London, UK February 24, 2010 – CA, Inc. (NASDAQ: CA), the world’s leading independent IT management software company, today announced the first ever neurological study of consumer reactions to a poor online experience. The research proves that many consumers experience ‘web stress’ when trying to make an online purchase. The stress levels of volunteers who took part in the study rose significantly when they were confronted with a poor online shopping experience. In order to retain customers, attract new ones and prosper during the economic recovery, CA is calling for European businesses to focus on giving their customers the best possible online experience.

CA partnered with Foviance http://foviance.com – a leading customer experience consultancy – to explore ‘web stress’ in relation to application performance, and its impact on consumer behaviour and buying habits. Brain wave analysis from the experiment revealed that participants had to concentrate up to 50% more when using badly performing websites, while facial muscle and behavioural analysis of the subjects also revealed greater agitation and stress in these periods.

During the study, volunteers were wired up to sophisticated neurological and physiological testing equipment, including an EEG (Electroencephalography) cap which was used to monitor brain wave activity. The volunteers then carried out a series of everyday online tasks such as finding and buying a laptop PC and travel insurance. Using all the data gathered, CA and Foviance identified the two most stressful points of the online sales cycle were search and checkout. At these two points, subjects experienced heightened levels of ‘web stress’. During the experiment, volunteers persevered and completed the purchase but in reality, more than three quarters of customers will abandon the site. The study also revealed that after a bout of heightened ‘web stress’, on average it took each participant up to a minute to return to a relaxed state.

“The results of this study sends out a clear message – businesses need to reduce ‘web stress’ and improve the online experience of their customers if they’re going to maximise returns from their web channel,” said Kobi Korsah, Director, EMEA Product Marketing at CA. “It’s not just about website design or internet connection speeds – the performance of a website is dependent on the performance of the web applications that support it. Businesses need an Application Performance Management (APM)** solution which not only provides real insight into how customers are experiencing their web applications, but will proactively manage the performance and availability of these applications. This translates into better customer service, improved brand loyalty and increased sales.”

Catriona Campbell, leading behavioural psychologist, Director and Founder of Foviance, said: “Consumers have very high expectations of web applications and web sites – to be always available and instantly responsive. This experiment simulated the experience of underperforming web applications for our volunteers. The results show that when online expectations aren’t met, people quickly become agitated, confused and have to concentrate 50% more than normal. All these problems can be detected and prevented as long as businesses take a proactive approach to measuring the customer’s experience of web applications.”

The experiment builds on the CA 2009 Web Stress Index published last year which examined the frustrations associated with underperforming web applications. The research found that more than three quarters (77%) of European consumers blame either website owner or the website host (which is in any case chosen by the website owner) when an online application fails. It also revealed that if consumers encounter problems online, 40% will go to a rival website and 37% will abandon the transaction entirely. Only 18% said they would report a problem to a company, which means companies need to have their own measures in place to understand how their website is performing from the customer’s point of view.

Foviance carried out the study on behalf of CA at the labs of Glasgow Caledonian University in January 2010. Thirteen volunteers took part in the study – eight female and five male participants, aged between 22 and 42. The participants were from the UK, Italy, Spain, France, and Germany. During the study, volunteers were wired up to sophisticated neurological and physiological testing equipment, including an EEG (Electroencephalography) cap which was used to monitor brain wave activity. They then carried out a series of everyday online tasks such as finding and buying a laptop PC and travel insurance.

Download the study here: http://www.foviance.com/what-we-think/web-stress-a-wake-up-call-for-european-business/

Published on: 10:49AM on 24th February 2010