Home Tech Updates Consumer relationships with digital services continue to change

Consumer relationships with digital services continue to change

by Helen J. Wolf
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Two years of pandemic-induced reliance on technology for work has changed our relationship with digital apps and services, according to new research from Infosys.

When asked what respondents would like to see the back of, they said they were tired of “Zoom video calls” and “being available 24/7.” In turn, demand for virtual collaboration tools and video conferencing has declined, despite the popularity of digital services to enable remote and flexible working, the study finds.

A year earlier, in November 2020, Infosys’ CX to HX report revealed that technology gave Australians more joy, flexibility, and empowerment than ever before.

Consumer relationships with digital services continue to change

The more recent survey found that respondents spoke of “a love-hate relationship” with using technology for work, partly reflecting its convenience but also referring to it as “tiring” and “depressing”.

This follows reports that employee tracking software has become the ‘new normal’. At the same time, Google data suggests our virtual working lives are here to stay, with foot traffic to offices yet to return to levels of before the pandemic.

Interestingly, the study also found that New Zealanders experienced a much smaller drop in positive sentiment – from 57% in 2020 to 41% in 2021. This suggests that Australia, home to Melbourne – the world’s most closed-off city, may have had a major impact on local sentiment.

Andrew Groth, Infosys Executive Vice President, Region Head A/NZ, said: “As employers continue to evolve and advocate for digital tools, they must consider the mental strain people experience with unlimited screen time. Digital fatigue means less clarity and creativity, reducing the ability to innovate and explore new ideas.”

Seeing the future for digital services, survey respondents were twice as likely to be neutral about using technology for leisure. However, anecdotal responses suggested balancing our virtual and physical lives outside of work is easier.

The survey found that respondents see many positives in digital services, including older people and the immunocompromised, who describe their online lives as a “lifeline” and “empowerment”.

Regarding what people want more, speed and ease of use it has propelled them forward as the number one factor for Australians, with 80% of respondents citing this as the top driver for brand loyalty.

Groth notes, “Consumers demand digital experiences that are fast and easy, so getting that foundation right and moving forward to create the entertaining, stimulating, and helpful experiences people want is a valuable point of difference.

“Meanwhile, the metaverse concept represents the burgeoning potential for brands and users to connect in new ways and truly transform the digital age. We’re seeing the emergence of a parallel online reality, where people can work, shop and connect digitally – with good design that makes it feel more human.”

Among the digital services considered the most improved over the past year, respondents rated banking and retail the highest, closely followed by groceries.

These services were also recognized as the most accessible for people with disabilities, which is important to note as respondents specifically called for a more inclusive design that the end user tests.

One respondent asked that companies “hire people with disabilities to test and provide feedback because if you don’t have the disability, you can’t provide accurate feedback as we can.”

Another noted that accessibility benefits all users, saying, “I’ve noticed that technology is becoming more user-friendly, probably because of the increasing number of people of all ages and technical skills using websites and services.”

Matt Kain, Wongdoody president for APAC, commented on the findings: “Two years after the pandemic, it is clear that our relationship with technology is beginning to come under pressure.

“What’s promising is that respondents still see the joy in technology, with the ability to connect. This human aspect of technology will become increasingly desirable and set companies apart – but only if they make it accessible through design .”

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