Why Your “Smart Forms” Aren’t So Smart (Part 1)

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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.

In today’s era, personalization is key to customer engagement. If you are presenting customers with static blank forms that demonstrate little knowledge of who they are and what they desire, they will abandon your business for one that better understands them and adapts to their needs and contexts. Friction like this can mean high NIGO (not in good order) or form abandonment rates.

Delivering this high level of personalization is easier than you may imagine, and the remainder of this post (part 1 of a series) demonstrates how to approach your own forms and customer experience transformation.

Key Questions to Ask about Your Current Forms

To fix any of your form problems, you first need to know where the problems exist. Think about the forms you ask potential or current customers to fill out to support a transaction, and then ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are all the forms online, or are we still requiring paper or scanned PDFs?
  • Are your forms mobile enabled?
  • Can we be sure customers are using the most recent version of all forms?
  • Are the fields pre-populated with what we already know, so any individual only needs to confirm data rather than rekey it in?
  • Are we asking only relevant questions? (e.g do we ask single customers to enter information about their spouse? Do we ask people in different states the same compliance questions?)

If you answered “No” to any of the above questions, chances are good that you could benefit from a next-gen approach to forms and data collection.

Smart Forms vs. Adaptive Interviews

What if next-generation forms really aren’t forms at all? Instead, they are intuitive experiences delivered through adaptive interviews.

Look at it this way – forms today help customers do what they need to do: buy a car, get insurance, apply for something, etc. How can you simplify and digitize that engagement process? Instead of a form, present an interactive digital conversation that changes based on what you know already. Next-gen forms are really guided journeys that are contextually aware based on each individual customer’s personal preferences, device and location.

It’s similar to how tax preparation software works. In an adaptive interview, you present dynamic questions to the customer based on known data and new responses. This eliminates unnecessary questions and the need to enter and re-enter information into a static form. Customers either confirm known information or provide necessary details via the shortest route possible. All of this improves their experience, speeds up the business process – and creates major operational efficiency for the enterprise.

Where to Consider Your Forms Transformation

Next-generation forms can deliver strong ROI to many parts of a business. In our experience, customer-facing areas are most often the best and most intuitive starting points. Here are a few examples:

Customer Acquisition. A lot goes into signing on new customers, including numerous forms. Anywhere from tens to hundreds of forms may currently be used for processes tied to applications, quotes, proposals, contracts and agreements, and loan origination.

Customer Onboarding. Customers are constantly surprised when businesses without next-gen forms make them repeat information they have already given to become a customer in the first place. That’s a major reason why customer onboarding is a great place to start your own transformation. Processes here include policy or other enrollment, new account opening, Know Your Customer (KYC) verification, automated billing setup, and welcome kit generation.

Customer Service. Millennials and people of even younger generations expect there to be an app for everything, or at the very least streamlined and 100% digital ways to communicate with their current service providers. Your customer service processes should all leverage next-gen forms in as many areas as possible, including insurance claims / first notice of loss, self-service account updates, “Skip a Payment” or payoff requests, financial statements of advice (SOAs), and any other information requests.

Look at it this way. You’ve spent so much in marketing and advertising to draw customers and potential customers to your business, your websites, and even your apps. Shouldn’t you be prepared to engage them the way they expect when they arrive?

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!

Learn more about Intelledox Infiniti Next-Generation Forms capabilities here.