, I will definitely continue using Chewy.

Today, UPS rang my bell. I went out to see if it was really for me because the day before I got a package that was meant for a neighbor. I was shocked to see a box that looked like a flower delivery. I could not figure out who would send me flowers when it was not my birthday, Mother’s Day . . .

When I opened the box and read the card I was floored.

Chewy sent me a bouquet of 12 beautiful roses with this message: “We’re so sorry to hear of your loss of Cliff, and our hearts go out to you. We know this time is tough, and we’re always here if you need anything.

Love, Your Family”

11-Star Experience

My best bud, Denise Boudreau-Scott, president of Drive was the first one to introduce me to the concept of creating an 11-star experience. But the big idea is this: When you think of delivering an amazing experience to your customers what would it take to blow them away so badly that they wish they could give you an 11 on a 10-point satisfaction scale?

If you were to think about it in your business you would go through an exercise that looks something like this:

  1. Assume that a 5-star experience is average, nothing special but nothing worth complaining about. Think maybe going out to fast food, ordering, and getting exactly what you paid for in a timely manner. 
  2. Then what would be a 7-star experience, better than average, probably not remembered the day after? What would have to be added to get there?
  3. Then continue adding to say what would it take to create an 8-, 9-, and even 10-star experience? 
  4. Then finally what would make for an 11-star experience? Those rare times that you will be talking about a year or 3 years later.

I would also note that star experiences are relative to expectations. Meaning that for the Ritz Carlton to create an 11-star experience it needs to be hugely better than an 11-star experience at a Hampton Inn.

Just Getting By or Better Than That

We live in a time where many of us are just trying to survive the extra burdens dumped on us by COVID-19. And yet, maybe more than ever, thinking about creating an 11-star experience has never been more important for three reasons:

  1. In the face of our crisis, teams and residents need it more than ever.
  2. Given what we are facing, it is easier to do.
  3. It gives your team something positive to focus on.

Bright Spots

Over the last week or so, I have seen a number of stories about senior living leaders going out of their way to say thanks to their teams. Those are 11-star experiences. I find myself thinking one of the things operators might consider doing is rallying residents to think about how to create an 11-star experience for team members who are serving them every day.

If you are creating an 11-star experience for your teams or your residents right now, we would love to hear about it.