Could Web3 redefine how you add value to your customers?

A new type of internet approach is set to to disrupt the data models of many companies so they will need to come up with solutions that balance out the value, for them and their customers, says Steven Van Belleghem  

I have been fascinated by the rising phenomenon of Web3 and one of the things I have come to realise is that it will force brands to redefine the amount of value that they owe to customers.

In the past, brands offered products and services in return for money. Recently, that has started to change, and this straightforward exchange is often no longer enough. Customers have started to expect value for their lives and value for the wider- world too. For the moment, companies that are answering to that need are just creating a competitive edge for themselves. However, I do believe that this will become the ‘New Normal’ of CX in the future.

And that’s where the Web3 phenomenon comes in. Companies simply won’t have any other choice but to create extra value (on top of product or service) because Web3 will trigger a huge shift in the power relation between the brand and the consumer. The main reason for this is data, which used to lie in the hands of companies, but which will now be granted back to the user with Web3.

Under Web3 the customer will be able to choose if brands use their data, or not. This shift will cause major changes in the way companies sell themselves or how they organise their marketing, and will in turn accelerate overall value for the customer.

The norm of ‘give us your data and in return, we’ll suggest awesome products and service for you to buy’ will no longer be enough. In truth, the value that companies get from data is currently a lot bigger than that for the consumer. And that’s why I firmly believe that companies will need to boost the advantages that they offer the consumer – in many different ways – if they still want to receive data to use for marketing, optimisation or other processes.

So, how can we offer our customers the best value under Web3?

More personal value through data

A new ‘partner in life’ model is a great way to expand value. It’s about going beyond the customer journey, and catering to the life journey of your customer. Which aspects in their lives create negative or positive energy? What things cause them too much effort? If you can provide answers to these questions, you can optimise your emotional relationship with your customers.

For example, there is a new Samsung fridge, which scans its contents to see which products it contains. This information is linked to a database with recipes, which allows the fridge to suggest particular meals based on the ingredients on its shelves. If one or two of the ingredients for a particular recipe are missing, the fridge automatically adds them to your next shopping list. In this way, the fridge owner is assisted to prepare the family menu for the following day. The fridge also has the ability to select the ingredients that are closest to their expiry date, so that these can be used before it is too late. The fridge is a partner both in setting the family diet and in reducing expensive and environmentally unfriendly food wastage.

This is a great way of convincing consumers to share the data that they will now own in the Web3 age. Why? Because it increases the value for both parties: brand and consumer.

More contextual value through data

Another model that is relevant to accelerated CX value under Web3 is that of ‘saving the world’. This is about companies taking their responsibility to do good for society more seriously. Every company has strengths that it can use to create a societal and environmental added value. In the future all companies will need to search for concrete solutions and contributions that will allow their businesses to make a tangible positive impact.

Recently, I’ve been fascinated to see how the influence zone of a brand, or an organisation is expanding. For the past decades most organisations were focused on the influence sphere of their own company: their own organisation, processes, employees, products, and wider industry. Only a very small minority spent time acting upon extra issues and challenges that the world was facing. This is completely changing today, especially with events like the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Companies are no longer just monitoring what’s happening in the world but are playing an active and influential part in it. There are undoubtedly an increased number of customers expecting organisations to become part of the solution and actively influence every part of society, not just their own company or industry.

This broader contextual approach could be an incentive to convince Web3 users to share their data if it helps companies to fight global issues, such as deadly diseases, reducing carbon emissions or waste, better managing cities, fighting inequality etc.

More financial value through data

This is probably the most straightforward exchange of value for data: companies might offer micropayment to users in return for their data. This could for instance work in R&D environments where brands need a huge amount of personal data so that they can create useful solutions. Examples could be pharmaceutical companies performing research into certain genetic or other diseases, or governments of smart cities looking for ways to better optimise their architecture and city planning.

This approach of financial incentives will probably work better combined with one or two of the models above: if the consumer feels they will get not just financial value in return for data but personal, social or environmental value too, they will be more ready to share data.

More shared value through smart contracts

I’m very excited about what NFTs can mean for customer engagement and loyalty. Apart from creating whole new models of customer loyalty and entirely new direct to consumer business models, they could also provide more shared interest for the customer.

Imagine a very talented singer, who does not succeed in finding a record deal, despite having a large following on TikTok. Well, imagine that they could create a first album in the form of an NFT. The fantastic thing about this is that early fans could also get access to part of the revenues through a smart contract in this NFT. If you think that in the old world, 90% of the value went to the record company and only 10% to the creative talent, this new sharing of value is pretty clever. In this this way early fans also become loyal ambassadors and shareholders in the project. Just imagine how much the fans would gain if the artist they originally chose to support was someone like Ed Sheeran or Rihanna, growing to epic proportions of success. If the brand wins, the customer wins. I really love this new model of shared interest.

Smart contracts are of course different to the other topics I’ve mentioned, because it’s not exactly a way to convince consumers to share data. But, like the examples above, it is a great way of creating more value than was possible in the old world of Web2.

I’m always most excited when I see certain trends converging into something that’s a lot bigger than the sum of their parts and this could be one of those moments. There’s a huge personal, societal, and environmental need for brands to contribute with solutions to the worlds challenging, urgent and complex problems. And at the same time, this new type of internet approach is going to disrupt the data models (be it monetisation, optimisation or even purely marketing) of many companies and how they will need to come up with solutions that balance out the value, for them and the customer, in a way that Web2 has pretty much lost. When both converge, problem and opportunity might very well meet in a very interesting way.

Steven Van Belleghem is one of the world’s leading thought- leaders, speakers and authors on customer experience. His latest book, The CX Leader’s Manual to Customer Excellence can be downloaded for free at www.stevenvanbelleghem.com.

Steven Van Belleghem is one of the world’s leading thought- leaders, speakers and authors on customer experience. His latest book, The CX Leader’s Manual to Customer Excellence can be downloaded for free at www.stevenvanbelleghem.com.

You may also like...