Brands Need a 360 Degree View of Their Digital Services IT Stack - or Risk Losing Customers
July 29, 2021

Gregg Ostrowski

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The past 18 months have had a significant impact on consumer habits and how businesses respond to new demands. Everyday tasks such as banking, grocery shopping and working had to be done online, and if business leaders had not invested in a digital strategy before the pandemic hit, they immediately fell behind.

In the 2021 AppDynamics App Attention Index, 85% of consumers said digital services and applications have become a critical part of their daily lives — 73% said they will continue to rely on these applications, even as life returns to normal. With this in mind, it is becoming more challenging and almost impossible for business leaders to avoid investing in their digital approach any longer.

Consumers have also become accustomed to what type of experiences they can expect from an application, with reliability and consistent performance being two of the biggest demands. If these expectations from consumers are not met, they look elsewhere for a service that will provide a stellar experience, leading to a loss in customers. Poor performance is no longer an option, and as the report revealed, consumers believe it's the business' responsibility to ensure everything performs seamlessly.

These are some of the challenges and best practices business leaders should be aware of as the pandemic eases and consumer's expectations are permanently heightened.

Brand Loyalty Is Rewarding, but Without Maintenance, You Might Lose It

In the beginning of the pandemic, the heightened reliance on digital services was new for both business leaders and everyday consumers. While most consumers were familiar with common tasks — such as shopping or checking a bank account online — others, such as working remotely, exercising or having a telemedicine appointment were newer.

With such a strong reliance on these applications during the pandemic, consumers have had the time to find what digital experiences work best for them and have remained loyal to the ones that have continued to deliver reliable and consistent service.

Two-thirds of consumers said they feel more loyal to the brands that went above and beyond with the quality and convenience of their digital services during the pandemic

In fact, over two-thirds of consumers said they feel more loyal to the brands that went above and beyond with the quality and convenience of their digital services during the pandemic.

The pandemic altered consumer expectations of digital services forever. Having consumers who are loyal to your business is great, but it's important to not lose sight of why they selected your service and what experience they expect from it.

While it may take longer for a loyal consumer to drop your service if there's poor performance, it's not impossible. In fact, more than half of consumers shared that brands now only have one shot to deliver positive digital experiences before they switch to another provider.

New functionality, increased users and additional demands on applications have led to rising complexity in IT departments. And, business leaders lean on their technologists to help understand what is needed to keep their digital offerings running smoothly.

In order to prioritize application fixes based on end-user impact, tools, like taking a full-stack observability approach, can enable the leaders and technologists to see across the full stack to flag an issue as well as what is working smoothly in real time to avoid poor performance for consumers.

Businesses Are Responsible for the Digital Services That Drive Our Everyday Lives

With consumers ultimately benefiting from an increase in choices, improvements and quality of digital experiences, they are unwilling to give second chances and simply won't tolerate or stick around for poor performing applications.

55% of consumers believe digital services helped them get through the challenges brought on by the pandemic. Additionally, consumers shared that without access to any digital services, they would be bored, lonely or even stressed.

Keeping up your application's performance not only retains and grows your user base, but it also plays a larger role in helping individuals maintain their mental and physical health, finances and government accounts. As a business leader, you are responsible for the experience your digital services offer and identifying what your IT team needs in order to deliver a seamless service.

Going forward, business leaders should continue to strive to deliver a "total application experience," which is reliable, high-performing, simple, secure and helpful to use. Continuing to invest in digital services is crucial to a business' success. By looking at the technology you're using and how it impacts everything from performance to earnings, you can help your business stay ahead. Fail, and previously loyal customers will walk away forever.

Gregg Ostrowski is Executive CTO at Cisco AppDynamics
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