Customertech is good for both sides, because it opens many more ways for customers and companies—or anybody—to connect, to do business, to express loyalty, to get service, to do anything—including offering and accepting payments.
As of today we have no standard and simple ways for any of us to relate to all the companies we deal with, except for cash. (For more on that, see The cash model of “customer experience.”) Cash is customertech. Cash gives gives each of us scale. (So does credit, as the promise of cash.)
Your cars, bikes, wallets and shoes also give you scale, in the physical world. All of those help you interact and relate with the manufacturers, service providers, sellers and intermediaries in the marketplace.
But even in the physical world, we lack customertech for loyalty programs, subscriptions and customer service. Or for payment, except by cash or credit, and with sellers who have ways to accept both.
Think about it. Every site and service you go to has its own different and silo’d ways of relating to you—of allowing you to be “loyal,” of controlling subscriptions, of delivering customer support, of obtaining “consent” for personalized advertising. As a result there are as many different forms of all those as there are logins and passwords.
In other words, business for customers is atomized on the sellers’ side. Nor our side. Especially online, where we don’t have the luxury of shaking hands and engaging face to face.
So imagine normalizing what it means to relate to companies online: standard ways to express loyalty, to subscribe, to manage subscriptions, to get customer support. And think about how much better it will be for sellers to have those things standardized.
This shouldn’t be hard to imagine. We already have one way to connect online at a base level. It’s called the Internet, and at is base is a standard called TCP/IP. We have one way to publish and syndicate on the Internet. That’s through the standards called HTTP and RSS. We have one way to do email. That’s because we have email standards called SMTP and IMAP. These standards give us scale, and they give us choices of tools and service providers who rely on those standards.
Meaning those tools and services are substitutable. Browsers, email clients and services, computers, phones and tablets are all substitutable. That substitutability creates vast markets.
EmanciPay is a base-level idea. There should be many providers of EmanciPay services, all based on standards. Could be some of those standards already exist. (There are enough laying around that I’m sure some do. And I’ll bet there are already distributed ledger (e.g. blockchain) methods ready to help.
The main thing is that EmanciPay puts far more range and choice into our ability to pay for anything than we have today. It will enable many more ways for demand and supply to signal each other, to do business, and form real relationships. It will lower the cognitive and operational overhead for both sellers and buyers of creative works. It will eliminate, in many cases, the need for advertising.
Again, the EmanciPay idea comes from ProjectVRM, which was created at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center to encourage development of tools and services that give customers better ways to engage sellers in the marketplace: for Vendor Relationship Management on the customers’ side to engage Customer Relationship Management on the vendors’ side. The whole purpose of ProjectVRM from the start has been manifest in its middle name: relationship.
Nothing atomized about that.