What The Instant Gratification Economy Taught Me About Happiness

What The Instant Gratification Economy Taught Me About Happiness

In a world where consumers don’t just desire instant gratification, but expect it, the window for a startup to impress customers is smaller than ever.


From Uber to Tinder to Seamless, digital natives are used to getting what they want, when they want it. They tend to skip the instructions, putting the burden on businesses to make products foolproof and self-explanatory.


Businesses would be wise to pay attention to these high expectations. Instant gratification and customer satisfaction go hand in hand, and customer satisfaction is more important than ever in the connected age. Online reviews, for example, have the power to either amplify positive experiences or leave a long-lasting reputation stain.


How satisfied your customers are—and how likely they are to recommend you to others—can be the difference between success and failure. While happiness is not something you can cram down a customer’s throat, you can tip the scales in your favor with the understanding that time is not on your side. Instant gratification is no longer optional; it is required.

Helping Customers Hit the Ground Running


Even an amazing product wouldn’t gain traction if customers didn’t know how to use it (or have the patience to learn). With this in mind, we knew that we had to help customers hit the ground running when it came to using Deputy, our workforce management system (full disclosure: I co-founded Deputy and am currently the CEO/CTO there). We noticed that our competitors’ user interfaces were unfamiliar to users, and required elaborate explanatory videos to learn how to navigate their systems.


At first, we thought simpler instructions along with a simpler process would do the trick and set us apart. It still wasn’t enough. When we released a new feature alongside a short video, we found that uptake of that feature was in the single digits. People would start to watch the video and never finish it, or wouldn’t watch it in the first place. They would ignore the new feature and not use its benefits.

That forced us back to the drawing board. We decided that instant gratification was the goal. This time, when we released a new feature, we needed an even simpler, self-explanatory interface that users would be able to figure out intuitively on their own.


We rebuilt and relaunched the Deputy’s new Shift Trading feature in a Tinder lookalike interface. Employees would receive requests to swap shifts and could swipe right to accept and left to decline—a setup that they were already familiar with. We immediately saw a 1000 percent increase in use.


Ashik Ahmed is the Co-Founder, CTO and CEO of Deputy, a global workforce management platform for employee scheduling, timesheets and communication.

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