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Consider what a single second costs giants like Amazon and Google.

Amazon claims that a one-second slowdown on its pages could cost it $1.6 billion a year. Google has said that slowing pages even 4/10 of a second means losing 8 million searches per day plus all the revenue from its attendant ad messages.

A small issue for an individual can add up quickly to create a problem for the company. For example, asking consumers to make two clicks to find out the details of a sale may not seem like a lot, but doing so could annoy enough people to cause a significant drop-off in conversion rates. Also, portraying stereotypical images of people alongside highly personalized content can turn a lot of customers off an important message.

In every interaction between a consumer and a brand, there are probably hundreds of opportunities to sabotage or advance the relationship.

Understanding what matters to consumers and working to reduce the friction they encounter during interactions with a brand can go a long way. Maximizing those little connections can have the cumulative effect of improving the brand and the company's bottom line.

Achieving small victories

For an example of a small victory, look at the average mobile website. In a recent survey of 100,000 shoppers, Bizrate found that consumers' top complaint was having to pinch and zoom their screen to click a button. After going to the effort to do that, consumers often wound up clicking on the wrong thing. Marketers can remedy that frustrating experience by "padding" buttons or images with extra pixels, so that they're easy to click.

Sometimes, redirection works as well as a solution. An urban legend has it that a Manhattan building manager installed a mirror in the building's elevators to distract tenants bothered by long, boring rides. The plan worked. Tenants spent the ride checking themselves out, and complaints fell sharply. Years later, Disney took this lesson to heart by entertaining parents and kids waiting in line with interactive exhibits.

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image of Nick Worth

Nick Worth is CMO of Selligent, a leading independent provider of 1-to-1 engagement solutions for relationship marketers.

LinkedIn: Nick Worth