British consumers have a zero tolerance attitude to glitches – study

Renowned for our patience, politeness and love of queuing, Brits aren’t tolerant when it comes to poor technology, according to new research from data virtualisation company, Delphix. Companies that deliver a poor technology experience will find customers voting with their feet: 70% of us avoid companies that regularly have technical issues and 70% expect companies to use the latest technology when dealing with customers.

‘The findings reinforce our own experience as consumers – everyone wants the latest technology, they want it now and they won’t stand for glitches,’ Iain Chidgey, VP and general manager EMEA at Delphix said.

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‘This has in part been driven by the smartphone. With app stores, auto-registering using social networks and pre-stored credit card details, you can download and buy in minutes. We’ve come to expect that speed and efficiency every time we interact with a company, from bank to supermarket.  And if we don’t get it, we’ll go somewhere else.’

Great expectations

Expectations are high when it comes to the technology companies use to interact with us such as websites, mobile apps, online shopping and in-store technology. Respondents say it’s important for online banking (79%) and online retail (78%) to use the latest technology.

The vast majority of us also expect that technology to be fast (82%), reliable (87%) and easy to use (87%). There’s more: 60% expect innovative features and 74% demand regular technology updates.

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‘Customers quite rightly expect their suppliers of choice to be fast, innovative and reliable – but that’s a tall order for many companies that have ageing IT systems and out of date internal processes,’ Delphix’ Chidgey continues. ‘What is required is a re-think in the way they develop customer-facing technology. That means adopting more agile practices that let them deliver new features and fixes monthly or even weekly rather than the traditional once a year if you were lucky.  However, the size and complexity of the data involved holds companies back – that’s where Delphix can help with its innovative virtualisation approach.’

Zero tolerance

There is little tolerance for technical glitches.  In fact, a quarter of Brits think it is never acceptable for online banking or payments to have a technical problem.  The rest will only tolerate one every 10 months.  Almost two in five (37%) admit that they are less tolerant of technical issues than they were five years ago. 

The fury of a customer scorned

Two in five (42%) customers will definitely switch to a competitor if their current provider has regular technical issues that aren’t resolved and a further 40% will consider switching. Almost half (49%) would definitely switch or consider switching if their chosen provider was slow to update its technology.  Even those companies that fix regular technical issues quickly will lose the good opinion of a quarter (25%) of their customers.

> See also: Data mistakes lose supermarkets billions – report

‘1.1 million customers changed banks using the new Payments Council switching service, up 19% on the previous year. With services like this, comparison sites and online reviews, it’s now so easy to find and change providers, whatever the market. Holding onto existing customers has always meant providing a great customer experience. As technology becomes the de facto way we engage with companies, they need to act now to make the experience as enjoyable, quick and easy as possible,’ concluded Chidgey.


Lack of up-to-date technology frustrates nearly two thirds (60%) of us, whilst almost half (48%) actively avoid using companies that use out of date technology.  Online banking is, unsurprisingly, the industry most under pressure with customers expecting updates to be made at least once every four months, compared to the average expectation of four to six months across all industries.

The survey

The survey of 2,000 Brits explored how technology affects our experience with, and opinion of, the companies we deal with every day, including banks, online shops, supermarkets, and  phone and TV providers. It was conducted by Opinium on behalf of Delphix.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...