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App makers do not have much room for margin of error in getting the user experience right. Image Credit: Shutterstock

The evolution of our attitudes towards technology — and how we use it — has been fascinating to observe. Our use of technology across all age groups has accelerated and changed the way we engage with brands, consume services and make purchasing decisions.

Businesses too have had to undergo significant transformation to maintain their operations — and to put it frankly — survive. Organizations and technologists are having to consider the long-term implications of the changes that have taken place and what this means for their customer-facing apps and IT infrastructure.

What are the consequences in consumer expectations? Will they remain as we begin to look beyond the pandemic? How will this impact the way an organization implements technology?

In the latest AppDynamics report, we explored how people’s relationships with apps — and the brands behind them — have changed during the pandemic and what this means for app owners today. The survey - which spoke to over 13,000 people globally, and 1,000 in the UAE - found consumer expectations of their digital experiences were higher for 91 per cent of UAE consumers (15 per cent higher than the global average).

When consumers don’t get the level of experience they expect, they’re not interested in the cause — they immediately blame the brand and the application. 69 per cent of consumers in the UAE say that it is the responsibility of the brand to make sure that the digital service/app works perfectly. Whether it’s within the app 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.

Adapting to this new heightened sense of expectation is critical right now for enterprises and they must take action.

Factoring loyalty

Consumers are by and large grateful for how apps and digital services impacted their quality of life — 98 per cent of consumers across the Emirates (14 per cent higher than the global average) stated it had helped them get through the pandemic in a positive way.

Huge investments went into apps during the pandemic and this has not gone unnoticed, with 85 per cent of UAE consumers saying they feel grateful to the brands that invested in digital so they could get access to the services they love and rely on. Consumers have also recognized and rewarded those brands they feel went above and beyond with the quality of their digital service during the pandemic, with 82 per cent stating they feel more loyal towards them.

One shot

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.

The ever-increasing customer expectations for frictionless, faultless digital experiences, and the lack of tolerance for poor performance have heaped huge pressure onto technologists during the pandemic.

New app functionality, growing number of users, greater demand for applications and the acceleration to the cloud, have led to soaring complexity in the IT department, with some architectures so complex, even their operators struggle to fully comprehend. This is making it more challenging for IT leaders to know how to prioritize app fixes based on the impact to the business and the user.

The app experience has to be right first-time, and that is about so much more than whether the app logic has been tested to be ‘solid’. The way that customers interact with the business needs to be observable.

Technologists must be able to see, understand, and optimize what happens across their entire IT stack, from the customer-facing applications down to the core network and infrastructure, if they are to deliver the exceptional digital experiences that have grown to be expected.

One of the biggest challenges for app owners is to apply that insight — once they have it — so that it impacts key business metrics. By exploring full-stack observability insights through a business context, for example, IT teams can assess and prioritize which potential issues may have the biggest impact on customers and the business.

This will enable them to effectively prioritize their actions and meet heightened consumer expectations. It’s only by applying this business lens that they can observe what matters most to the organization and truly focus their decisions and resources.

For 95 per cent of UAE consumers, digital services have become a critical part of daily life. It means that an organizations’ app is no longer just another channel, it ‘is’ the business. With loyalty central to the success of every brand — and 68 per cent of consumers considering it disrespectful to offer a poor digital experience — success hinges on taking a business-led view to application development, with just one shot to get the experience right.