How to Eliminate “Experience Wreckers”

Could you possibly be annoying your clients?

Are you annoying your clients or prospects?

Recently, I was waiting for a haircut and couldn’t help but notice an annoying sound – a fuzzy, static-filled radio station. The salon was playing (well, attempting to play) music and its radio reception was terrible. In fact, it was downright annoying and distracting. I gave up trying to read my magazine and found myself thinking, Doesn’t anyone else notice this? Have the owners and employees become numb to it? They must know this isn’t good for business. Should I say something?

Why is this a big deal? A salon’s #1 job is to create an experience for its clients. Whether consciously or unconsciously, we (the clients) are taking in the sights and sounds, smells and textures of every business we enter. All these things – small and large – contribute to our experience. It’s easy to see how static-spewing speakers will make a negative impression. Problem is, many businesses don’t see these annoyances as a big deal. Some may have initially, but then become numb to the problem.


Doesn’t anyone else notice this? Should I say something?

I remember having dinner with friends on the patio of a nice local restaurant a few summers ago. We couldn’t believe how heavy and, therefore, how loud their big iron patio chairs were. Every time we – or any other patio guests – scooted our chairs in our out, it was like nails on a chalkboard. Big, heavy, iron nails. All we could do was laugh at how ridiculous – and preventable – this was. What an oversight!

Movie theaters have caught on…

What do your clients have to overcome –or endure — in order to fully experience your company and its products or services?

Take a cue from movie theater owners. They understand the seriousness of “experience wreckers.” Over the years, we’ve seen theaters become more soundproof, so you don’t hear the action thriller playing next door while you’re trying to enjoy a romantic comedy. We now enjoy an unobstructed view of the screen because the owners installed expensive tiered seating. They’ve even created clever and entertaining ways of telling us to silence our own cell phones.

Here are a few more annoyances you may have experienced for yourself:

  • A wobbly table and/or chair
  • Trouble finding a company’s phone number on its website
  • A busy front door that slams shut each time, instead of closing gently
  • A ceiling fan blowing cold air directly on you
  • An offensive odor
  • Overhearing inappropriate language from employees
  • Sun in your eyes from a poorly shaded window
  • A shrill, constantly-ringing business telephone
  • A cold rush of air every time another patron enters
  • A loud electronic door chime
  • Sticky floors
  • And, perhaps worst of all, deafening silence


What do all the above examples have in common?

Not only are they all annoying, they’re all preventable, usually with little or no cost. These examples aren’t limited to retailers. If clients are coming to your place of business – physically (in person) or virtually (via the web) – there’s a chance you’re annoying them and may not even know it.

I invite you to look at your own company, your people and processes and ask yourself, “What are we doing to annoy our customers and clients?” You’re bound to find something. Heck! Ask your clients … they’ll tell you.

By the way, in case you’re wondering, I did say something to the salon’s owner. When I mentioned it, she said, “I know! It’s terrible, isn’t it? Do you know how to fix it, Steve?” I looked behind the counter and said, “I’d first try moving your cordless phone away from your radio. The wireless frequencies of each may be interfering with one another.” Problem solved.


  1. Great blog post, Steve.

  2. Maggie R says:

    Small details that make things great 😉

  3. I would say and have said something about noises that no one seems to notice. I can’t bear to keep my mouth shut. The question is, if it bothered the employee, why didn’t they do something about it before? I would ask that question too.


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