On-demand platforms like Uber and Airbnb have raised customer expectations and demands - meaning it's never been more important to keep on top of real-time application performance
We all use the apps but maintaining the technology behind the likes of Uber, Airbnb and Amazon is as important as the services they provide. Thomas Wyatt, chief marketing and strategy officer at San Francisco tech firm AppDynamics, outlines why company need to consider real-time application performance.
The on-demand revolution has changed the way we all live and work.
Today, with just a few clicks of an app, or no more than a word or two – “Hey Google” – we can order a taxi, buy groceries, transfer money or book a hotel room.
This is a brave new world for businesses, and those that harness the true power of real-time application performance will thrive.
How real-time application performance drives customer experience
Customer experiences are powered by and depend on applications and digital services, from brand engagement with customers to new ways of driving revenue.
The application is no longer another way to drive customer experience, the application is the customer experience.
The shift to on-demand has created an opportunity for many brands to build closer relationships with their customers.
The stakes are higher though, as these relationships are at risk of poor user experience or performance issues.
Expectations are higher than ever before, and patience is fleeting. It’s now taken as a given that the applications we use each day will work seamlessly.
Users who depend on these apps for their day-to-day lives aren’t content to wait hours or even minutes for a resolution or solution.
The on-demand economy has changed the rules: consumers have more choices than ever before, and competition is rife.
For every great offering like Uber, there’s at least one clear alternative like Lyft.
The compelling differentiators for the consumer are then, by default, experience and performance.
Importance of real-time for performance monitoring
Customer experience is instantaneous.
If an app is lagging and slow, or a critical page at checkout doesn’t load, the battle for a customer’s attention, and ultimately their business, may already be lost.
It is surprising then, that many IT organisations still operate reactively, waiting for problems to arise and be flagged before resolving them, which loses valuable time – and revenue – in the process.
Not only do these problems impact a business financially, but their reputation can also be damaged.
Through poor customer experience, it’s likely that brand reputation will be impacted, in some cases resulting in a reduction in customer loyalty.
The stakes are high, and when resolution times count for so much, businesses that can anticipate these issues proactively remain at least one step ahead of the rest.
In fact, according to recent research from AppDynamics, 58% of IT teams find out about performance issues from users calling or emailing their organisation’s help desk, and 55% find out from an executive or non-IT team member at their company who informs the IT staff.
This reactivity needs to move to proactive detection, resolution and ultimately prevention, to match consumer demands and expectations.
How can businesses and IT leaders adapt to the on-demand world?
Businesses must leverage real-time insights to drive customer experience wins.
Proactivity is key – don’t wait for weekly business intelligence reports to work out where improvements are required.
Instead, use real-time insights to monitor performance in relation to revenue, campaign conversion rates and overall user engagement so you can make adaptations on the fly, and delight customers in the process.
Customer experience is a discipline that drives customer satisfaction, brand loyalty and product advocacy.
Through this, CMOs and CIOs need to collaborate in a world led by digital experience – silos won’t work.
CMOs need to build strong relationships with their CIOs – and vice-versa – to find the common ground in customer experience.
A DevOps approach – a set of practices that automates the processes between software development and IT teams – with cross-team collaboration, leads to customer experience improvement.
These developments lead to the level of innovation required to keep ahead of competitors and to meet customer expectations, even as they continue to grow.
You can have a perfect product but if your promotional codes don’t work, or your website crashes, then there is a wall between your customer and your product, which they are unlikely to break through.
The value of application performance
To maximise your investment in digital experiences, tracking the application performance is a must.
Application performance needs to be front and centre for IT teams, but also for any department responsible for or investing in the customer experience.
Leaders should be monitoring application performance in real-time relative to specific lines of business.
The data from this provides valuable context for prioritising the necessary optimisations and helps lay the groundwork for a proactive approach to running your production environment.
It’s no longer enough for businesses to invest in sophisticated marketing activities, thoughtful product development, and value-driven sales efforts.
Applications are a critical part of the customer experience, so investments must be made in the optimisation of application performance monitoring (APM).
The changing performance landscape
Instant gratification is now a part of our lives, owing largely to the on-demand revolution, prompted by the rise of companies like Uber, Airbnb, Amazon and others.
This has, in turn, elevated the importance of the customer experience.
In this new world, it’s not enough to manage performance reactively.
Instead, businesses must orientate their thinking around a proactive, real-time approach that helps them win and retain customers to drive sustainable growth.