That said, it is equally true that most people do not truly understand what blockchain is. Ask most people for insight and they will likely mention cryptocurrency. Some may even think it is the same as Bitcoin given how often the two words are mentioned in the same sentence. The overwhelming fact is that, outside of the financial sector, there is a general lack of knowledge about blockchain and that is concerning given the likes of Harvard Business Review believe it has the potential to create new foundations for our economic and social systems.
Yes – blockchain is a key technology behind the crypto revolution but it is so much more than a tool solely for the management of digital finances. Widely described as a ‘disruptive’ technology, it is focused on trust and security, hence why it has proven so popular among money movers. However, there are plenty of other sectors where those two attributes play a crucial role for both customers and the businesses that serve them.
With all the hype surrounding cryptocurrency, there has not been enough attention paid to the role blockchain can play in enhancing customer experience, digital solutions and contact centres. After all, a commitment to security and trust lies at the heart of the CX and that is why the time has come for business leaders to get a better understanding of blockchain and the potential it has to streamline their operations, foster happier customers and ultimately boost profits.
Befitting a technology that many people have limited awareness of, it is important to not only say what blockchain is but explain how it works. When it comes to the former, tech giant IBM defines blockchain as “a shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network”. Whether an asset is tangible (eg: a house, car or cash) or intangible (eg: intellectual property, copyrights, branding), virtually anything of value can be tracked and traded on a blockchain network.
Blockchain is proving a winner because it provides immediate, shared and completely transparent information stored on an immutable ledger that can only be accessed by permissioned network members. Crucially, those members share a single view of truth and can see all the details of a transaction end to end, giving them greater confidence and allowing the chance to realise new efficiencies.
Few business areas are better suited to benefit from blockchain digital technology quite like customer experience. The modern consumer increasingly expects not only more personalised, efficient and convenient interactions on multiple channels but demands that their personal details are kept secure and private. The CX landscape is constantly evolving and blockchain is set to be one of the key technologies to help executives and their teams meet the rising need to evolve and innovate in line with their customer's expectations.
This is particularly so in the world of contact centres, which are increasingly opening their eyes to the potential benefits of blockchain in much the same way they have already embraced technologies such as intelligent automation, advanced speech recognition and interactive voice response.
As one industry insider told the CX Blockchain Institute: “From a CX perspective, it is going to completely change how a vendor or business interacts with its customers. Blockchain technology gives both the customer and the contact centre agent they interact with more control because the platform contains all the relevant information they need in an encrypted and secure manner.
“The CX benefit is the ability to provide instantaneous feedback or answers to the customer that are correct and relevant at the first time of asking, which negates the need for callbacks and time-consuming verifications.”
While ensuring a consistent record of information for companies and their customers is an obvious advantage, there are various reasons for bringing blockchain into the contact centre environment. From creating a sense of trust and transparency to enhancing the way information is stored and used, the revolution is only just beginning.
Storing digital identities in the blockchain will allow agents to securely access relevant customer data and possibly even validate a customer’s identity using their digital ID. Along with reducing average handling time, the ability to provide deeper insights based on such data will help increase customer scores and build brand loyalty.
Imagine being able to provide new contact centre staff with more accurate customer information, thus reducing the amount of time and money needed to spend on training and ongoing guidance. Along with lowering overall contact centre costs, the opportunity to provide more meaningful and valuable customer interactions will help increase profits. The blockchain can also ensure ownership of a transparent and traceable data set, which can help improve the accuracy of reports and audits and, in turn, reduce the risk of fines or legal costs when issues arise.
Convenience rightly sits near the top of the customer experience period and blockchain is changing the game when it comes to payments. By minimizing or even eliminating paperwork, the disrupting technology is streamlining the payment process and, in the case of warranty and insurance claims, making the settlement process easier and faster to reach settlement. Blockchain transactions have also cut out the ‘middlemen’ who traditionally sat between a company and its customers, meaning the costs saved can be passed on to consumers in the form of better service at lower prices.
One of the most exciting areas of blockchain and digital transformation is the role it is playing in helping companies better identify their customers and validate crucial information. Given the complexity and fragmentation of the current digital landscape, fraud is a serious concern due to the potential for fake online identities to be created. Blockchain’s ability to verify digital identities eases such concerns, while also helping reduce the number of large databases storing the PII (personally identifiable information) of millions of accounts.
If there is one thing that frustrates the modern customer, it is needing to repeat themselves to a company when switching between the different channels they offer. Omnichannel solutions are crucial to business success and blockchain information can help track conversations between multiple channels and make it easier for businesses to provide a consistent experience for their target markets. Nothing will bring a smile to the face of a customer quicker than a contact centre agent who can see how they have interacted and instead keep the transaction moving.
If there is one thing that has been proven in the past decade, it is that the right disruptive technology at the right time can revolutionise an industry, let alone a business. The blockchain user experience has already done that in the financial sector and as demands grow for more efficient and meaningful customer experiences, the technology is poised to do the same for CX and contact centres. With a focus on trust, transparency and the best use of data, businesses have a golden opportunity to up their CX ante … one block at a time.
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