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What to Consider when Using Emojis? TRC's Market Research Study Might Give You a Hint

Market-Research-Prioritization-email-violations

I work in a business that depends heavily on email. We use it to ask and answer questions, share work product, and engage our clients, vendors, co-workers and peers on a daily basis. When email goes down – and thankfully it doesn't happen that often – we feel anything from mildly annoyed to downright panic-stricken.

So business email is ubiquitous. But not everyone follows the same rules of engagement – which can make for some very frustrating exchanges.

We assembled a list of 21 "violations" we experienced (or committed) and set out to find out which ones are considered the most bothersome.

Research panelists who say they use email for business purposes were administered our Bracket™ prioritization exercise to determine which email scenario is the "most irritating".

The results are in. The top 4 most irritating email scenarios:

#1 Emails that don't include sender contact information
#2 Responding to only part of the email content without addressing the rest of the email
#3 Emails that are full of typos
#4 Recipient not acknowledging receipt of an email that asks them to provide information or take action

The first one (emails that don't include contact info) was #1 among men and #3 among women.
The second one (responding to only part of the email) was #1 among women and #5 for men.
Most of the gender disparities in the list are relatively minor except for one: emojis.

men-find-emojis-more-irritating-than-women-do

Clearly these precious little icons are viewed very differently by men than they are by women in a business setting. As a woman who has used my share of emojis over time, I can say that they should be used judiciously. But I had no idea that they would be perceived more negatively by men than women. I'll keep that in mind for my next email draft.

Our complete list, in order from most to least irritating:

#1 Emails that don't include sender contact information
#2 Responding to only part of the email content without addressing the rest of the email
#3 Emails that are full of typos
#4 Recipient not acknowledging receipt of an email that asks them to provide information or take action
#5 Recipient not acknowledging receipt of an email that contains the response to something they asked for
#6 Adding new people to the email chain who aren't relevant to the discussion
#7 Adding new people to the email chain who are relevant, but who shouldn't see all of the previous discussion
#8 Using the last email from a dormant email chain to start a brand new topic unrelated to the original chain
#9 Replying to only the sender when everyone on the email needs the information
#10 Continuing to respond via email after someone requests a phone call
#11 Subject line not matching the content of the email
#12 Using BCC (blind carbon copy) to include someone else without the sender's knowledge
#13 Including emojis, pictures or images to express feelings about the email's content
#14 Using email to convey complex, lengthy information
#15 Creating a new email to reply instead of replying to the original email
#16 Sending secure or password-protected emails containing content that isn't sensitive
#17 Using the "Request a Delivery Receipt" or "Request a Read Receipt" tracking option
#18 Signature lines/logos taking up more space than the email itself
#19 Using email to request a meeting or call without providing the reason for it
#20 Emails that are spelled correctly but have obvious auto-correct errors
#21 Covering a lot of different topics in one email

VP / Research Management


Michele likes to hijack TRC's online consumer panel to get relevant answers to her burning research questions. She loves asking questions relating to her favorite hobbies - TV and movies, golf, casino gambling and travel - and more often than not the answers can be generalized across industries.


Contact Michele

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