If apps and digital services weren’t considered ubiquitous for Canadians before the pandemic, they definitely are now. Consumers rely on technology more than ever before to shop online, connect with friends and family, get work done, or simply just play. For most people, applications and digital services offer a quick and easier way to go about their lives right from their device.
And it isn’t just young, ‘digital natives’ who have embraced this technology. People of all ages, across all demographics and geographies, have turned to digital services and applications for the benefits of a digital alternative to their normal way of life.
According to a recent survey that explored the latest trends in global consumer attitudes, behavior, and expectations for digital services, the number of applications that people are now using daily has jumped a staggering 30% compared with two years ago. And, they’re depending on a much wider range of digital services than they did before the pandemic. These run the gamut from connecting with loved ones through messaging tools, video calls, and social media, to using music and video streaming, online gaming, and podcasts to stay entertained.
Consumers are relying more on food delivery services, collaboration and productivity tools for work and education, and applications to access public services and healthcare. It’s also worth noting that they’ve become more reliant on applications for hobbies and other lifestyle pursuits such as fitness classes and worship. For all of the benefits apps provide, the most important is simplicity and convenience. Consumers have always known this, but now they’re much less willing to compromise.
Consumer expectations have evolved
Consumer expectations towards digital experience – already at an all-time high before the pandemic – have risen even further since the start of 2020. And many people say their expectations of digital services have increased over the same period.
It’s not just increased dependence that is driving this rise in expectations. Consumers know that brands have shifted to digital services to serve customers in new ways and now they expect more personalization, engagement, reliability, and innovation. People have seen for themselves how some brands have drastically enhanced their apps and other digital offerings since 2019, and they see no reason why this shouldn’t be the norm.
As consumer expectations have surpassed what many brands thought possible, people have become less willing to accept second-rate digital experiences. Many people report encountering problems with applications and digital services over the last year and are now much more likely to take action. That includes switching to another service, sharing their poor experiences with others, or deleting the app from their devices. Consumers have many choices so keeping their business means you need to meet their needs.
According to the survey referenced, more than half of people blame the application or brand when they encounter a problem with a digital service, regardless of the problem. And 72% of people believe it’s the responsibility of the brand to ensure that the digital service or application works perfectly. It doesn’t matter whether a problem is ‘internal’ to the application or brand, or due to an external factor, consumers immediately blame the brand, business or application owner.
Doubling down on the application experience
Consumers have no shortage of options to choose from due to the volume of digital services available in 2021. This has made them rightfully more discerning about the apps they use. They know what they like and when they find it, they will commit to using it regularly, so long as it continues to offer the flawless customer experience they’ve grown to appreciate and expect.
Businesses offering consumer applications and digital services need to realize that they aren’t just another channel to engage customers with. Today, the application is the business and maybe the only way businesses engage. But meeting evolving expectations is challenging without the right application monitoring and observability solution in place for digital services. Full-stack observability with business context can help leaders see, understand, and optimize what happens inside and outside their consumer-facing applications.
Leaders can’t afford to ignore these consumer trends. Given the need for ongoing business innovation, it’s critical to invest in the digital customer experience sooner than later. Either brand offer flawless application experiences going forward or risk losing customers.
About the author
Gregg Ostrowski is an Executive CTO at AppDynamics, a part of Cisco. He engages with customer senior leadership to help prioritize their strategy for digital transformation. Prior to AppDynamics, Gregg held senior leadership positions at Samsung and Research in Motion, and he has more than 20 years of experience in the industry.