The internet of customer value
These are truly interesting times for those of us who are passionate about CX. We have front row seats to the emergence of the next internet model with a completely new type of enhanced interface and an empowered role for the customer. If Web3 and the metaverse (and their combination) deliver on their promise, the relationship between brands and consumers will be completely redefined: power will shift, communities will grow, loyalty will transform, expectations will rise and perhaps the way we conduct economy will even change. I truly believe that the only way to thrive and even survive in this new era, is by offering more value to your customers, in all shapes and sizes: from shared value through NFTs to personal, transactional, emotional, entertaining and contextual value to even financial value through micropayments in return for the use of data. And I think it’s a combination of two things driving this craving for more real value. First of all, Covid has forced people to reevaluate what matters to them. That same dynamic triggered the Great Resignation and I think that it has also driven them to zoom into the ethics of the market and how brands are treating them personally. They are becoming fed up with brands destroying the planet or those that use clever tricks to take advantage of them or manipulate them into doing things they don’t want to.
People are starting to notice that the balance is warped and they want to redistribute the power. It’s just a further evolution from what I described in my book ‘The Offer You Can’t Refuse’, enhanced by the impact of the pandemic. We could compare it to what happens when people reevaluate their lives and what’s important to them when they survived something traumatic like a near-death experience. Just like that, many of us were fearing our own death and even that of society or the market as we knew them. And when that didn’t happen, we started to think hard about some of the market and CX dynamics that take more from us than they offer back. And second, emerging at the very same time, we have these two co-evolving and converging types of technology that promise to fix this unbalance in many ways and offer more value than ever to customers. They are not new technologies. In fact, the first VR/ AR head mounted display (called Sword of Damocles) that was connected to a computer and not a camera was created in 1968 by Ivan Sutherland and his student Bob Sproull. That’s more than 50 years ago. And while the first decentralized blockchain was conceptualized by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008, Cryptographer David Chaum already proposed a blockchain-like protocol in his 1982 dissertation “Computer Systems Established, Maintained, and Trusted by Mutually Suspicious Groups”.
Since then, both technologies kept evolving and even experienced ‘winters’, just like AI did. And today, especially when it comes to cryptocurrencies and NFTs, I think we might be experiencing a bubble (see further in the e-book). But I also believe that these are the right technologies for this moment in time and a great match for the changed attitude of consumers. Victor Hugo wrote it almost 200 years ago: “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” Well, I believe that that time may very well have arrived for Web3 and the metaverse. Yes, we are absolutely not there yet when it comes to adoption and user experience and, and, yes, we may be finding ourselves in a bubble, put the potential for positive change and for more value is huge.