This morning I listened to a Tim Ash Landing Page Optimization podcast with Stephen Pavlovich of Conversion Factory. Stephen offered an interesting conversion tip at the end of the interview: On your conversion confirmation page, ask people this question:

“What was the one thing that nearly stopped you from converting?”

I imagine he swaps out the word “converting” with “buying” or “signing up” or whatever the action is for that site. You can either embed the question into the form or use Qualaroo to add it dynamically.

I’m excited to try this out, while keeping in mind Jakob Nielsen’s warning that “the critical failing of user interviews is that you’re asking people to either remember past use or speculate on future use of a system.” Given that humans are bad at remembering and predicting, “both types of responses are extraordinarily weak and often misleading.” That’s why usability experts focus on the present.

But Nielsen does allow for some exceptions, including the critical incident method: “ask users to recall specific instances in which they faced a particularly difficult case or when something worked particularly well. These extreme cases are often more vivid in users’ minds …”

Pavlovich’s question seems similar to this approach, and worth adding to the mix of research and conversion optimization methods.