It’s holiday season again, the time of year when consumers most feel the need for instant gratification.
Instant gratification is a complex psychological phenomenon, going beyond simply wanting something right away. Lack of fulfillment can actually cause anxiety and tension, and no business wants anxious and tense customers. Take a moment and consider how the need for instant gratification will affect your business during the holidays and how your business can satisfy that need to create new, loyal customers.
Digital and Instant Gratification
Instant gratification means getting exactly what you want when you want it. Combine this tendency with an ever increasing, on-demand consumer society, and you have an environment where businesses need to provide services faster than ever. And they need to do so without any drop-off in the level of service! Social and digital media, in combination with devices like smartphones and tablets, have made it easier for consumers to fulfill many desires almost immediately. To drive the point home, a whopping 88% of Americans now expect to be able to schedule a service whenever they need it.Amazon’s same-day delivery service only fueled that expectation.
Not every business can be an Amazon.com, nor should they. Small, local businesses offer unique experiences not available from big box online sellers. But, how can your business can prepare for holiday shoppers and their need for instant gratification during the holidays? Let’s dive deeper into some tips and strategies below.
Ways Your Business Can Prepare for Holiday Shopping
The number one thing to keep in mind during this time is to be prepared. Most importantly, this goes for your staff, who are on the front lines of your business. They need to be educated and ready for the holiday season and be up to the task of providing a consistent level of positive customer service. Ultimately, if your staff can handle consumer demands during the holidays it will reflect positively on your business in terms of happy customers that spread the word of their experience for your business. But, the flip side can also be true. If your staff is unprepared and customers have a poor experience, it could be all the reason shoppers need to never return. Social media often fuels instant gratification, allowing customers to voice their opinion in real time, often with the expectation of an immediate response.
Ensure that your website is seamless and up-to-date. If you don’t have one, get one. The National Retail Federation asserts that consumers conducted nearly 50% of their 2015 holiday shopping online.
Although day-to-day online sales may not be a part of your current business, you should still explore options to meet the digital consumer’s needs. For example, even if you are a service provider or restaurant that performs most sales offline, you could potentially sell gift cards online and have them shipped to the customer (rather than having them pick up in person) or enable an instant download of the gift card or certificate. If you’re a product retailer, research and evaluate product buying trends and ensure you have adequate inventory ready to go.
Free, fast shipping has enormous appeal to today’s consumers. Investigate a temporary partnership with a shipping and delivery company for the holidays and evaluate where you can recover the expense through sales.
Providing immediate, accessible product and service information to your customers is another great way to prepare. Any easily answered questions, FAQs, or special information about the holiday season should be readily available on your website or social media channels. This will lessen the stress on your staff and allow them to focus more on customer service.
Hand-in-hand with providing timely information is setting up proper email or text auto-responses to let customers know their questions or complaints have been heard. A simple auto-response email or text informing the customer that someone will be in touch with them within 24 hours can pay huge dividends in terms of coping with the need for instant gratification. Just make sure you have systems in place that allow your staff to properly follow-up and address the issue promptly and effectively. If possible, providing live support chat along with downloadable resources will also satisfy and empower your customers.
The need for instant gratification gets even more intense during the holidays, and by now you should be equipped to succeed when the time comes. Satisfying your customers’ desires on a moment’s notice without any noticeable drop-off in service is a beautiful thing when it happens. Put your business in the best possible position to succeed with your customers.
Satisfy Your Customers’ Instant Gratification Needs
Holiday season is upon us, here are some things you can do right now to get ready:
- Review the information in this article to identify potential gaps that may exist.
- Create your “Holiday Rush Game Plan.” Leverage some of the tactics and resources provided.
- Manage expectations and educate your staff. Be creative, yet realistic, about how you can best meet consumer needs during this busy shopping season.
- Properly prepare your staff and give them the tools necessary to succeed in the eyes of your shoppers.