As the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we all shop, work and interact, the digital customer experience has solidified its place as the most important aspect of retail businesses. These past months, IT teams have been feeling more pressure than ever before to make each customer's digital interaction perfect.
According to the recent Agents of Transformation Report from AppDynamics, part of Cisco, technology priorities during the pandemic have changed within 95 percent of organizations, and 88 percent reported that digital customer experience is now the No. 1 priority for their organization. In the digital world, these customer experiences happen in seconds. If someone can’t complete a purchase because a critical page in the checkout process won’t load, the battle for their loyalty and their business could be lost forever.
Even physical stores are looking at more contactless payment options for the long term, which means more digital touchpoints for the customer. A customer wouldn't accept if a human cashier suddenly couldn't complete a transaction, and won't tolerate poor performance from a digital platform in-store or on their device.
Retailers work hard to create emotional connections with their customers, and this connection must continue into the digital realm through the online shopping experience, the purchase transaction, and the ability to respond to customer issues in near real time. This real-time reaction requires huge amounts of data and an understanding of how the company’s digital platforms and apps work together to get it right each time.
It's important for the technologists and IT teams within organizations to take a proactive role in getting what they need to support these business-critical digital interactions, and maintain successful engagement with customers.
So, what should IT leaders do to ensure they can be successful? Consider the following steps:
- Get the right tools in place to proactively manage the new demands on teams and ecosystems. When we talk about digital experiences, almost all those interactions are occurring through applications, making application performance and understanding the health of the application ecosystem critical to acclimate to new capacity and infrastructure demands. IT teams need to ask for the right tools to provide themselves with a full, real-time view of their ecosystem if this isn't already in place.
- Leverage real-time insights to deliver a positive customer experience. Don’t rely on daily or weekly status reports to tell you where issues may have occurred or where you need to improve. Use real-time data and insights to monitor performance across your ecosystem, from campaign conversion rates to overall user engagement. This data can be used to make adjustments or fix issues as needed.
- Personalize user experiences to ensure customer loyalty. Before the pandemic, 70 percent of consumers who participated in the AppDynamics App Attention Index said they want digital experiences to be even more personalized than face-to-face interactions. Now, this is even more important. To get the most out of your investment in digital experiences, you must understand how your customers are interacting with your brand at every stage, and create an experience that fits each of their needs.
As retailers put digital-only interactions at the heart of their businesses, IT professionals are responsible for implementing sustainable solutions that keep customers coming back time and time again. And while the Agents of Transformation Report showed that 81 percent of IT professionals said COVID-19 created the biggest technology pressure their organization ever experienced, it's up to technologists to ask for what they need to create the perfect customer experience and drive repeat business. Leveraging real-time data, offering business insights and asking for the right tools — such as an application performance monitoring (APM) solution — will allow technologists to give business leaders the information they need to make informed decisions, address needs immediately and, ultimately, retain customers.
Joe Byrne is a regional CTO at AppDynamics, where his primary focus is on working with customers and prospects on APM strategy and helping with digital transformations.
Joe Byrne is a Regional CTO at AppDynamics, the Application Intelligence company and part of the Cisco family. With AppDynamics, enterprises have real-time insights into application performance, user performance and business performance.
His primary focus is on working with customers and prospects on APM strategy and helping with digital transformations. He also works closely with Sales, Marketing, Product and Engineering on product strategy. Prior to AppDynamics, Joe held technology leadership roles at Albertsons, EllieMae and Johnson and Johnson.