Is Creativity Pushing Down Your Conversion Rate?

April 4, 2006

Creativity is great – but please don’t use it when you ask your customers to fill out forms.

For example, I read an article in September about Avis — they had decided to put the asterisk (*) by the optional fields in their form, and have no asterisk by the mandatory fields — the reverse of what people expect. What a way to shoot yourself in the foot.

In a similar vein, I tried to pay my phone bill online last night and went slightly wild trying to figure out how to fill out their form. Here’s what it looked like:

I looked at those three “Bill Date” fields for about 10 minutes. Maybe they were giving me the option to pay two bills at once, which would require three dates — the beginning date of the first invoice, the closing date of that invoice, and the closing date of the third invoice?

Finally, I entered the month into the first field, but I couldn’t get the day or year to go in, despite the fact that the month took up only about 10% of that long field. That was when the light went on — they wanted the month in the first field, the day in the second field, and the year in the third field. I would say, how stupid, but what do I expect? They are a phone company.