Gregg Ostrowski, CTO Advisor, Cisco Observability
During the pandemic, consumers around the world gravitated towards applications and digital services to navigate a time that, for many, proved to be exceptionally demanding. Applications served as a lifeline, offering access to goods and services, facilitating work, and maintaining connections with friends and family during lockdowns. As a result, people felt grateful for these digital services, appreciating the efforts brands were making to help customers.
But now, with the pandemic thankfully behind us, attitudes towards applications have changed. Usage levels have remained above pre-pandemic levels, but that sense of gratitude has disappeared, replaced in many cases by frustration. Expectations for digital experiences have surged, leading to growing dissatisfaction with disappointing applications.
With consumers regaining control in their lives, they are more inclined to act against brands providing underperforming applications. The latest research from Cisco, The App Attention Index 2023: Beware the Application Generation, reveals how consumers are becoming more sophisticated and discerning in their application use, and completely unforgiving when they encounter bad digital experiences. The study of 15,000 global consumers reveals three key trends in consumer behaviour every application owner should be considering:
1. ‘Application clutter’ is being tackled by consumers
People are now taking much more consideration for their application use. People are weighing the benefits of each digital service and thinking long and hard before they download and install new applications on their devices. 62 per cent of Canadian consumers say they are looking to limit the number of applications they are using while 68 per cent report they are keen to remove ‘application clutter’.
People’s lives are now completely different than during the pandemic and many of the digital services they relied on then are no longer relevant to their lives. With consumers saying, on average, they could live without 40 per cent of the applications on their devices, they are becoming more discerning about the applications they use.
2. ‘Total application experience’ is being demanded by consumers
People of all ages now pride themselves on enjoying the very best digital experiences. 66 per cent of consumers state they only want to use the very best applications and digital services available and expect an exceptional digital experience as the standard.
Consumers now seek a wider range of qualities in applications compared to two years ago. While reliability, security, simplicity, and speed remain essential in the ‘total application experience’, there’s a new demand for intuitiveness, enjoyment, personalization, and meaning. Every moment spent using a digital service should contribute to enhancing their lives.
3. Consumers will hold application owners accountable for falling short of expectations
With expectations for digital experience higher than ever, people have lost any kind of tolerance for applications that don’t perform. 63 per cent of Canadian consumers state they are less forgiving of poor digital services than they were 12 months ago, and many admit they are becoming increasingly frustrated and angry when they encounter bad digital experiences.
Notably, individuals now feel empowered to act against brands whose applications fall short of expectations, promptly deleting apps, sharing negative experiences widely, and exploring alternatives. In fact, people are ditching digital services altogether and reverting to traditional channels to engage with companies, such as contact centres and physical locations such as stores and branches.
Application observability is vital to meet heightened digital experience expectations
These shifts in consumer mindset and behaviours present a major challenge for application owners.
IT teams therefore need the right tools to deliver seamless and secure digital experiences. However, the rise of cloud native technologies means IT teams are trying to manage an even more complex and dispersed application landscape.
Application observability is therefore vital for application owners. It delivers unified visibility across hybrid environments so IT teams can detect issues and rapidly understand root causes. Additionally, by correlating application availability, performance and security data with key business metrics, application observability enables technologists to analyze issues based on potential impact to customers, in real-time. This allows them to prioritize those issues which could be most damaging to the end user experience.
Brands urgently need to recognize that application users are back in control and, as a result, the bar for digital experience is rising to new heights.