Introducing Blockchain technology into businesses offers a fundamentally new paradigm. These new models can be in the form of building closer relationships, changing how businesses operate and increasing transparency through a shared and open (but not always) system.
A perfect example of this might be to look at a conventional (i.e. non-blockchain) reputation sharing platform/application. The application in question might use past diners experiences at restaurants to provide ratings and reviews of their experience at the establishment, and allow future/potential diners to choose based on supplied feedback. Without naming any names, there are several existing applications that do exactly this (the biggest one in the USA rhymes with ‘Kelp’).
In this example, there is unfortunately a direct benefit to the restaurants that pay the application to structure their review reports favorably to the restaurant, and in fact, the application has an interest in not showing negative feedback.
The result is that restaurants will receive more visitors from their favorable ratings, and the application will make more money from the restaurants continued paid promotion.
Of course the downside is that unfavorable reviews are suppressed and restaurants that are legitimately good (and favorably reviewed) may not be promoted or at least not featured as prominently as they aren’t providing a direct revenue stream to the platform.
When the application follows this strategy, and the public finds out about it (or even suspects it), there is a loss of trust in the entire application. If the application were to fight and argue the accusations (claiming that restaurants just don’t like getting bad reviews perhaps), the faith and trust of the consumers will suffer – even if they are not true.
So the question is presented – how could they quickly and easily restore the level of trust that they had?
The answer is of course Blockchain tech!
Using a public ledger system that is immutable, they could easily point to it and say that it’s impossible for us to manipulate reviews as Blockchain technology makes it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to make changes.
However what type of relationship do we have or even want with companies that we do business with?
We typically have ‘some’ level of trust – for example, when I eat a hamburger at a fast food restaurant, I trust that the food will not be spoiled and that it will be what I assumed I ordered (I received a mixed beef and veal hamburger which was definitely not what I ordered). Additionally, I am trusting that the restaurant has received the raw materials in a conventional and ethical way, along the entire supply chain.
But what if these factors are suspect and or damaged?
A very popular restaurant chain suffered from this recently, and they continue to work on both reputation management and fixing their supply chain to ensure that their ingredients and internal policies are adequate, but many customers are not only staying away, but vow never to return.
Again, a Blockchain based system might be able to quickly and easily restore levels of trust by allowing consumers to see exactly what the history (or provenance) of the product might have been, without having to take the word of the business.
This shift is fundamental in both how consumers receive information, and how business provide it, and as we look at not just this potentiality, but inevitability, new types of platforms and applications will surface – some of which haven’t even been thought of yet.