Consumer expectations of digital services increased since early 2020

Consumer reliance on applications and digital services has soared since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. A new global study by Cisco AppDynamics, which examined the digital behaviors of more than 13,000 global consumers, also identified consumers now have a zero-tolerance policy for poor application experience and automatically place blame on the application and brand, no matter where a performance issue stems from.

consumers digital services

Consumers and the reliance on digital services

Since the start of 2020, consumers have experienced a sudden and total reliance on digital services, altering how they engage with brands, consume goods and services, and make purchasing decisions. In fact, the research shows that people are using 30 percent more applications today than they did before the pandemic.

The research highlights that because of their increasing reliance and use of digital services, 76 percent of consumers say their expectations of digital services have increased since the start of 2020. Alarmingly for brands, when expectations aren’t met, 60 percent of consumers will now automatically blame the application and the brand no matter where the issue actually lives.

Whether it’s within the application itself – such as pages loading slowly, downtime, or security failures; or external factors like internet connectivity, slow payment gateways or technical issues with third party services – to the consumer there is no distinction and they will now place responsibility firmly on the brand.

  • 72 percent of people believe it’s the responsibility of the brand to ensure that the digital service or application works perfectly.
  • 92 percent say they expect digital services to have reliable, consistent performance.

Loyalty lies with brands that invest in application experience

Consumers have not only come to rely on applications and digital services to function in everyday life, but they also used them to facilitate social interactions in the absence of traditional ways of connecting in person. The research found that the majority of consumers (85%) say that digital services have become a critical part of daily life, with 84 percent stating those services helped them get through the pandemic in a positive way. Additionally, consumers are now loyal to brands based on how significantly they invested in digital services during the pandemic.

  • 72 percent say they feel grateful to the brands that invested in digital experiences during the pandemic so they could get access to the services that they love and rely on.
  • 67 percent say they feel more loyal to brands that went above and beyond with the quality of their digital service during the pandemic.

Brands have one shot to get the ‘total application experience’ right

61 percent of consumers now state their expectations for digital services have changed forever and they will no longer tolerate poor performance. The research goes on to find that 72 percent of consumers believe it’s the responsibility of the brand to ensure that digital services work perfectly, and more than half (57%) state that brands have one shot to deliver positive digital experiences before they switch to another provider.

  • 72 percent say they simply don’t care who is responsible for problems with digital services, they just want them fixed and to work.
  • 68 percent consider it disrespectful to users for brands to offer a poor digital experience in this day and age.
  • 57 percent believe most problems with digital services and applications are completely avoidable.

“Applications have become the lifeline to normality for people in every corner of the world and consumers are no longer willing to settle for anything less than a perfect digital experience,” said Linda Tong, VP and GM of Cisco AppDynamics. “Technologists are now under more pressure than ever to deliver the ‘total application experience’ to users within their first interaction.”

“People contact us under their most dire circumstances and need help resolving life-altering challenges immediately. We want them to know we’re the right people for the job, so our goal is to make sure our customers get connected with an advisor quickly, never getting disconnected or languishing in a chat queue,” said Chris Younger, SVP, Freedom Financial Network.




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