Post-pandemic consumer behaviour has defined the new application experience

By James Harvey, Executive CTO, EMEAR, Cisco AppDynamics.

  • 2 months ago Posted in

The ways in which businesses are now delivering customer experience have changed. The pandemic was the tipping point for many organisations, as they rapidly had to transform their digital offerings to help customers and employees adjust to the sudden changes that lockdowns enforced. In particular, consumer needs quickly evolved, with increased use of applications opening their eyes to the benefits that digital services can deliver. These applications made it easier for people to access services and to fit activities in around their other work and life commitments; and, in many cases, digital services have enabled people to try new things that they wouldn’t have before.

As a result of this continued increase in digital experiences, customer experience has become more digitally focused, with the future of CX driven by personalised, seamless, digital experiences. Customers have now realised the convenience of applications, with access to incredible digital experiences that many brands are now delivering. Consequently, expectations have soared sky-high and tolerance for anything less than an optimal experience has hit rock bottom.

The latest Cisco AppDynamics App Attention Index report - ‘Who takes the rap for the app?’ - found that consumer expectations around digital experience were already at an all-time high before the pandemic – having risen even further since the start of 2020. More than three quarters (76%) say their expectations of digital services have increased over the same period.

These ever-growing customer experience expectations have increased the pressure on application owners, and the technologists behind these services to deliver frictionless, seamless digital experiences at all times. For it to be a reality, it’s essential that IT teams have real-time visibility into IT performance up and down the IT stack, from customer-facing applications right through to core infrastructure, so that businesses can continue to deliver exceptional customer experience.

Customer experience is now the digital experience

In this new ‘digital first’ environment, brands have a massive opportunity to drive customer loyalty by providing consumers with the faultless and engaging digital experiences they have come to expect and rely on over the past two years. Already, we’re seeing consumers looking favourably on brands that have innovated at speed to deliver applications that have supported them through the pandemic and enabled them to access the services they love and rely on.

On the other hand, application owners need to consider the implications of delivering anything other than a seamless digital experience. Because, as consumers have become more sophisticated in their use of applications, and been exposed to the very best digital experiences across sectors, they’ve also come to understand what digital services can and should be like.

They now expect more from their digital experiences. The concern for brands is that consumers are totally unforgiving - should they encounter problems with applications they are no longer happy to try again later or suffer in silence. Perhaps most alarmingly, 57% of people state that brands have only one shot to impress them and if their digital service does not perform, they won’t use them again. Brands are now operating in an environment where there are no second choices.

Observability relieves the pressures of seamless application performance

When an application fails, it always hurts the bottom line - whether it’s from energy spent to diagnose the root cause of the issue, or lost revenue and damaged brand reputation. Full-stack observability provides IT

teams with a single, unified view up and down the IT stack so that they can identify and resolve performance before they impact customers.

To ensure applications always perform optimally, application and IT infrastructure teams also need access to the same information so that they can speak the same language. After all, application health is inextricably tied to the health of the underlying infrastructure. With complete visibility into applications, IT infrastructure, and data, IT teams can eliminate wasteful and expensive overprovisioning, avoid the “it must be the network” blame game, and rapidly identify the root causes of application performance issues.

But full-stack observability truly comes into its own when, IT teams can correlate how application performance impacts business outcomes and therefore prioritise their work based on the most critical issues.

Bylinking IT performance data with real-time business metrics technologists can pinpoint the issues that could really damage user experience and prioritise their efforts accordingly. Only with a business lens on full-stack observability can technologists be sure of delivering the seamless digital experiences people are looking for.

The stakes have been raised. Today’s consumers are looking for the ‘total application experience’ – a high-performing, reliable, digital service which is simple, secure, helpful and fun to use. It is personalised to their own individual needs and preferences and it adds real value to their lives. Now it’s up to IT teams to meet these demands and deliver exceptional digital customer experiences.

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