From Facebook to Salesforce, it seems like everyone is on the Blockchain bandwagon. But does it really live up to the hype, and meet expectations for a 360-degree transformation? Can it help improve customer Experience (CX)? In this article, we discuss:
- How Blockchain affects customer experiences
- Three Blockchain tips for CX initiatives
- Key considerations to remember
The Blockchain trend is literally taking over the world. Just like the HTTPS protocol or the cloud once transformed online interactions, Blockchain could have far-reaching impacts — from payments to customer experiences.
As a marketer, you’ve surely come across the various use cases of Blockchain in marketing campaigns and communication strategies. Given its high degree of security and transparency, this technology will prove to be a key investment area for brands.
Understanding Blockchain and Its Impact on Customer Experience
Too often, Blockchain has been associated with the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a virtual asset positioned as an alternative to dollars or gold. Despite its sudden popularity in recent years, Bitcoin remains largely unregulated and volatile, with only a few governmental entities now placing checks on it and monitoring it.
Blockchain, on the other hand, is a different story.
Blockchain, which is the technology that underpins Bitcoin, is extremely versatile and can be applied across industries and verticals. It is a framework for storing and exchanging data without the need to involve a centralized administrator. Instead of storing data in company-owned servers where they could be exploited/compromised, a Blockchain segments information of any kind – contracts, fiscal transactions, content, personal data, etc. – into blocks. Blocks are stored on peer-to-peer networks, where they are verified.
This means that, theoretically, you could upload a digital ad and automatically pay the publisher, without involving an intermediary engine. Or, your customers could open a promotional email and receive an incentive for opening it, without the email client being able to claim a share.
According to a study by Never Stop Marketing Research and Brave Software, blockchain use in martech has grown by 1,218% in 18 months, since Q3 in 2017. “Just like the Internet, mobile, and social, blockchain technology will dramatically impact the roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities for marketers at large enterprises. The explosive growth in offerings is proof that multiple sectors are ripe for disruption, regardless of where crypto asset prices are,” said Jeremy Epstein, CEO of Never Stop Marketing.
Apart from its sheer ease-of-use, which definitely has major impacts on customer experience, Blockchain is also:
- Immutable: Blocks once stored on the network cannot be changed and can only be added to – this minimizes the chance of fraud
- Anonymous: Data stored on blocks cannot be traced back to its source; you could draw insights from customer data without individual privacy being infringed
As a result, organizations are eager to adopt Blockchain technology to transform experiences and strengthen customer relationships.
Learn more: How Blockchain Can Help Solve Ad Fraud
Three Blockchain Tips for Your Customer Experience Initiatives
Blockchain will have multiple effects on customer experiences, but success will depend on how marketers leverage this technology to rethink existing touchpoints on the customer’s journey. Here are three Blockchain tips for you to explore as this trend gains momentum.
1. Build a Customer-to-Product Connect
Customers want to learn more about the products they consume, and an engaging product narrative can go a long way in improving conversions. For example, environmentally conscious buyers are more likely to choose a product with ingredients listed in detail. From restaurants to lifestyle, brands across industries are increasingly keen to show that they are responsibly sourcing raw materials.
Blockchain can work as a centralized repository of product data, storing information from each step of your supply chain. This information can be shared with customers, or even be used to create an entire campaign to increase conversion rates.
2. Make Loyalty & Rewards Programs Simpler, and Less Intrusive
Although loyalty and rewards programs have been around for years, adoption rates recently have been less than impressive. In the US, only 52.3% of loyal customers were willing to join the brand’s rewards programs in 2018 – and this is an audience which is already engaged, interested and involved.
Blockchain could completely transform how you share rewards and incentivize customer activity. The email automation example mentioned above is a great starting point. Simply link the content with a virtual token that is credited to the customer’s account on opening. Digital wallets take this a step further, allowing customers to reimburse credits and rewards at their convenience. In fact, the flexibility enabled by Blockchain is a key impact on CX.
3. Empower Customers With Robust Self-Service Capabilities
In the digital era, self-service has become popular with more customers choosing online self-help instead of turning to human executives. That’s why after-sales services are even more critical for CX and can be the differentiating factor between a return visit, or churn.
Blockchain will help automate support transactions and store the data on a singular platform. Customers can even access knowledge shared by previous users, with the relevant data securely stored in blocks. Unlike traditional self-service platforms, customers can opt for paid support in an instant — adding to your revenues and shortening support timelines.
Key Considerations Before Using Blockchain for Customer Experience Transformation
Despite the hype, it’s still early days in the lifecycle of blockchain technology. Social media and marketing technology giant, Facebook, recently made headlines for its blockchain currency, Libra. However, just weeks after it went official Libra has received instructions to halt development — since US government entities are unsure of the risk that could arise from the widespread use of cryptocurrency.
If you’re interested in using blockchain for customer experiences, it makes sense to partner with an expert to help you navigate this landscape. Interestingly, Salesforce introduced its blockchain platform in May this year, requiring minimal coding from marketers. Salesforce Blockchain and similar solutions could help you gather a vast amount of customer data with zero security/privacy concerns, and help you come up with innovative marketing strategies that are perfectly in-tune with customer needs.
From real-time data-driven campaigns to changing frontline interactions, Blockchain promises a whole new world of engagement and trust, transforming how marketers talk to and interact with their customers.