AppDynamic today released the latest report in its App Attention Index research series, revealing the emergence of ‘The Era of The Digital Reflex’ – a seismic shift in the way consumers interact and engage with digital services and applications.
The global study, which examines consumers’ reliance on applications and digital services, also identified how these digital dependencies impact consumers’ expectations of the businesses and brands they engage with, their increasing intolerance of performance problems and the urgency with which brands must take action in order to remain relevant and competitive in a world where application loyalty is the new brand loyalty.
Growing Reliance on Applications and Digital Services
Modern technology has transformed the way we live, work and play, making digital experiences a fundamental part of everyday life. However, many consumers are unaware of how much their use of digital services has evolved. While the average person estimates that they use seven digital services each day, in fact they are using nearly 30 (29.5) digital services on a daily basis.
While 68 per cent (63 per cent) recognise they use many more digital services than they are consciously aware of, they also acknowledge the positive impact digital services have on many aspects of their daily lives.
- 70 per cent say digital services have helped reduce stress.
- 68 per cent claim digital services have improved their productivity at home and work, an increase from 43 per cent in 2017.
The Era of The Digital Reflex
The use of digital services has evolved to become an unconscious extension of human behaviour – a ‘Digital Reflex.’ While consumers used to make a conscious and deliberate decision to use a digital service to carry out a task or activity, they now happen spontaneously, with the majority (70 per cent) of consumers admitting that digital services are so intrinsic to their daily lives that they don’t realise how much they now rely on them.
As these digital reflexes become habitual, consumers are becoming increasingly dependent on devices and digital services, relying on them to complete many of their daily tasks.
- 55 per cent (45 per cent) can only go without a mobile device for up to 4 hours before they find it difficult to manage tasks in their everyday life.
- 61 per cent (56 per cent) admit they reach for their mobile phone before talking to anyone else when they wake up.
Poor Digital Performance Impacts Daily Life and Buying Decisions
The Era of the Digital Reflex sees three quarters of consumers (75 per cent) reporting that their expectations of how well digital services should perform are increasing, compared to only 62 per cent in 2017. This marked increase in consumer expectations is further evidenced with two-thirds (66 per cent) of respondents claiming to be less tolerant of problems with digital services than they were two years ago.
This increasing intolerance for problems is prompting consumers to demand a better and higher performing digital customer experience from the brands they engage with:
- 50 per cent (42 per cent) would be willing to pay more for an organisation’s product or service if its digital services were better than a competitor’s.
- Over the next three years, 85 per cent (78 per cent) of consumers expect to select brands on the variety of digital services (web, mobile, connected device, etc.) they provide.
- More than half of consumers (60 per cent) now place a higher value on their digital interactions with brands over the physical ones.
Application Loyalty is the New Brand Loyalty
Businesses need to pay attention because consumers now have a zero-tolerance policy for anything other than an easy, fast and exceptional digital experience.
The research shows that in the event of performance issues, consumers will take decisive action such as turning to the competition (43 per cent) and actively discouraging others from using a service or brand (62 per cent) without notifying the brand and giving them a chance to make improvements.
AppDynamics general manager, Danny Winokur said: “In The Era of the Digital Reflex, consumers will no longer forgive or forget poor experiences.
“A great digital performance is now the baseline for any business, but the real winners will be those that consistently exceed customer expectations by delivering a flawless experience.”
Winokur added: “Cisco and AppDynamics help the world’s best companies achieve greatness with their applications by providing critical real-time data on application and business performance to pinpoint bottlenecks and enable immediate action.”
How Brands Can Survive in the Era of The Digital Reflex
Many businesses are already investing heavily in digital innovation to drive customer loyalty and revenue, but failure to monitor the performance of those applications and digital services puts brands at significant risk of unhappy customers, or even losing those customers to another brand.
However, there are simple steps that brands can take to meet these challenges and in turn, exceed increasing digital customer experience expectations:
- Focus on application performance – implementing a robust application performance management solution enables organisations to safeguard the performance of mission critical applications and user experience in production.
- Align performance to business outcomes – measuring and analysing the performance of applications and correlating this to business performance ensures that digital services are always aligned to business objectives, such as customer experience and revenue.
- Make decisions and take action based on factual insight – delivering exemplary digital experiences requires real-time monitoring of the full technology stack, from the customer’s device to the back-end application to the underlying network. However, it’s critical that enterprises choose solutions that take an AIOps approach, turning the monitoring of data into meaningful insights quickly or automatically using machine learning and AI.
Emirates Group vice president IT service management and digital workplace, Arnaud van Rietschoten said: “There’s a huge opportunity to redefine what proactive means for businesses.
“Today, it’s seen by many as hoping that they spot a problem before the customer does, or before people start complaining on social media.
“Consumers today will not tolerate poor digital performance, so businesses need to move to a model where proactivity means identifying the issue before it evens happens.”
Ensono global product management vice president, Oliver Presland commented: “AppDynamics brings visibility to some of the dark corners of IT, exposing the detail in even the most challenging areas to explore.
“It helps IT infrastructure teams by giving them visibility of how everything in the IT stack is performing, whilst also being critical for the business application owners who are focused on developing digital services to grow revenue and improve customer experience.
“Often these two teams work quite independently, until of course there’s a performance issue and everyone is called to a war room and starts pointing fingers at one another, trying to ascertain where the problem (and blame!) lies.
“AppDynamics removes the barrier between these teams, and provides end to end visibility so that they can work together, quickly pinpoint anomalies, identify the exact root cause and then collaborate to rectify the problem before it impacts the customer.”
Loblaw Digital vp technology, Hesham Fahmy said: “Customers today expect a lot more – they want to be delighted by every experience.
“As Canada’s leading retailer, Loblaw is committed to meeting and exceeding these growing demands…We have to shift from being a traditional retail company to a technology company that also happens to be a retailer.”
Fahmy continued: “It’s a big task – we operate close to 20 different grocery banners, own one of the country’s largest pharmacy chains and an apparel brand too!
“We also operate Canada’s largest loyalty programme with over 18m active users – to put that into context, it’s close to two thirds of Canada’s adult population.
“We believe passionately in the importance of evolving the online grocery experience, and making it easier for Canadians to do their shopping.”
Paychex director of produc development, Heather Fry added: “As a business, Paychex has transformed from a payroll company into a human capital management (HCM) company.
“This has meant transforming into a technology company, too, with digital services at the heart of how we engage with our customers.
“Their expectations are increasing rapidly – they want things faster, better, and more cost effective than ever before.”
She concluded: “To meet these expectations, we have spent the last 18 months focused on introducing a continuous delivery and continuous improvement model, and with it, a significant amount of automation of processes and systems.
“This allows us to focus on driving innovation and enables us to respond and react far faster to customer needs with an improved customer experience.”