The Blockchain Effect: How Will the Distributed Ledger Change the Customer Experience?


As we march toward an increasingly digital economy, meeting the growing demand for an improved customer experience and heightened trust are essential to achieving market success. A consumer’s “best last” experience becomes the benchmark for every experience going forward, regardless of the channel or the products or services they are consuming. Banking institutions are creating “digital banks” to attract and retain a millennial client base who are redefining customer experience. If we can order goods by simply speaking into an Amazon Echo and expect those goods to arrive the next day, we can’t possibly be expected to go into a store, stand in a checkout line, pay manually and self-deliver the goods back home.

Creating a memorable customer experience is not just about grabbing market share, it also is about generating incremental revenue. According to Harvard Business Review, “Customers who had the best past experiences [with your organization] spend 140 percent more than those who had the poorest past experience.” This not only points to the need for a positive customer experience but also to the need for trust.

Unfortunately, trust between consumers and the enterprises they patronize has been eroding over the past few years. The recent revelation that Facebook sold data from 87 million users to Cambridge Analytica is just one example.

Consumer trust of enterprises is built on two implicit beliefs: 1) the transaction, which goes beyond an exchange of goods and services to virtually any exchange between two parties including monitoring, delivery, etc., must go through as designed and agreed upon; and 2) data must be secure. According to the Harris Reputational Quotient (RQ), a data breach is one of the top four risks to a company’s reputation.

So how do today’s enterprises improve customer experience and trust? Could blockchain prove to be a “trust machine,” as some say? Because transactions that are recorded on a blockchain do not involve an intermediary, the customer owns his or her own data, and the odds of a security or data breach are very, very small. As CEO of IBM Ginni Remetty famously said, “What the internet did for communications, blockchain will do for trusted transactions.”

This ISG white paper The Blockchain Effect: How Will the Distributed Ledger Change the Customer Experience? explores the potential of blockchain for CX leaders today.