Digital services are more ingrained in our daily lives than ever before, and with the increased use of those services has come increased expectations of the quality of those services, according to a new study from AppDynamics.

Of the 7,000 consumers that were surveyed across the world, 69 per cent of them said that their use of digital services is akin to an involuntary reflex.

Steve Long warns that businesses must meet consumer’s expectations or risk losing their customer base. Credit: LinkedIn

“It’s an era of digital reflex. It’s an extension of our arm now,” said Steve Long, a regional chief technology officer for AppDynamics, in an interview with IT World Canada.  “My alarm goes off in the morning and I pick up my phone… and before I even talked to anyone in my family, I’ve already hit three or four applications. So the concept of the app and digital reflex is true.”

Not only are people using more apps than ever, but they say that their lives are improving because of them; 68 per cent of those surveyed said that apps have increased their productivity at home or work and 70 per cent said that apps help reduce the stress in their lives.

People have become so reliant on them that once those digital services are unavailable to them, 55 per cent said they could only make it four hours before it would become to difficult to manage everyday tasks in their lives.

And as people become more reliant on them, their expectations of quality have increased, with 70 per cent saying their expectations have increased over the last two years.

There’s no getting around it – apps are crucial for today’s businesses.

“For businesses, the application is their North Star. Whether you’re trying to drive commerce or revenue, that is your North Star for your business and that’s how you connect with your consumers,” said Long. “Flawless application delivery means that they’re going to keep using your application. But the minute you have a poor performing application, application performance becomes the new business loyalty.”

But has an increased focus on digital services from businesses translated into quality? Not according to the survey, as 84 per cent said they have experienced issues in the last year.

And this is not just a case of Facebook double-posting your status or Spotify not loading a song. Apps are now being used for real-life applications like placing reservations at restaurants, said Long.

And if they perform poorly, consumers are quick to jump ship and try something else, even if it costs more.

Long warns businesses to take heed of this. A poor app might not only cost you a customer, but it might also cost you hundreds. Only 17 per cent of survey respondents said they would bring their concerns directly to the service provider. Most turn to social media to voice their displeasure.

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