Businesses that fail to deliver a positive application experience risk losing as much as 27% of their customer base, according to a new study from CA Technologies. Another key finding: brand loyalty has a 6-second shelf life. That’s all you’ve got to get it right or you’ll risk doing irreparable damage to your business.
The bottom line, said CA’s Andi Mann, VP Office of the CEO, is that the customer experience is critical, and most organizations don’t understand that. “What does surprise me [from the study, Software: the New Battleground for Brand Loyalty] is the fact that business decision makers don’t understand where they’re falling down in every single category. I think that is a wake-up call.”
Businesses think application delivery is largely better than consumers do. There is a difference of 15% in financial services, and 14% each in Information and Technology and Government Administration.
The second surprise was just how easy it is to lose a customer if the application is not right. “It’s quite shocking, a third of the users will click away… after just 3 seconds… two thirds after 6 seconds… and 10% don’t even wait one second,” he told IT Trends & Analysis.
This is a broad study: 6,770 consumers and 809 business decision makers in 18 countries. According to the consumers the three application characteristics with the biggest impact on the user experience are:
-quick loading – 68% who left a brand because of poor load times said a loading time of six or less seconds was acceptable – and slightly more than half of those respondents demand a load time of less than three seconds;
-simple functionality – more than 70 % ranked ‘perform tasks with little difficulty’ and almost 80% ranked applications that have ‘easy to use features’ as top drivers of their decision to utilize or purchase an application; and,
-security – out of users who had a fair or poor experience, 10% said that they would leave a brand forever because of issues with security.
Mann added that applications are critical. According to the survey, 49% of consumers are using applications to bank, 48% use applications to shop, and more than half say they’d be willing to use applications to perform tasks like paying taxes, managing healthcare or even voting in elections.
Mann said businesses need to pay attention to the “app gap”, the delta between consumer demands and their own goals for application development. The things that matter most to consumers are that the application is quick, secure and delivers on its promise without much effort on their part.
The good news is that it’s relatively easy to fix, said Mann, whose employer just happens to be a software tool vendor that has been pushing its application economy agenda for some time. Both the public and private sectors must make software more than just a part of their business, it must become their business, he said. Companies need to shift the way they approach application development: applications have to fire up instantly, quickly present options for solving consumer problems and work intuitively throughout the entire experience.
“We now live in a world where customers are no longer just loyal to the brand or product or service. Instead, they are loyal to the complete experience a brand delivers,” said CEO Mike Gregoire in his CA World ’14 keynote in November. “And that experience is delivered by software. Software is the business.”
Looking ahead, Mann said CA will focus on educating the market on the app gap and the need to do a better job of understanding and satisfying customers. They need to figure out where they’re falling down. “It’s something that’s resonating very strongly with our customers. A lot of CIOs don’t know what they don’t know.”