There's a lot of discussion about Web3, the distributed web and blockchain technology. This new iteration of the internet will put control over data and content back in the hands of users and creators. It will enhance privacy, increase digital trust and loyalty and provide a more immersive experience. But how does that translate to business and the customer experience?
Mustafa Inamullah, product manager at Wyre, a payment API provider, told CMSWire that although technologists can speculate on how Web3 will improve the customer experience, it’s the creators and innovators who will actually fulfill its promises.
“We can tell you about the new concepts that are possible with Web 3, but the true blue-chip ideas will be brought about by the ingenuity of brilliant creators all over the world. We’re still early,” said Inamullah.
Web3 Will Improve Data Privacy
“We do know the general theme of Web3 is bringing power back to the individual," said Inamullah. In Web 2.0 you never owned your data. Companies owned it and they profited greatly. In Web3 you own your data. You could sell it if you want to, or you could simply remain anonymous. Expect a generation of micropayment incentivized and privacy-based interactions across the web. This small little nugget of truth snowballs into pretty significant change.”
Jonathan Moran, product marketing manager for SAS Customer Intelligence, spoke with CMSWire about the benefits of Web3 for customers. Moran said that because Web3 is about creating a decentralized online ecosystem based around blockchain and cryptocurrencies, security is a key element.
“To that end, big tech companies are gearing up for the security requirements that consumers have and will continue to place on brands,” said Moran. “Because brands are responsible for managing the customer experience and allowing individual consumers to own their individual customer experience, they are already placing and creating technologies to improve data privacy — to impact overall CX.”
The industry trend towards putting consumers back in control of their data is indicative of an overall change in the way brands operate. Since the pandemic, the customer experience has been at the top of brands’ priorities, and consumer privacy is a big part of that.
“Perhaps the most popular is the removal of third-party cookies in favor of first FLoCs and now Topics for interest-based advertising,” said Moran. “Topics will allow consumers to own their browsing history and keep it on their own devices without involving any external servers, including Google servers. This keeps consumers in control of their data that they share.”
Additionally, email and instant messaging on Web3 platforms are much more secure from hacks, as well as corporate data sniping. Although current chat messaging platforms use end-to-end encryption — which prevents potential third-party monitors from seeing message content — they store that data with a third party (such as the WhatsApp servers). With Web3, because it’s decentralized, it’s secure on both ends and doesn’t require a third party to host data or applications.
Related Article: Understanding Web3's Supporting Blockchain Technology
Web3 Will Increase Digital Trust
Trusting a person or a brand involves estimating the probability of how they or it will act. It’s something that puts the person doing the trusting in a state of vulnerability. Trust is a feeling of confidence and security in the way an entity will behave. Customers trust brands that are honest, consistent, provide value and put people first.
With Web 2.0, while we bathed in a sea of social media, a corporate focus on growth over trust paved the way for cyber harassment and software attacks. As of 2021, 41% of Americans have experienced online harassment, which can include offensive name calling, stalking, physical threats and sexual harassment. Hacker attacks also occur every 39 seconds, affecting one in three Americans each year.
It’s pretty clear: Web 2.0 demolished trust for many people. But Web3 is poised to reestablish it.
“Think of our valuable identity information like gold breadcrumbs. We leave a trace of them everywhere,” said David Mahdi, CSO and CISO advisor for Sectigo, a digital identity solution provider.
“In Web3, the hope and promise are that users will have more control over their data. Ideally, there will be simple and intuitive interfaces that allow users to understand what information they are sharing with web service providers. Many will call this Decentralized Identity, others call this Self-Sovereign identity. But overall, this is starting to look like it will be foundational for Web3 systems.”
Web3 Will Innovate Customer Loyalty
This control over one’s identity and data will change the playing field for consumers and brands. “Much will change in terms of the look and feel, but the most notable change will be how users control and store their valuable information, such as their digital identities and attributes (i.e. age, address, email address, geo-location, etc.),” explained Mahdi.
“Digital Identity-wallets will act as a critical element in the Web3 world: holding all of the keys to the Web3 kingdom. In Web3 it is all about user-centric control over their identity and related information.”
Because Web3 provides a transparent methodology for dealing with consumer data through blockchain technology, brands will be able to assure customers that their data is safe, because the customer remains in control.
“The direct result of improved data privacy and security is increased digital trust.,” said Moran. “Trust requires transparency and open communication on behalf of the brand, but the loyalty that trust drives is worth the communication required.
“If consumers feel comfortable visiting properties, allowing data collection and even submitting zero party data, then brands win. Web3's security protocols and standards will cause consumers to display loyalty to trusted brands, and consumers won’t interact with brands where trust isn’t present.”
Web3 Will Offer an Immersive Customer Experience
There is much talk about the metaverse, though it's viewed by many as only one aspect of Web3. As Web 2.0 applications begin to use Web3 principles and technologies, the concepts of Web3 and the metaverse will likely merge into one.
Brands will want to have a presence in the metaverse, because similar to social media, many of their customers will participate in this new immersive realm. Additionally, the immersive experience will extend across all of a brand’s channels and touchpoints.
“Immersive customer experiences are created by managing the customer journey across a variety of channels or touchpoints with the intent of continually improving the brand-to-customer relationship,” said Moran.
“A brand that can seamlessly mix traditional channel experiences (web, email, mobile) with natural experiences (physical in-store, call center, voice to text, chat, haptic) and extended experiences (augmented, virtual, mixed reality) throughout the customer journey are prime candidates for being able to provide immersive CX.”
Although the actual Web3 metaverse experience is still years away for most consumers, the core technologies are already in use and will see increased acceptance and adoption in the coming years.
Moran added, “The introduction of Web3 will make immersive CX a reality for the most advanced brands. Immersive CX creation and delivery using technologies such as AI, ML and VR will improve customer satisfaction metrics like engagement times and scores, conversion rates, customer and employee loyalty and overall brand advocacy.”
Related Article: Web3: CXM Revolution or Fad?
Web3 puts consumer data back in the hands of the customer. Data privacy is enhanced through transparency, and digital trust and loyalty are improved, allowing the customer to have a positive, immersive experience across all of a brand’s channels.