The Age of Instant Gratification

By Kay Matsumoto • February 5, 2020

“I want what I want, and I want it now”—that’s the attitude that is pervasive in the Age of Instant Gratification. From watching movies to delivering packages, ordering food to hailing a taxi, there are few aspects of society that haven’t been accelerated. And this trend shows no sign of slowing down.

It’s vital to keep this in mind when designing an enterprise-based, employee self-service app that will meet the needs of today’s employees. Employees expect immediate gratification from their work apps just like they do from their apps in their personal lives. This is no longer a want or a nice to have. If they ask an app a question, they expect to receive an immediate answer.

Let’s say an employee asks your self-service app a question about employee benefits, such as, “What does my employer match in a 401(k) contribution?” They don’t want to be told to go check out a website for the answer. They don’t want to find the right article out of a long list or read a 20-page document explaining every employee benefit or how 401(k) contributions even work. They just want the answer to their question—and they want it now.

Of course, people are rarely concise with their questions. They might want your app to tell them about benefits in general. They might know the exact problem they are facing but ask your app in a broad way. They might use typos, run-on sentences, and abbreviations. They might need your app to help them figure out exactly what they’re even asking.

It doesn’t matter. Regardless of how they ask the question, the Age of Instant Gratification still prevails. They will expect an immediate, direct response to their indirect question. In the Age of Instant Gratification, it’s better for an app to respond within 3-seconds with a, “We’re going to need some time to help you with that,” rather than a follow-up email delivered ten minutes after the question was asked. It’s better for your app to respond with several clarifying questions immediately, rather than serve up information that is incorrect.

We all want to deliver employee services that will last, so feeling frustrated about your employees’ expectations is the wrong approach. Embracing the Age of Instant Gratification is the only path to success.

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