Friday, 23rd August 2019

Brands under pressure to turn data insights into better apps and digital services

New data highlights the importance for organisations to understand the emotional responses of their customers and tailor services to suit their needs.

AppDynamics has released new findings from a research study that explores the expectations and frustrations people have from different app-based services.

The results make interesting reading for digital businesses striving to improve the services they offer to customers, and address the typical frustrations that customers experience when engaging with brands online. Crucially, not all online frustrations are elicited equally – just as not all apps are created equally.

While exceptional performance is generally valued for apps across all industry sectors, the types of frustrations experienced vary by the type of service being consumed.

The data shows that when it comes to booking a taxi or train, frustrations around usability are the key aggravators. Poor performance is what irks customers the most when using banking and insurance apps. In retail and ecommerce, inadequate availability ranks highest. Finally, poor functionality and a lack of personalisation are what annoy customers the most when using fitness and betting apps.

The research also looks at app productivity. It found that ‘app super users’ – those that consistently use the most apps in their daily life – have higher levels of productivity. Over a third of people stated their personal and professional productivity had increased because of apps, and those that felt the benefit, were using significantly more apps (53%) than those that didn’t. This is good news for today’s digital businesses as they seek new ways to target customers through multiple channels. The ‘app super user’ group also stated that they felt stress had been taken out of daily life by digital services – 83% compared, to 21% in lower app-usage individuals who were surveyed.

The results clearly emphasise the importance of digital services for IT leaders within all organisations, but for developers, there is also a key lesson. App developers are under increasing pressure, not only to code, but to focus on ensuring users are engaged and stay loyal. This means taking a more outside-in approach to code and software development. A key component of this is placing a stronger focus on aligning release strategies with customer needs. Whilst ongoing release cycles are vital for the continuous improvement of an app, quality, not quantity, should define software release plans.

John Rakowski, director of technology strategy at AppDynamics said: “The business insight from this research can be applied in a number of ways. For instance, from what we have seen working with enterprise customers and judging from the frustrations above, ecommerce and banking apps should focus on improving app performance and responsiveness rates. Travel apps should look to condense the number of notifications, while fitness and betting apps should consider more frequent updates to allow for better personalisation and functionality.”

In short, the advice for businesses is that they need to figure out a way of balancing the four key pressures surrounding apps: the need to pioneer new experiences, the need to personalise the experience, to ensure that users remain loyal to their apps, and the need to maintain performance levels at all times. The answer lies in knowing how customer expectations vary, and how nuanced these variations are.

“The most important thing is to have a granular understanding of your customers and their interactions. For example, gathering information into how and when they use apps, their location and what their experience was like. The quicker you have this information, the faster you make fact-based decisions on how to improve your overall digital strategy,” says John Rakowski.

Real time application performance and business-centric data and analytics is at the heart of creating rich user experiences while driving commercial needs. It’s also essential to digital business success. Being able to collect and analyse data rapidly not only helps the IT department with its strategy, but it also helps other departments. Product and marketing teams can work in tandem to deliver the best customer experience and as a result, IT teams become enablers of better processes, and an invaluable part of the business.

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