Unexpected career advice from A/B testing: “don’t ask too many questions”
I recently came across an article at Askmen.com titled “Habits Bosses Hate“. The author insists that one of the habits that makes one a pain to work with is “You ask too many questions“. That was a shock. I’ve always heard the career gurus saying that one should be inquisitive and always be questioning. So how can asking questions be a bad thing?
While I’m sure said gurus and people who give famous quotes have their own reasons for promoting a culture of questioning, the truth about professional life is that no one likes being asked too many questions. To quote from the AskMen article:
Asking too many questions, especially too many stupid questions, is among the habits bosses hate and can quickly become aggravating.
To begin, they are a fundamental waste of the boss’ time and an emblem of inefficiency. They also reflect very poorly on you, your intelligence and on the perceptions others will develop about you. A manager will think twice before assigning you an important job, remembering how the last time you practically needed someone to hold your hand all the way through.
The bottom line is that bosses value employees who are resourceful enough to figure some things out on their own.
Please keep the highlighted words in the above paragraph in mind, because I’m going to show you they are fundamental to increasing your conversions.
Real Life Case Study
Flying Scot Parking operates car parks in Edinburgh. They handed over the A/B testing duties for their website to Attacat Internet Marketing. When Attacat saw the “Details” page of the booking process, they immediately knew they had a problem, and an opportunity.
They created a variation that removed all unnecessary form fields.
45.45% increase in visitors moving to the next step and 35% increase in form submissions. The test was statistically significant at 99% confidence.
Now coming back to our original analogy, I’m sure it’s obvious to you that sometimes, you must not ask too many questions. Taking the two phrases I highlighted earlier, let’s apply them to a web scenario:
- Stupid Questions: Forms should never make the customer wonder why all this information is needed. For them, an unnecessary question is a stupid question.
- Waste of the boss’ time: Who’s the boss? The customer of course. Large forms with irrelevant questions means the customer’s time is being wasted when he/she is in line to give business, and that’s a certain conversion killer.
Therefore, fellow testers, let’s start asking lesser questions.
Here are some links that make for good reading on form lengths.
- Signups increased by 60% after actually removing the signup form
- Removing 3 form fields increases customer registrations by 11%
- How to increase signups by 50% using “popup forms”
What are your thoughts on the post? If you have suggestions please drop us a comment.