…and that’s what gets results.
Here, at Global Reviews, we are always looking for ways to help our clients optimise their digital customer experience, from switching energy providers, applying for new bank account, or getting a quote for health or car insurance. The client result: insights that increase their bottom line.
One way of doing this is by making sure that the path to purchase is as easy as possible. In this blog I will focus specifically on form design.
In the last 18 months, Global Reviews has run over 60 studies that tested forms from over 300 brands, across a diverse range of industries such as, insurance, energy, higher education and finance, from brands in the UK, Australia, Canada and Ireland. From this research, we have found that there are four key stages to successful form design:
- Preparing for purchase
- Form features and functions
- Form Help and support
- Completing the purchase
Preparing for purchase
This is all about upfront expectation setting. Here are a few examples:
- tell me I don’t qualify for this when I’m right in the middle of process
- tell me it’s going to take three minutes when it’s closer to seven
- leave me guessing as to what’s involved and what you might be asking me
- tell me what I need to have when I need to have it
- communicate eligibility criteria
- be accurate with the amount of time it’s going to take
- clearly explain the process and what will happen next
- communicate upfront the information I need to have to complete the process
Form features and functions
This is all about the features and functions, the design patterns, that users will interact with. Firstly, we have the framework that the form components themselves reside in, for example:
- Multiple steps
- Single page
- Progressive reveal
- Conversation design
These aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, but our tests show that some resonate better than others. Increasingly we are seeing many industries moving to a conversational design pattern in a bid to better match a product to user’s needs. This pattern was largely driven by legislative changes but increasingly business is realising it’s not about what products they have, it’s about whether I, the consumer, can get what I need with their products.
Then we have the components themselves, which interaction design pattern is better for example, when inputting the date of birth. While our studies don’t go down to testing this level of detail, we do review the forms of those who have high success, confidence and satisfaction scores, analyse what they are doing and compare them to brands who don’t perform as well.
Form help and support
This is all about how you promote self-service, provide interventions and give confidence to the user so that they continue forward. It covers areas such as error handling, security and privacy, help channels and exit strategies. It is often overlooked but can be the difference between someone competing that purchase or abandoning midway.
Completing the purchase
This is all about encouraging completion on the results page. Too often this page is overlooked and opportunities are missed to ensure that the user doesn’t abandon at this stage. There are a number of best practice approaches to increase the chances of conversion, such as:
- Keep initial information simple but enable users to access further detail
- Recall the benefits of applying online
- Provide content which improves the perception of value
- Cater to prospects who won’t buy online
From those studies there are a number of brands that stand out when it comes to designing forms. They do so because they have carefully designed their path to purchase so that it meets the criteria of those stages. Here are some examples of how those brands are creating a better experience.
Preparing for purchase – Bank of Montreal, Canada
Bank of Montreal is a top performer, achieving 100% for features and functions for ‘Preparing to purchase’.
- Highlights brand differentiators
- Promotes reasons to choose the online channel to apply
- Caters to different audience needs
- Highlights benefits and reasons to choose the brand
Form Function – Sonnet, Canada
Sonnet almost presents a one page form, the primary page captures key personal and product information, which is then prefilled into a second page with one or two extra questions. The prefilling of questions drives a quick and easy experience.
- Sonnet use only four free text questions in the entire journey. The majority of question types present are drop down, single select questions
- The second page presents 7 questions, 5 of which are prefilled based on previous answers
Form Help and Support – Beagle Street, UK
Beagle Street provide integrated help and support during their quote process.
- Help and support content is tailored to the specific area of enquiry. Here, where users may want a detailed description of the differences in the types of cover, a video is provided is embedded into the help section
- A large ‘i’ icon directs users towards any help and support related to the page
Completing the purchase – 123.ie, Ireland
123.ie are one of only two providers credited with the ability to view a summary of key information entered.
- 123.ie call out the online savings as a separate price – interestingly, 123.ie lead with the online saving price leaving the actual price further down the page
- 123.ie provide links to detailed explanation of the product
These are just a small sample of the insights we deliver to clients. If you’d like to know more about how you can optimise your digital experience, please get in touch with us.