CMO Blockchain Primer: Customer Experience Expectations Will Continue to Skyrocket

The following is an excerpt from the new e-book, The CMO Primer For The Blockchain World: How This “Trust Machine” Impacts Branding, Customer Experience, Advertising and Much More by Jeremy Epstein, CEO of Never Stop Marketing.

It features forewords by the CMO of Nasdaq, Jeremy Skule and the CMO of Dun & Bradstreet, Rishi Dave. The e-book explores seven different marketing functions and how blockchains might impact them as well as highlighting a few emerging vendors in the blockchain marketing tech space.

To download the FREE e-book, please click here.

Customer Experience Expectations Will Continue to Skyrocket

Familiar Challenges

According to the Harvard Business Review, “customers who had the best past experiences spend 140% more compared to those who had the poorest past experience.” American Express tells us that “55% walked away from an intended purchase in the past year because of a poor customer service experience.”

The arrival of social and mobile-empowered customers has increased the pressure on companies to deliver great customer experiences. No one wants to become the centerpiece of the next United Airlines ejection news cycle; at the same time, we are all subject to the Amazonification of expectations: regardless of the industry, customers now expect Amazon Prime level service.

Where Blockchain Technology Can Fit In

Blockchains create a shared data layer that is open and available for others. Instead of only seeing the transactions that occur within your enterprise, you could see all of the transactions in a given industry or protocol (with some anonymization). This will take “Big Data” to an entirely new level.

A blockchain-based identity system could simplify the process of creating, maintaining, and leveraging a unified view of the customer, enhancing your ability to provide a more cohesive experience. The big caveat here is that you will not own the customer data. The customer will give you access to PII on a permissioned basis. As a CMO, you will need to earn (and more importantly, re-earn) the right to customer data.

Given the right incentives in a blockchain-based identity system, customers will attest to their ownership of an account. It will be just like how they connect to social and email today, but with greater security and verifiability. These attestations will be cryptographically linked to each other (and cryptographically linked with data from internal systems) to provide an immutable record that offers greater confidence about the nature of the customer relationship across the enterprise and possibly the partner ecosystem.

A first-generation example of how this could work comes from On Keybase, an individual sets up an account and then provides cryptographic attestation of his ownership of various social accounts, which proves he is the rightful owner. This data is available for everyone with blockchain access to leverage, though in the Keybase example, ownership of the data resides entirely with the customer.

Another example is OneName which is a decentralized version of the same concept. Below, I have cryptographically proven my ownership of the associated social media accounts.

Near-Term Impacts and Benefits

You should expect to see a slew of offerings from both start-ups and existing technology vendors that will offer artificial intelligence solutions to derive marketing insights from the open data available on blockchains. We haven’t discovered any companies/projects that offer this specifically, but it’s not far off.

On the identity front, you will most likely begin to see two types of vendor offerings in the next few years in the blockchain-based customer relationships space. Most likely these will be private blockchains, limited to implementation within one enterprise or across an ecosystem.

Vendors like IBM are pushing further into the business side of the enterprise. You should also begin to see traditional CRM vendors like Salesforce integrate blockchain technology.

While it will not be perfect, you will have greater confidence that, @Alice123 on Twitter is the same person as and so on. Seeing the interactions of a given profile across your touchpoints (and your partner’s touchpoints) will give you a much greater understanding of the customer journey, helping you know the customer and treat them like the individual they are, all while building trust. In the interim phase between the current environment where PII data is stored in corporate silos to an environment where data is owned entirely by customers, there should be decent value for CMOs who effectively take advantage of blockchain-based identity systems.

Long-Term Impacts and Benefits

The benefits gleaned from private blockchain-based CRM solutions are likely to be short-lived. Ultimately, individuals, not brands, will control access to identity and personal information through blockchain-based services and experiences like Civic, uPort, MetaMask, Blockstack or Toshi.

To make it a bit more real, let’s look at an example from MetaMask. Let’s say you want to use the site to trade digital currencies. Go there in a browser (at the time of this publication) and you’ll see this:

You are now able to access any distributed application via a Chrome browser.

Notice that the account number in the MetaMask extension and the account number on the top right of the screen in the OasisDex site are the same.

In this screenshot, the user is now logged into the site and can begin using it. There was no sign-in page, no password. Credentials are automatically verified and the application doesn’t retain PII anywhere.

This is a dramatically different experience than the one we have today. Instead of keeping a series of passwords or using a tool like LastPass, a customer has a cryptographic proof to her identity and credentials. She can prove she is eligible to shop on your site as a US citizen without telling you any personal information whatsoever. Additionally, because the app itself is decentralized, there is no tracking imposed on the customer.

What this means is that delivering great customer experiences based on tracking customer behavior across websites will become a greater challenge. Consumers likely will migrate to blockchain-based social networks that preserve anonymity like Mastodonor Steemit (decentralized versions of Twitter and Reddit, respectively). These protocols could begin the disintermediation of Twitter and Facebook, unless they decentralize themselves first.

There’s one other component of blockchain-based systems that will impact customer experience: switching costs. In a world of Fat Protocols and Thin Applications, it is possible to move from one interface to another in a matter of seconds. Imagine the possibility of moving from Citi to Chase in less than a minute. Impossible, right? Yet, you can easily move from a Jaxx Bitcoin wallet to a wallet in under 1 minute. All you need is your private key.

Just like Uber, AirBnB, and Amazon redefined what was possible in our minds in terms of customer experience, we will see the same “bleeding over” of expectations as more people interface with blockchain-native applications. The fact that customers will easily move from app to app to interface with their protocol of choice will put pressure on entrenched industries to lower switching costs. In this future, customers might reasonably ask something that seems counterintuitive by today’s standards like, “Why can’t I use the Chase app to access and move money that is sitting in my Citi account?”

To retain and monetize customers, CMOs of the future will need to obsessively focus on CX (at the app layer) and utility (at the protocol layer).

Bottom line:
The arrival of blockchain technology means that:

  • You will have much greater confidence in the integrity and accuracy of the data you use as the source of customer insights
  • Obtaining perpetual access to customer data will be more difficult
  • Stitching together behavior patterns across an ecosystem will be more challenging
  • Expectations for frictionless experiences will increase

Suggested Action:

Ask your Customer Experience team (if you have one) precisely how they measure CX, what the components are, and how everything connects to either increased revenue, reduced costs or reduced risks.If you do not have a Customer Experience team, ask yourself the same question re: revenue, costs, and risks.