Digital experiences: The magic formula for customer satisfaction

What should brands bear in mind and how can they meet the high benchmarks of today’s consumers?

Simon McNally

Identity and Access Management expert Thales


Consumers have higher standards than ever when it comes to their online interaction with brands. Whether it’s browsing a website, managing an account online, making a purchase, or seeking customer support, expectations are elevated across the board. And, in a competitive landscape, brands have a lot to deliver on to not only maintain customer loyalty and meet basic needs, but to also stand out from the crowd.

Thales’ 2024 Digital Trust Index shone a light on customer expectations, with convenience, efficiency, trust, and security proving to be the focus areas businesses need to be prioritising – and in equal measure. So, what should brands bear in mind, and how can they meet the high benchmarks of today’s consumers?

Trust and security are business best practice

A trusted digital experience is now a non-negotiable for consumers, and the security of their personal data is paramount – especially with high-profile data breaches involving customer data continuing to make their way into the news. And while most consumers (89%) are willing to share their data with organisations, they do have various non-negotiable caveats regarding how it is used and protected.

Almost nine in ten (87%) have some level of privacy expectations from the companies they interact with online. The biggest expectation is the right to be informed that their personal data is being collected (55%), closely followed by the right to have their personal data erased (53%). Almost a third (30%) also revealed they are uncomfortable with brands still having access to their data once they’ve stopped using a brand and would take actions to rectify this. Ultimately, transparency and ownership are key.

Not delivering on these can be a deal breaker. In fact, a fifth (20%) of Brits have abandoned brands in the past 12 months for demanding too much information, and over a quarter (26%) abandoned a brand or service because of concerns about how their personal data was being used. Brands providing clarity over their data security protocols and putting consumers in the driving seat to re-take ownership of their personal information will lead the way in building brand-consumer trust.

The relationship between trust and user experience is the foundation of successful digital experiences.

Simon McNally, Identity and Access Management expert, Thales

Time and convenience are equally important

Time is also a precious commodity for today’s time-poor consumers, and brands providing both convenience and efficiency are better positioned to stay in customers’ good books.

Not delivering on this front is often at the detriment of the brand. Almost a quarter (22%) of consumers abandon online interactions within a minute if they prove to be frustrating. Long sign-up processes (25%) and slow websites (25%) have also prompted consumers to part ways with brands. This highlights the need for efficient, hassle-free, and streamlined online experiences, and shows just how easily customers can get cold feet when experiences don’t meet their expectations.

Tailoring interactions is another consideration. Accommodating consumers’ preferred channels for interactions is considered a must-have or a nice-to-have by 80%, and, providing the option to reach out at a time that suits them is an increasing need, too. Many expect working day convenience, with almost three quarters (72%) of consumers preferring interactions that align with their working hours (9am to 5pm).

Almost a third (31%), however, demand round-the-clock interaction capabilities. To rise to the challenge of delivering 24/7 availability, and an overall better experience, brands should consider artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities and self-service functionalities. In fact, 51% of consumers say they are happy for companies to use generative AI to make experiences better, so brands should start to consider integrating such emerging technologies into their tech stack, if they haven’t already.

Digital experience no-gos

Poor digital experiences are also leaving Brits frustrated, which does nothing for customer loyalty or relationship building. Things like pop-up ads (71%), passwords (64%), re-entering passwords multiple times (62%) and cookies (56%) were ranked the top four culprits. Other common customer pain points include password resets (64%), re-entering personal information already shared (65%), and entering payment details (49%), again tying to the overarching need for convenience.

Brands should therefore pay special attention to these bugbears, and look for ways to mitigate them in their digital experiences. Data pre-filling, for example, is considered a must-have or nice-to-have by 73%, and would reduce cases of re-entering information. Furthermore, passwordless login experiences would help streamline and secure authentication processes, bidding adieu to traditional password pet-peeves. With it being considered a nice-to-have or a must-have by 72%, this alternative to passwords should also be a consideration for brands going forwards.

The takeaways

The relationship between trust and user experience is the foundation of successful digital experiences. There is no longer an either/or – customers want both security and seamless experiences, and comprising on either can be a deal breaker in such a competitive market.

In fact, under performing on these fronts can prompt consumers to walk away. This challenges businesses to introduce the necessary friction to online interactions for security and privacy purposes, without it being too much that it creates a bad user experience. The two cannot be mutually exclusive, and brands must rise to this challenge.

Guest Author

Simon McNally

Identity and Access Management expert Thales


Simon McNally is an Identity and Access Management expert at Thales. Simon has over thirty years’ experience working within the IT industry, with 26 years focused on network management and security solutions, including security and auditing technologies, firewalling products, identity and access management, and authentication technologies both on premise and via the cloud.

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