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You Are Annoying Your Customers. Do You Know Why?

by Gavin Jocious  |  
October 17, 2013
  |  6,164 views

From social media to retargeting ads, marketers continue to add new communication channels, and with each one we add the ability to sell but we also increase our ability to annoy.

For example, ask anyone, "What annoys you about technology?" You'll undoubtedly get a quick answer. Ask the same person why they find such things annoying, and the answer will not be as clear. Slow Internet connections, repetitive Facebook ads, auto-correct, a portable thumb-drive's inability to plug in the first try... these things annoy us, but why?

If we are going to be effective at our jobs, we need to figure out how to increase our chances of converting a sale while minimizing the level of annoyance we inflict in an era of countless digital distractions and information overload.

Accordingly, marketers should understand the fundamental causes of annoyance.

Fundamental Annoyance No. 1: Norm Violation, AKA Minor Injustices


Norm violations are actions that are not targeted at you personally, but they violate certain standards that you may have. As NPR science correspondent Joe Palca and Flora Lichtman, multimedia editor for NPR's Science Friday, point out, norm violations are actions that conflict with our value systems or "destroy a reasonable expectation."

Today, our growing reliance on technology means that we have developed certain expectations, and we get frustrated easily with technology when those expectations are not met. In June 2012, the Blogworld & New Media Expo was held at the Javits Center in New York City. Blogworld was a very well-organized and well-attended conference, and the people who put it on did a fantastic job. The problem, however, was their choice of location. The basement of the Javits Center is a concrete maze with very little Wi-Fi. Obviously, if you get enough bloggers into a large enough space and restrict their access to Wi-Fi, people are going to get annoyed—particularly if you don't meet their expectation of fast Internet.

As attendees of the conference write:


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Gavin Jocius is the marketing director for Canvas on Demand, a leader in photo-to-canvas printing. He is also the author of The Age of Annoyance: Managing Our Frustrations With Information Overload.

Twitter: @changethecode

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Comments

  • by Michael Scott Thu Oct 17, 2013 via web

    Pop up windows that prevent visitors reading about annoyances are annoying me.
    They are unexpected, slow me down, and put me in a negative mind frame.
    But I know how I would improve this.

  • by Sarah Bauer Thu Oct 17, 2013 via web

    Interesting post. The "why" is simple - people get annoyed when they believe their time is being wasted (ex: by slow loading times, inability to connect, clunky navigation systems slowing down otherwise 'simple' processes). Time is our most valuable commodity, and we get annoyed when we can feel it slipping through our fingers, unproductively. Brands need to recognize this and provide time-efficient tools for their customers to help them make the most of the time they spend interacting.

    Cheers,
    Sarah Bauer
    Navigator Multimedia

  • by Brian Bennington Thu Oct 17, 2013 via web

    While this is an excellent post dealing with technology problems, "people problems" can be even more annoying, primarily because they are caused by something that can't be blamed on technology. Poorly written and directed content can waste as much time as sporadic connectivity and lack of speed. Saturation mailings, even from a quality source, is a growing cause of annoyance. Unwarranted attempts to prematurely collect information qualifies. It is a growing list, nearly all the results of a lack of sensitive for the recipient.

  • by Gavin J. Mon Oct 21, 2013 via web

    “Time is our most valuable commodity, and we get annoyed when we can feel it slipping through our fingers, unproductively. Brands need to recognize this and provide time-efficient tools for their customers to help them make the most of the time they spend interacting.” – Excellent point Sarah. I couldn't agree more. Providing our customers with the speed at which they have grown accustom to is perhaps the single greatest thing we can do to generate a “positive user experience.” I mean ... who likes waiting?

  • by Melissa Tue Nov 5, 2013 via web

    It's interesting that in trying to read this article, the first thing the site did was serve up a "Norm violation". I was willing to sign up for the site (I did), but I expected just to have to give my email address then be redirected to the page I wanted to see. Instead, I was asked for email, password, company, the okay to send me ads... and then not only was I not redirected, I got an extra page asking what sort of content I'd like to see. It was, well, annoying.

  • by Tom Wed May 13, 2015 via web

    I made an account (immediately created an Gmail filter to block the spam I know is coming) just so I could point out the irony of making a post about annoying marketing habits and then immediately hitting the visitor with a popup. During that process, I got hit with that popup 4 times because of your poorly constructed site. Why aren't you using cookies?

    Seriously, popups that appear a second after page-load are majorly annoying and they are ineffective.

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