Brands have one chance to make a first digital impression

Research from Cisco suggests that using more apps during the pandemic has also raised consumers' expectations.


As the cliché goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression, and this is also the case when it comes to meeting consumers’ digital expectations.

According to a new survey by Cisco’s AppDynamics team, 51% of consumers say brands have one shot to impress them with their digital experiences before they switch to a competitor.

The research, which is based on interviews with more than 13,000 consumers, including 1,000 in Canada, reveals that the number of applications people are using on a daily basis has “jumped by a staggering 30%” compared with pre-lockdown. Also, 75% of respondents say applications and digital services have been a lifeline to some kind of normality during the pandemic, with 90% reporting digital services have helped people stay connected to friends and family (see, below) and 86% say it’s helped them access entertainment.

Not surprisingly, during COVID, brands that stepped up to provide their customers with higher levels of digital service, were rewarded with heightened loyalty: 73% of Canadian respondents say they are grateful to the brands that invested in digital during the pandemic.



Today’s consumers are looking for the “total application experience” – what Cisco calls a high-performing, reliable, digital service that’s simple, secure, helpful and fun to use, and personalized to their own individual needs and preferences. Overall, the app adds “real value” to their lives.

With 88% of people expecting their reliance on digital services to stay the same or increase over the next 12 months, it’s incumbent upon brands to improve things like page response times, downtime and security, especially as 60% state their expectation of digital services has changed forever and they won’t tolerate poor performance anymore.

The Index numbers reveals that frustration levels soar even higher if people encounter a problem when using a paid-for, premium application or subscription service.

What’s more, it doesn’t matter whether a problem is internal to the app or brand, or due to an external factor – consumers tend to blame the brand or application owner.

Among the report’s findings are that 77% of consumers believe it’s the responsibility of a brand to ensure that the digital service or application works perfectly, and 56% blame the application or brand when they encounter a problem with a digital service, irrespective of the issue.