Instant Gratification is now a Customer Demand

Instant gratification takes too long”.Carrie Fisher

We have discussed at length that customers now want everything now, they want to know everything now and they expect to be able to access information from anywhere and from any device they choose. Digitization has made customers even more impatient than before and hence instant gratification is now a customer demand – not a nice to have but a must have. Customers are aware that with the many technological advancements and rise of new competition for companies, their demand for instant gratification cannot be ignored and companies will go to any lengths to ‘feed’ this demand. The need and demand for instant gratification however, does not mean that customers will settle for anything but the best – the information through content must hold their attention till something new comes along and that becomes their focus.

The pace of information updates on the internet is keeping companies on their toes to ensure that whatever content and data they have on their websites and social media sites is always fresh and new. Customers are constantly accessing information and will tune off a company which has obsolete information.  As part of great customer service, it is expected that whatever customers receive will provide them instant gratification whether it is with new information or innovative products. Making the work of companies harder is the fact that customers want content that is visually attractive, engaging and seemingly customized – like business online videos, product information, industry insights and other such content which must add value and instant gratification. Response to these needs and demands must be timely, effective and efficient.

Instant gratification is now a customer demand that companies know they must comply with, since it will provide them with a humongous benefit from a revenue and profit perspective. The products that now flood the market are also aimed at instant gratification – whether it is about looking fairer instantly, losing weight now, getting a crop of hair straightaway, instant coffee, click and pull out photographs and even on the spot credit cards with ‘immediate’ validity – the use of the words now, instantly, immediately are now inseparable from marketing and promotion campaigns. This is probably why on-line business and shopping has caught on like ‘forest fire’ – it is all about now. As part of customer service – remote troubleshooting, on-line chats with company representatives, tiny ‘windows of delivery’ – are now common and customers abandon companies that do not provide this instant gratification kind of customer service.

While instant gratification may still be a nice to have in some industries, it is a customer expectation in most. The customer base is getting younger and successful, their tolerance to wait is also dropping – it’s all about instant gratification be it a message they want to receive now or that food item they must have instantly. It has been discussed earlier – customers have changed and the business world has been forced to change to keep up with the ‘new’ customers. Companies are in the think creatively and differently mode since attracting new customers is much harder than retaining current ones. In the current times, no company can hope to survive, let alone flourish, if they don’t have a website and social media pages that has currently relevant information and content and will allow their customers to access them from anywhere and anytime. Customers would not even bother with companies that are not attuned to their demand for instant gratification and those that cannot maintain the pace they expect.

Companies have also become smarter – their ad campaigns, promotions and other such marketing events ensure that customers fully understand that as soon as they pay for the products, their demand for instant gratification will be met by the products. Yet other companies incite the desire for instant gratification in customers by using words and depictions that will get the customer to make that purchase. Words that create urgency and immediacy are purposefully used to turn the customer’s attention to instant gratification and by focusing on the fact that only their product or service can deliver such immediate benefits. From experience, we know that, even an email, with the subject line like – “hurry, only last two days” or “get the dress you wanted now” – probably are opened immediately as opposed to one that does not create hype and urgency.

Instant gratification feeds the emotional need of customers – to have something that no one else does or get that something before anyone else – a matter of pride and prestige to own a limited edition or one of the specially tailored pieces. To create hype and the need for instant gratification, companies must know their customers and potential customers well. This is all part of great customer service – customers and prospective ones must be able to see that the company’s intent is to give them the best and in the shortest possible time. Smart companies with clever marketing and customer service teams are able to effectively create such hype and stoke the customer’s interest to such an extent that as soon as the product is launched, instant gratification gets the better of them and they buy they product and also recommend it to their friends and associates.

As part of marketing tactics, companies that operate in an industry that pays attention and respect to instant gratification, companies would first conduct market research to know which products and brands, customers would want ‘now’. In addition, it is also important to check back with customers to understand what they feel about the brand and whether the brand is able to deliver on the initial promise. The data gathered would help the marketing teams in conjunction with the customer service teams to put together campaigns that would ‘fuel’ the instant gratification desire, making it a need. The clever marketing strategies ensure that even if the product or service does not actually fulfil the need of instant gratification, they can at least appear to be so.

Instant gratification would seem like a given – it is all around now – and with technology and even more frenzied competition, customers really do not need to wait. A survey revealed that at least 50% of women customers made it amply clear that with so many roles they juggle, they don’t have enough free time and hence if there is a product and service that will make their lives smoother and get their work done faster, why wouldn’t they want it ‘now / instantly’? Instant gratification has now become a trend that is popular with customers – everything that companies provide from customer service to delivery of products, must be instantaneous – else there is always another company.

As mentioned earlier, a lot of the customers now are tweens, teens, young adults – impatient and always on the move. They have smart devices and a continuously on-line searching frenziedly for something or the other. They opt for instant choices and make most of their purchases on-line and often choose to pick up the product at the store to cut out shipping time. This satisfies their need to check out the product before using and also getting it within the least possible time. It’s rather amusing but this incident fits in perfectly – a friend’s daughter looked up a pair of shoes on the net and post that coaxed my friend to take her to the store. She bought the shoes and put them on right then and was elated that she had that particular design before any of her friends. It’s funny but instant gratification is true!

Companies must however, not mistake instant gratification for being able to let up on quality and prompt customer service. In fact, being able to provide instantaneous support and solutions is also part of the instant gratification demand of customers. Instant gratification is now a customer demand and is therefore here to stay – it is for companies to help make the lives of their customers easier and better, which in turn would be the difference between success and failure.

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