Jaime Bailey

How to Combat the Challenge of Instant Gratification in Each Communication Channel


Patience is supposed to be one of the great virtues, but in today’s one-click-ordering, same-day-shipping economy, patience seems like an old-fashioned idea that went out with buggy whips.

We’ve grown so used to instant gratification, we only notice it when we don’t get it – which poses a problem for businesses. How can you efficiently feed customers’ need for immediate results at each point in the journey? Every organization will battle this problem differently, but here are several tactics to consider.

Respond Quickly

Customers expect fast response times not only on the phone but over all channels. Call Centre Helper reports leading contact centers strive to meet tough new standards:

  • 90% of calls in 15 seconds
  • 80% of emails in 15 minutes
  • 80% of chat in 40 seconds
  • 80% of social media contacts in 20 minutes
  • 80% of text messages in 40 seconds

To meet these challenges, contact centers have to manage staffing carefully and cross train representatives to handle calls, texts, emails, social messages and chat. Automatic responses and chat bots can also provide immediate basic information or collect customer details to save agents time.

Use Callback If There’s a Wait

Even the best staffing manager can be caught off guard with unexpected volume, employees who can’t make it in or hiring constraints. But if a human can’t reply quickly to incoming requests, callback systems, like VHT Callback, can.

Customers still have the instant gratification of getting a fast response and a scheduled appointment; plus, they can spend the intervening time on other activities. Callback also expands to handle multiple channels, such as web, chat and social media.

Ensure Reps Have Resources

Reps need to spend as much time as required to resolve customer issues, but the faster they do so, they more people they serve, cutting overall wait time. Reduce call length and increase first call resolution with a searchable wiki or company knowledge base for speedy answers.

Also, provide intuitive customer relationship management (CRM) that shows agents what people have done via web, text or email. Far from instant gratification, asking callers to repeat what they just typed into a chat bot will cause instant frustration.

Streamline Processes

Follow in the footsteps of Amazon and Walmart’s one-click purchasing to offer the instant gratification of easy transactions. Find out the steps customers go through to resolve billing issues, return merchandise or get support – then simplify.

For example, create a web app that requires just one click to print a paid return mailing label. Then, offer alternate products based on the reason for return and make it stupid easy to order. In the end, you’ve turned disappointment with the wrong purchase into happy anticipation of the right one.

Follow Up With Strong Communications

Customers not only want fast action on requests, they also want instant status updates on deliveries or problem resolution.  Gratify their need for information before they ask for it with timely messages.

Communicate at several key points, including:

  • When an item ships
  • When a delivery is late
  • After a product is delivered
  • Before a scheduled appointment
  • While a problem is being resolved
  • After a poor customer satisfaction score
  • After an excellent customer satisfaction score

Get Proactive

Research by Localytics found that 53.3% of consumers opt in to push notifications. In other words, they want to hear from you about product information, specials or tips they might find attractive or useful.

Well-done push messages go beyond instant gratification to prescient gratification. You understand customers well enough to offer what they want before they want it and win your business a rapidly loyal following.

For the best results, base notifications on individual buying trends, response rates and communication preferences. Let people opt in and out easily, and personalize the contacts with first names, references to recent purchases or birthday congratulations. It’s a great idea to offer a callback or chat link as well, so people can easily ask questions before placing an order.

Sprinkle in Unexpected Gratification

Aside from the question or problem they bring to your contact center, people have an ongoing, unspoken need to feel appreciated as a customer. Gratify this need with unexpected rewards.

If someone has taken the time to contact you, give them some loyalty program points as a thank you. You can also offer coupons, discounts or special deals customized to their buying patterns. With this step, you’re creating an unanticipated positive experience that generates good will for your brand.

Focus on Fundamental Principles

Even as consumer demands and preferences shift over time, their basic need to be heard, understood and valued never change. In the end that’s what instant gratification is all about. Keep that essential idea at the center of your service strategy and people will flock to do business with you.