Leveraging online forms for a better customer experience.

Every day, millions of people visit websites for various reasons.

Some are looking to buy a product or service, others just want more information about the business and its services.

Sometimes they find what they’re looking for and sometimes not.

But even when visitors leave your site without making a purchase or asking any questions, you still have an opportunity to make a good first impression on them. And, we know that first impressions count!

Online forms go beyond the first impression.

They can improve your customer service, marketing and sales and are available to your customers and potential customers 24 x 7.

How to make a great first impression on your website

There are several ways to make a great first impression on your website:

  • Communicate clear value – What problem / need are your solving?
  • Show authority – Articles and professional credentials
  • Demonstrate trust through social proof – Customer reviews and testimonials
  • Striking visual impression – We eat with our eyes right? Create a strong brand and be consistent with your branding.
  • Don’t be shallow! Your words and online forms are your first interactions with your potential customers. They are the body language behind the first impression. Are you looking: Shady?? Desperate?? Uncaring?? or simply broken?

“If websites were simply about looking good, life as a web designer would be much simpler.”

If websites were simply about looking good, life as a web designer would be much simpler. Designing great experiences for your customers and potential customers is key

That’s where online forms come in!

Designing a great interaction with your customers

Okay, technically the first interaction maybe a click on Google, Facebook or on a website menu / button. All of these can be (and should be!) well-designed also.

But, let’s focus on online forms because these go beyond the first nod and smile. They may be the first interaction, or a follow-up interaction (customer service).

Online forms provide customers with an easy way to contact or learn more about your company – even if they don’t ask anything right away.

Plus, online forms can help you collect important data about your customers so that you can better understand them and meet their needs in the future.

There’s very few websites these days that don’t have an online form of some sort, for email sign-up, registration, contact forms, purchasing forms, surveys, customer feedback, etc.

They are one of the most unloved but important parts of your website.

Forms, the great unloved

“Not another form” I can hear the groans, sighs and gasps of horror.

Forms are tricky territory in user experience design. After all, it’s tough to design something that has users sighing at its mere sight.” Just in Mind.

No one loves a form.

So the best form is one you simply don’t notice. Its designed so well, you have handed over your details and pressed the submit button without even thinking.

The experience is so seamless the pain isn’t noticeable. Rather than putting roadworks in your visitors path that risks them abandoning the journey halfway, you’ve paved that road so smoothly that it’s a joy to drive down it!

Don’t leave money on the table

“If you’re not following form design best practices, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.” – CXL

In marketing, web design and user experience design we talk a lot about conversion optimisation.

Every organisation expends a lot of effort and money to get visitors to their website that might become customers.

If it cost you $10 to get that visitor, a roadblock that detours them down a backroad is money left on the table.

Leverage your online forms to create a great first impression.

What are your online forms saying about your organisation?

If this article hasn’t sent you to look at your contact form yet. Do it now. Does it create a great first online impression like this one from Yummy Gum?

There’s a delicate balance in the design of forms between asking too much information and not enough. We love the Yummy Gum form example but we’d always suggest you ask for two ways to contact people. Typos in phone numbers and email addresses are common. Leaving a customer enquiry unanswered because you can’t reach them, defeats the purpose of creating a great first impression!

Simplicity is beautiful and at the core of good usability and accessibility.

Your form design needs to be accessible and usable. There’s a range of technical elements and best practices behind this both from a user experience and website accessibility perspective. But, think of a long online form you have needed to complete. You skipped over (without realising) a required field, and hit ‘submit’ the form doesn’t submit. You are left staring at the screen wondering, ‘what’s going on’?

Good form design includes providing:

  • all the hints, tips and design elements that makes submitting the form straightforward, and
  • a good experience once the visitor has hit ‘submit’, so they clearly understand what happens next.

Ready to leverage online forms and create a great customer experience?

Online forms are essential for creating a great first impression with potential customers and collecting important data about them.

They can help your customers do what they need. They are measurable and provide better insights to help you understand what your customers need and want.

Make them simple and seamless so that the customer’s experience is enjoyable.

If your online forms are designed well you can maximise their (and your website’s) potential!