John Kelly

When every experience matters, we find the true cost of poor quality

May 31, 2022
E-commerce Services E-commerce Software Mobile Apps

Brand equity and reputation are everything, and CIOs need to make sure their organization is in the best position to deliver.

A mobile user manipulates a virtual display with finance-related icons.
Credit: ipopba / Getty Images

Every CIO understands that when it comes to the technical performance of your company and protecting the reputation of your brand, the buck stops with you.

In an age where every brand is considered a digital brand because the customer’s main touchpoint is a mobile application, the CIO is the head of product and Chief Marketing Officer at the same time. Top-of-mind questions for this individual will always revolve around customer experience: How do I protect brand equity? How do I ensure a quality experience every time? Of course, due to the dynamic nature of DevOps, you are also trying to stay agile and get your product to market faster than ever.

Unfortunately, it only takes one negative engagement with a company to damage all the goodwill and trust that has built up over years. This is the idea behind Every Experience Matters. Dazzling your customers and delivering the best possible mobile app experience helps them connect with the world, interact with friends, and leverage the power of eCommerce. On the flip side, negative experiences directly impact your business with a loss of revenue, frustration, and customer churn.

To quantify the impact of digital experience, we recently commissioned the Every Experience Matters consumer report. The report extrapolates the negative business impacts of poor code and how it affects the performance of your mobile app–and ultimately your revenue.

First, errors are common. One in four respondents reports encountering an error every day. And while all errors are not created equally, user behavior when encountering a bug follows a certain pattern. For example, 20% of consumers say that after they encounter even one error, they will never shop with a brand again. This is consistent with the 18% who say they will spend no time waiting for error resolution before taking their business elsewhere, and the 17% who will try to reload a page one or zero times before giving up. With this information, we can confidently say that one in five of your customers is ripe for churn. Retention is key, and one small bug could lead to a severe impact on your bottom line.

For a CIO, this stat confirms that every experience matters, that our customers are not forgiving, and that every piece of software needs to work every time on the first try. We start to think of issues like cart abandonment and negative reviews as the top ways that a negative experience can impact the balance sheet. Speaking to that, a quarter of respondents mentioned that they have left a negative review after a poor digital experience and at least half have shared the anecdote with a friend, which can lead to negative word of mouth.

More interestingly is how brand perception changes after consumers encounter an error on your mobile platform. We talk so much about brand loyalty these days, but the data illustrates just how easy it is to lose a customer’s trust. Only 59% of users think it’s possible for a company that serves a poor user experience to deliver a quality product. This is maddening for a CIO. For example, if your business is cell phones, and you have a confusing ordering platform, 41% of customers will assume you make bad phones. Customers have strong emotional reactions to bad experiences. One error destroys trust.

Additionally, in an age where the entire market is obsessed with data protection, 63% of consumers think errors are indicative of poor security. Slow load times on your mobile app can make a user jump to the conclusion that their data is not secure. Lastly, as a cynical kicker, most consumers (53%) think developers are only likely to fix an issue if it costs them money.

If this study proves anything, it’s that every error costs you money.

There are ways to alleviate these problems, however. Test early and often to give yourself every opportunity to succeed, and instill the digital confidence that you can deliver that excellent customer experience every time.

The world of DevOps has changed the world of test. It’s no longer just a few QA professionals responsible for making sure software works the way it was intended to. Developers and product managers are involved, and of course, so is the CIO, because quality is everyone’s responsibility.

Brands can help rehab their reputations, bring back customers and fix broken experiences that result from error-laden websites if they learn to balance the speed and quality of their application development. Developers shouldn’t have to choose between the quality

of their apps and the speed at which they’re able to deploy innovative new features and updates. While it’s clear users and businesses themselves are losing as brands struggle with this challenge, better technology through testing can help. Brand equity and reputation are everything–as a CIO, it’s up to you to make sure your company puts itself in the best position to succeed.

John Kelly

John Kelly is Chief Strategy Officer at Sauce Labs, where he is responsible for company vision, merger and acquisition strategy, advanced research and development, and key technology partnerships. Prior to taking on this role, John acted as Chief Technology Officer at Sauce Labs. With over 25 years of industry experience, John has held executive leadership positions spanning R&D, product management, engineering, and business development across a number of technology companies ranging from startup to Fortune 500.