Users quick to ditch businesses with bad digital platforms

A new study from Cisco's AppDynamics found that nearly 70% of consumers went out of their way to discourage other people from using poor-performing apps or websites.

Cisco Live 2017: How apps can make or break digital transformation in the enterprise

More than ever our lives have become tied to our smartphones. Devices manage an ever-growing amount of daily tasks in our lives, so much so that poorly-made apps have a concrete effect on us.

Cisco-owned AppDynamics released an in-depth study on user app habits and revealed that many consumers are quick to stop using apps that are slow or don't work effectively.

AppDynamics hired Insight Avenue to interview more than 7,000 people for their study, "The App Attention Index 2019: The Era of the Digital Reflex." The study found that the use of digital services has evolved rapidly to become "an unconscious extension of human behavior – a digital reflex."

Nearly 70% of respondents quite literally said that their digital services have become something akin to a reflex. People don't think twice before quickly opening Uber when they need to get somewhere or Seamless when they're hungry. 

More than 70% said they did not realize how important digital services had become and another 68% said they use more digital services than they're even aware of. More than half said they found it difficult to manage their daily tasks without a coterie of apps.

SEE: 10 ways to build reactive mobile apps that engage your users (free PDF) (TechRepublic Premium)

But users reported that their plethora of apps and web services made them feel more in control of their daily lives and almost 80% said they have been able to find new products and services through other apps. 

According to the AppDynamics survey, 70% of consumers believe their digital services have relieved them of some stress in their lives. Since 2017, there has been a massive increase in the percentage of people who believe their digital services have improved their productivity at work and home, with nearly 70% saying so for this year's survey. Surprisingly, the average respondent said they only use about 7 digital services per day. The survey said this was a key statistic because of how wrong it was. 

The average person uses more than 30 digital services each day according to the survey, but the goal of many apps was to become a seamless part of your life. Many apps want you to feel like you don't use them that often even when you do.

"People reach for their phone as soon as they wake up. They ask Alexa to turn on the lights. They tap Sonos to listen to their favorite music on Spotify. During nearly every waking moment of the day, people are interacting with a host of applications that deliver digital experiences," the report said.

"In fact, these experiences drive so much of our everyday lives that, often, we're not even aware of our reliance on them. In this way, the use of digital services has become an extension of human behavior, an impulsive, 'natural', sub-conscious action – a 'digital reflex'."

One of the biggest parts of the survey revolved around poorly-performing apps that frustrated consumers and made tasks even more difficult than they already are. More than half of respondents admitted they would pay more for companies they knew had top-tier digital services. 

More than 60% said they would avoid brands that are known for delivering digital experiences that they found to be poor.

"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," said Danny Winokur, general manager at AppDynamics.

The report says more than 60% of consumers are now choosing retailers based on how quickly they can gain access to products or services without ever stepping foot in a store. The same goes for banks, with 58% saying they decided on which one to choose based on whichever allowed them to perform transactions digitally.

A bigger problem for companies, according to the survey, was that consumers were not notifying apps about poor performance or even giving enterprises a chance to improve performance. 

More than 80% of consumers told the survey they would not be interested in letting apps know about their performance before moving on to a competitor.

This was key because last year, 84% of respondents reported experiencing digital service problems. 

"That's why in the era of the digital reflex, brands need to acknowledge that exceptional digital performance and world-class customer experiences are no longer aspirational – they're business critical," the survey said.

"When digital services don't deliver a first-rate customer experience - a seamless, issue-free experience - the impact is becoming more profound. Consumers are often left with negative feelings of stress and anger that could impact things like brand perception, referrals, and more."

SEE:  <strong>Why you need to learn about application performance monitoring</strong> (TechRepublic)

This is a recent development seen only in the past few years, according to the study. As digital access has expanded and increased, people have become far less tolerant of problems and are now more likely to outright delete apps, use competitors and tell others about their bad experience.

More than 75% of respondents said their expectations for digital services were increasing, up from 62% in 2017. Nearly 90% said that in the next three years, they expect to choose brands based on their digital offerings through the web, mobile and other devices. 

The report noted that this was key for businesses to understand because apps that were slow or had glitches were akin to rude retail assistants or cashiers asleep on the job. With apps or websites that crashed and worked poorly, companies were putting themselves at risk monetarily and with their reputation. 

Nearly 50% of consumers have switched suppliers due to poor digital performance, increasing from 32% just two years ago, while 70% admitted that in the last two years they have become less tolerant of problems. 

Almost 70% said they went out of their way to discourage other people from using poor-performing apps. 

Consumers are increasingly looking for personalized digital experiences that are more tailored to their immediate desires. Many apps are the only way consumers ever interact with a business, so it is key for that to be a positive representation of the company. 

Users are also expecting far more voice control or voice assistant features in the next three years as well as greater adoption of virtual reality to allow consumers to see brands before buying. Nearly 60% expect to interact with robots at home, work and in stores within the next three years. 

The survey suggests businesses focus their efforts on providing seamless, easy-to-use digital platforms. Website performance and reviews should be considered representative of the entire company's performance and the two should always be aligned, according to the AppDynamics survey. 

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Image: AppDynamics