A Bad Digital Experience Can Ruin Your Customers' Holiday Cheer

This holiday season, UAE consumers will be relying on digital services like never before, and with the pressure on for things to run smoothly, they will be completely unforgiving of any brand that fails to deliver a seamless digital experience.

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  • When you think of holiday season nightmares, your mind probably goes to travel delays, overbooked hotels, family arguments, and less-than-ideal dinners! 

    But with applications and digital services now so central to our lives, a whole new set of potential nightmare scenarios has emerged.

    At Cisco, we recently surveyed more than 12,000 consumers, including a thousand in the UAE, exploring the role that digital services will play over the holiday season this year. We found that 78% of people in the UAE now believe that applications and digital services are important in having an enjoyable holiday. And significantly, almost two-thirds of UAE consumers (65%) are concerned that if a digital service doesn’t perform, it could ruin their festive celebrations.

    This holiday season, UAE consumers will be relying on digital services like never before, and with the pressure on for things to run smoothly, they will be completely unforgiving of any brand that fails to deliver a seamless digital experience. 

    Applications will play a central role over the holidays

    The research uncovers the sheer breadth of different digital services that people will be using over the holidays. Whether it’s streaming movies and music, connecting with friends and family, keeping up to date with news, or managing finances and insurance, the vast majority of UAE consumers will be relying on a huge number of applications. In fact, 77% report that they are likely to be using more applications and digital services this holiday season than in previous years.

    However, with many people totally reliant on digital services for almost every aspect of their holiday plans, the potential consequences of poor performing applications are now severe. A large portion (71%) of consumers in the Emirates admit to being worried that if a digital service doesn’t work, as it should, it will impact their family holiday. 

    Of course, it’s normal to feel a bit anxious ahead of holiday celebrations, wanting everything to go to plan and for everybody to have a good time. But that level of worry has gone up a notch — people are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of a poorly performing application. 

    In particular, UAE consumers point to a number of scenarios that would affect their holiday mood this year. Nearly half (45%) are concerned about a banking application not working, causing them to not be able to make an important payment or transfer, while 43% are worried about a messaging platform failing, stopping them from speaking to friends and family during the holidays. 38% of people in the UAE are anxious about the possibility of a retail application going down so that they can’t buy a last-minute gift or order some last-minute ingredients for their holiday cooking. 

    No goodwill to brands whose applications fail this holiday season

    Across the world, and particularly in the UAE, people’s concerns are growing about applications and digital services letting them down and turning the most wonderful time of the year into one of stress and frustration. In fact, 45% of UAE consumers admit that they will find it harder to enjoy themselves as much as they otherwise would if they encounter a bad digital experience.

    As a result, reactions to poorly performing applications are likely to be extreme. People will get anxious and angry, and vent to friends and family about the problems they’re having. And nearly one-third (32%) state that they will immediately delete an application that fails them and never use it again.

    Perhaps most tellingly, 63% of UAE consumers say that even though it’s the holiday season, they won’t be able to forgive an application that lets them down. Whether it’s slow loading pages, payment issues or downtime, seasonal goodwill will disappear the moment people encounter a bad digital experience. People will simply turn their back on the brand in question and go elsewhere. 

    Application owners must be ready to spread cheer this holiday season

    Application owners in all sectors need to prepare themselves for unprecedented levels of traffic over the holiday season. Consumers will be swarming to their applications and digital services and the opportunity to engage new customers and boost sales will be enormous. 

    But with customers becoming ever more sophisticated in their use of digital services, their expectations for digital experience continue to rise exponentially. Consumers today want only the very best, most intuitive, seamless and secure applications. 

    Application owners must ensure that their applications are performing at an optimal level at all times. However, for the vast majority of IT departments, this is easier said than done. As a result of rapid digital transformation across almost all industries, many IT teams now find themselves managing an increasingly dispersed and complex application environment. They’re struggling to get visibility into Kubernetes environments and they can’t get a clear line of sight for applications where components are running across cloud native and on premises environments. 

    Implementing an application observability solution with the flexibility to span across hybrid environments can provide organizations with a single source of truth, making it easier for technologists to rapidly identify and remediate application performance issues before they impact the customer. Crucially, with application observability, technologists can correlate application availability, performance and security data with key business metrics, enabling them to prioritize those issues which could do most damage to digital experience and, ultimately, the bottom line. 

    The message for brands in the UAE is clear; don’t let your application be the one that ruins the holiday season for consumers. Act now to ensure that your IT teams are equipped to deliver seamless digital experiences and spread holiday cheer to all. 


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