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Why Customers are Unhappy with Your Mobile Apps

Despite the embrace of mobile applications by companies, customers are reporting shockingly low user satisfaction.

How quickly do things change in the world of mobility? Just last year, CA Technologies conducted a worldwide survey that told an entirely different story from the one we are hearing today. 2013’s Enterprise Mobility – It’s All About the Apps was a call to action for enterprise IT to keep up with customers mobility demands and employee’s desire for BYOD.

If last year was about keeping up with customers’ mobile application demands, this year that issue has all but disappeared. Our 2014 survey respondents released an average of six customer-facing apps last year, and 71 percent of organizations surveyed are now providing mobile apps to their customers. So what’s the problem?

Our latest research report, Mobility: Why Your Customers Aren’t Satisfied and What to Do About It, is a wakeup call. The survey reveals shockingly low end user satisfaction with enterprises’ mobility offerings. Only 22 percent of enterprises say their end users are completely satisfied. A full one-third is either dis-satisfied or “neutral” about their mobile experience – not a ringing endorsement of the huge investment organizations have made in mobility. It is no wonder that both line-of-business (LOB) and IT executives are unhappy with their own mobility initiatives – only 28 percent are completely satisfied with the customer acceptance of their offerings, and just 27 percent are completely satisfied with the competitiveness of their offerings.

Room for improvement

I am probably typical of most users in finding myself bombarded with hundreds of new apps weekly – every website, every online service, every company encourages me to download their app. The first opportunity for frustration is the download process itself – my most recent attempt to download an app from my healthcare provider came with an instruction screen of a six-step process that included having to search the app store for a very peculiar-named app.  

Once the app is downloaded, then the real trouble begins. How long does it take for the app itself to load? How fast does it respond? Is the navigation obvious? Is every part working (hint: answer is often no)? Is the app missing key functionality that was available on the website for no apparent reason (my favorite pet peeve)? Are users confused when they are forced hop back and forth between their app and their mobile website to find things?

Customer experience is crucial

Enterprises are starting to catch on that they need to be paying a lot more attention to how users interact with their mobile apps, and start to improve the overall experience. For further proof, this year’s survey lists the number one driver of organizations’ mobility projects as, “improving the overall end user experience.”  This was a distant number four on last year’s survey, and shows the change that has happened as enterprises have become more experienced with their mobile projects. 

There are significant obstacles however. Many enterprises have not focused on the integration needed to address the entire mobility application lifecycle. For instance, most apps are really just front-ends to a whole host of back-end systems, which serve up data and perform transactions, so attention must be paid to systems, network and application performance, as well as real-time monitoring to correct issues. 

Security is another issue that looms large. Improving mobile security is in the top five priority list in this year’s survey. In fact, organizations’ number two security priority – second only to protecting against data breaches – is improving the mobile customer experience.

The enterprise mobility solution

Enterprise mobility is an integrated, holistic strategy across all key IT domains and aligned with the fundamental business strategies of the organization. Enterprise mobility provides a comprehensive approach across an organization, rather than a set of piece-meal projects.

This year’s survey shows that organizations are increasingly turning to this approach – 87 percent have either already adopted enterprise mobility or plan to in the next two years. This compares to 78 percent in last year’s survey (see the chart below).

The benefits to adopting an enterprise-wide approach to mobility are significant. According to our survey:

  • Enterprise mobility adopters report six times more end users who are completely satisfied with their mobility offerings.
  • Twice as many enterprise mobility adopters have already seen an improvement in overall user experience.

  • Enterprise mobility adopters have seen a 24 percent revenue increase from customer-facing mobility apps and a 25 percent improvement in the overall customer experience.

How are you planning to enhance the customer experience with your mobility projects?

Tell me what you think here or on Twitter @jackiekahle or LinkedIn. For the full survey results, download “Mobility: Why Your Customers Aren’t Satisfied, And What To Do About It

More Stories By Jackie Kahle

Jackie is a 30-year veteran of the IT industry and has held senior management positions in marketing, business development, and strategic planning for major systems, software, and services companies including Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, and Gartner. She currently manages the strategy and execution of CA Technologies thought leadership programs. Jackie has an MBA from the Whittemore School, University of New Hampshire, a BA in Mathematics from New York University and is the Vice-Chair of the N.H. State Council on the Arts.

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