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Seven things every application owner needs to know about today's customers

By Joe Byrne, Executive CTO, AppDynamics, part of Cisco

Throughout the pandemic, applications have become a lifeline to normality for people all over the world, enabling them to stay connected with loved ones, to work and learn remotely and to access critical services. 

Even during the most grueling periods of lockdown, applications have allowed people to continue with their lifestyle pursuits - such as fitness classes, entertainment through music and video streaming - and to look after their mental wellbeing.

This reliance on applications for the last 18 months has changed consumer mindsets and behaviors forever. Even when the pandemic passes, there will not be reverting back to the old world. 

In the latest AppDynamics report, The App Attention Index 2021: Who takes the rap for the app?, we explored how people's relationships with applications - and the brands behind them - have changed during the pandemic and what this means for application owners today.

Here are seven key findings that every application owner should consider:

1.  Expectations around applications and digital services have increased dramatically

With consumers relying on applications across so many areas of their lives, and being exposed to the very best digital experiences, their expectations have risen dramatically. 

76% of people say their expectations of digital services have increased over the last 18 months. And they've risen across a wide range of performance and functionality areas, particularly when it comes to reliability, security and personalization.

2.  The search for the ‘total application experience'

With more choices, and so many incredible digital services available, consumers have become increasingly selective about the applications they use. They know what they like and when they find it, they keep going back for more. 

Consumers are now seeking the ‘total application experience' - a high-performing, reliable, digital service, which is simple, secure, helpful and fun to use. It is personalized to their individual needs and adds real value to their lives. This is the new benchmark for all digital services.

3.   Consumers are extremely grateful to brands who have provided applications that supported them through the pandemic

A vast majority of consumers report that digital services have had a positive impact on their lives during the pandemic, enabling them to get through this challenging period. And they acknowledge and appreciate the efforts that some brands have made to meet their needs, delivering applications that have allowed them to feel more in control and empowered.

72% of consumers say they are grateful to brands that have invested in digital during the pandemic so they can access the services that they love, and 67% say they now feel more loyal to those brands that have gone the extra mile to deliver high quality applications.

4.  Appetite for applications will outlast the pandemic

Consumers are looking forward to returning to a more ‘normal' way of life and doing things that they used to enjoy - going to the office, attending live music events or traveling abroad to vacation with friends and family.

But at the same time, people see clear benefits in continuing to use applications across all areas of their lives. The majority of consumers report that digital services have made some activities more accessible and easier to fit around their other commitments, as well as enabling them to try new things.

This explains why 88% of people expect their reliance on digital services to stay the same or increase over the next 12 months. People now know that in almost every part of their lives, there is an engaging and convenient digital alternative to the way they used to do things, and from now on, they will have genuine choice across online and offline worlds.

5.  When people encounter a problem, they have zero tolerance for poor experiences, and they'll walk away forever 

With people so reliant on applications in so many aspects of their lives, they are reacting more strongly when things go wrong. The stakes have been raised.

61% of people state their expectation of digital services has changed forever and they won't tolerate poor performance anymore. When people encounter a problem with a digital service, they are no longer willing to try again later, or to suffer in silence. Instead, they'll switch to an alternative service and delete the application, without giving it a second thought. They are also much more likely to share their negative experiences with others.

6.  ‘Who takes the rap for the app?' Blame is directed at brands  

When consumers don't get the level of experience they expect, they're not interested in the cause - they immediately blame the brand and the application. 72% of people believe it's always the responsibility of the brand to ensure that the digital service or application works perfectly. 

This might be justified when consumers experience slow page loading, poor response times, downtime, or security failures - factors that are controlled by the application owner. But even when the digital experience is impacted by external factors outside the application - such as bad internet connectivity, 4G/5G mobile network issues, slow payment gateways or technical issues with third party plug-ins - consumers still blame the application owner. 

In a world where consumers are expecting more from their digital experiences than ever before, the question of ‘Who takes the rap for the app?' puts the blame firmly on the application owner - and the brand behind the application - whatever the cause.

7.  Brands have only one shot to impress

57% of consumers now give brands only one shot to impress them and if their applications don't deliver the right experience, they simply won't use them again. 

This is a defining moment for application owners - there are no second chances. Unless they are consistently delivering the ‘total application experience,' then they risk seeing more than half of potential customers walk away. 



Joe Byrne 

Joe Byrne is Executive CTO at AppDynamics, a part of Cisco. His primary focus is on working with customers and prospects on APM strategy and helping with digital transformations. He also works closely with Sales, Marketing, Product and Engineering on product strategy. Prior to AppDynamics, Joe held technology leadership roles at Albertsons, EllieMae and Johnson and Johnson.

Published Wednesday, October 13, 2021 7:38 AM by David Marshall
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