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Smart Forms: Reducing User Friction


For many large organizations, forms are a critical part of your business. But even if you’ve transitioned your forms online, chances are you are still operating from what we would call the “PDF paradigm.” So, let’s talk about why your “smart form” may not be that smart after all. If you have heard us say this before, that’s because this is Part 3 of a 5-part series. (You may read Part 1 here and Part 2 here).

In part 3, we focus on “form friction.” The more difficult it is for a customer to complete a form – or really any business process that requires them to give you information – the more likely they are to abandon it. The results of this are never good. Maybe the customer will phone your help center, raising your support costs. Even worse, they may stop a revenue-generating process, like opening an account, turning form friction into lost revenue.

Fortunately, there are definite steps you can take to minimize the friction surrounding your forms. When you take them, you can watch your NIGO (not in good order) or form abandonment rates go down fast.

Know the Causes of Your Form Friction

Do you believe a form is “all set” when it asks all the core process questions to your online visitors? If that were true, companies in the financial services industry wouldn’t be experiencing 60% to 70% rates in form abandonment. But they are.

In any industry, the forms that drive processes like new account opening and enrollment need to be frictionless. Otherwise, the consequences to revenue are quite severe. How do you know if your forms have surprisingly high friction? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do we require customers to print and sign a document to advance the process?
  • Are there any bottlenecks we’re creating to put transactions at risk?
  • Are we making customers input data they have given us before?
  • Have we simplified processes that involve more than one person (e.g. a spouse is required to sign, an agent must add data)?
  • Do we analyze our forms’ performance?
  • Can customers come back and complete a form later?

As you can see, friction is not always obvious or intuitive.

How to Minimize Form Friction

Personalizing the experience and providing digital/mobile access are important to reducing friction (see Part 1 on “Forms Personalization” and Part 2 on “Mobile Experiences.”) With an adaptive journey approach, you can ask fewer questions and focus on only what’s needed to advance a customer along a process. You can even let them stop the process and return later to finish it.

Consider these additional ideas on removing friction:

Integrate e-signature solutions: including DocuSign-type e-signatures directly into your next-gen forms process can deliver ROI in terms of time and cost savings.

Combine multiple forms into a single interview: using an adaptive interview, you can set up a different web-based experience for every person involved in a single interaction, with automated workflows to speed up the process.

Apply analytics to form abandonment: With the right analytics, you can identify the questions that halt digital engagement as well as which forms do it the most. You can also test your hypotheses easily and optimize to improve completion rates.

Next-gen forms serve to simplify and digitize any engagement process. The adaptive interviews that enable them are the digital conversations to help you achieve that. They turn forms into guided journeys that are contextually aware and based on each individual customer’s personal preferences and context.

4 More Ways Your Forms Are Killing Customer Engagement

This post on engagement and delivering a better personal experience discusses 1 of 5 key areas of forms transformation found in this new eBook we created based on our in-depth experience in helping businesses just like yours. The other areas addressed by the eBook include lessons to make your forms digital and mobile, minimize friction, eliminate disconnects and errors, and speed forms toward real-time process completion. Download your copy now!

And, learn more about Intelledox Infiniti Next-Generation Forms capabilities.

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