Why Improving Your Contact Form is Sometimes Counterproductive
My philosophy of work and life is “more is better”. He who says less is more is lazy. You do not deceive me. Although my way of seeing the world in this aspect is practically black and white, I have to admit that when we talk about contact forms there are grays.
The case of my client who does not want more contacts
The other day I had the opportunity to participate in a work meeting where, on the one hand, there was the usability department and, on the other hand, the representative of the French branch of the company that I am helping to launch its new e-commerce in 10 different countries.
The meeting was on another topic, but since we finished the important stuff ahead of schedule, the usability team wanted to show us their proposal for a new contact form. Compared to the old one it had far fewer fields. Those who at some point in their lives have dealt with this topic know that here the “less is more” is true (I have to admit it). A form with fewer mandatory fields to fill out usually has a better conversion rate in the vast majority of cases.
With a certain pride on their faces, they showed us the result of their work. Their faces quickly changed when the French interlocutor said something along the lines of “we actually wanted to ask for more fields for the new form.”
When fewer contacts are better for business
“We want to see fewer contacts rather than more.” It quickly became clear why the new and improved form was not what was really needed. The problem they have in France apparently is that many low-quality contacts come in. It is a large company with many distributors. They are not interested in selling to small businesses because they are not compensated for the work behind it for the benefit obtained. For that, they want to make use of the distributor network.
Consequently, they are spending a lot of time responding to messages that in the end do not add much value to the business. His idea is to add new required fields to better filter the “bad” from the “good” contacts.
In the end, the consequence cannot be to add an eternal list of new fields. In that case, in the end, no potential client would enter and that obviously is not the objective either. You have to identify those fields that differentiate the contacts that are interesting from the less relevant ones.
They also have to improve their processes. The contacts with the highest potential or even earlier clients have to have a fast lane. Everyone else has to wait a bit longer for a response. Therein lies the grace and justification for hiring consultants who can help with these issues.