What happens when you give data back to people? – Interview with Jamie Smith of Customer Futures


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Today’s interview is with Jamie Smith, who is the Founder and CEO of Customer Futures Ltd, an advisory firm helping businesses seize the opportunity around disruptive and customer-empowering digital propositions, and author of the weekly Customer Futures Newsletter. Jamie joins me today to talk about CustomerTech tools, EmpowermentTech, the emerging Customer Stack, what this all means, the implications of all this for personalisation and privacy and what customer engagement in the near future could look like.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – A look inside a punk-inspired contact center – Interview with David Powers – and is number 497 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders who are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.

BREAKING NEWS: Just to let you know that my blog has been ranked as one of the Top 100 Customer Service/Experience Blogs on the t’interweb. Big shout out and thanks go to the folks at Feedspot for that honour. But, a bigger shout out goes to you my readers and listeners. Thank you.

Here are the highlights of our conversation with Jamie:

  • I’ve spent the last 10 years answering the question, what happens when you give data back to people?
  • Ten years ago we didn’t have the tools. Now, we do.
  • It’s all about empowerment. It’s about being able to share selected bits of my data where I want on my terms. And that alone creates whole new customer experiences.
  • It enables whole new ways to think about loyalty. It does enable switching but it also means I can get insights myself and start to think about, what do I want and how should I think about the choices I’m making and recommendations.
  • Professor John Seddon said on the podcast something along the lines of “the problem is that we often take a customer typology of demand and then try and fit it into how we want to do business.”
  • The point Prof. Seddon makes about trying to force fit customers into products is the kind of root issue here.
  • Look up Doc Searls and VRM (Vendor Relationship Management).
  • People, customers, citizens, citizens, patients….we don’t have our own digital tools. We gave all digital tools to businesses. They have CRM and predictive analytics and cleer AI, and they can predict who’s going to churn most and they can calculate average revenue per user instantly and think about who to optimize and cross sell. We don’t have any of that.
  • One of the outcomes of that is businesses have no way to handshake with a customer.
  • Businesses think they’re in the middle and all their customers orbit them.
  • But if you map it and understand it from a customer’s point of view, you see all sorts of new problems, repetition, problems to solve. For example, why on earth am I repeating the same information over and over again. This can lead to new business opportunities. You could spot new ways to reuse digital identity. You could reimagine the customer experience.
  • Sometimes, the best customer experience is no customer experience.
  • Empowerment tech means we now have tools, where the commercial model is about helping me and I can stitch together new experiences and that’s going to be better for business.
  • The customer stack will include storage of stuff, the cryptographically signing of stuff (so I can prove it came from me), there’s going to be AI that sits on my side (it’s going to be personal AI and is going to be trained on my data), there’s going to be digital signing (that is provably from me), there’s going to be communications tools etc etc.
  • One of my favorite sayings is the only 360 degree view of the customer is the customer.
  • Personalization is only as good as the profile that each of those companies has about me.
  • If you give advertisers a clean, authenticated, real human being to show advertisements to. They actually become offers rather than ads. And I can turn them on and off and can control much more sensibly, you know, the things I’m interested in or not.
  • That’s gonna be really interesting and will start to get us towards real hyper-personalization.
  • I think the tech is now available to facilitate all of this. We’ve got digital wallets, not just for funky, weird NFTs and tokens and some random coin. We can use the technology, get rid of all the weird fraudulent stuff and make it happen.
  • I can now cryptographically sign a driving license and have it stored on my phone or in my cloud wallet. That is a complete game -changer.
  • The European Union is about to mandate 27 countries and 300 million people will be offered a digital wallet by government using that same kind of technology.
  • I think over the next 24 months, we’re going to see a real shift to this data organized around the individual with their own AI, with the tooling, the digital wallet inside their phone and so on.
  • I’m not saying this is going to happen within six months, but I think if you go and dig around in the travel industry, they’re very excited about this potential. And there’s some really big players building digital wallets for this reason.
  • Jamie’s best advice: Start experimenting with empowerment tech digital tools like digital wallets and personal AI now, because it’s going to take, you know, six, 12, 18 months to land on the right model and to implement it. So start now because it’s going to disrupt everything,
  • Jamie’s Punk XL brand(s): Monzo and Stripe

About Jamie

Jamie Smith headshotJamie is the Founder and CEO of Customer Futures Ltd, an advisory firm helping businesses seize the opportunity around disruptive and customer-empowering digital propositions.

He has been working at the forefront of digital identity and customer-controlled personal data for nearly 15 years, and has led breakthrough innovation across a range of digital ventures at both large enterprises and startups. He brings a breadth of experience across product, commercial, technology and strategy.

Jamie is passionate about creating new value with personal data, and empowering the consumer with new digital tools that work for them. He writes about the next billion-dollar market category – Empowerment Tech – at www.customerfutures.com.

Check out what he does and subscribe to his newsletter here, say Hi to him on X (Twitter) @jamiedsmith and feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn here.

Credit: Photo by Rodion Kutsaiev on Unsplash

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


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