Why User-Friendly Forms and Bills Deliver Value to Your Business or Organisation

September 30, 2011 by  Filed under: Branding 

1. Brand value

Forms, bills, letters, and statements are what your customers receive from you through the course of the product or service relationship. To many customers, these documents therefore define your brand in their eyes – and they define your customers’ experience of your brand. Well designed forms and bills – written using the language and style of your brand, and laid out using all the right logos, brand elements, and colours – have the potential to build customer perception of the value of your brand.

2. Payment speed and cash flow

If your customers quickly understand your new product application form, they’re more likely to fill it in straight away, apply for the product, and send you the cash. Similarly, bills that present the facts simply and concisely up front are often quickly understood and processed more efficiently. It’s a no-brainer.

3. Paper, print, and online efficiencies – and savings from fewer processing errors

Well designed paper forms and bills optimise the print processes used, and good on-screen documents optimise interactive features (good use of links, buttons, check-boxes, background colours, etc.) – resulting in economies in production, reduced quantities of documents printed (fewer follow-up letters for example), and fewer customers filling in the wrong information. It’s estimated that the cost of designing and printing forms, for example, is less than 1% of the cost of administering them when they are returned!

4. Everything is so complicated these days

Products and services provided by government departments, telcos, utilities, and financial and insurance companies, get more and more complex all the time. Mobile phone, broadband, and energy customers, for example, might have hundreds of tariffs to choose from. If your forms, bills, and other documents support and explain your products and services in a simple and straightforward way, your customers will understand them easily and be less likely to churn, and more likely to recommend you to their friends.

5. Empowerment for your customers

Forms that are easy to understand and fill in make it possible for your customers to interact with you easily, to claim what’s due to them, for example, or make their investment. Making life easy for people can only reflect well on your brand and your products and services.

6. People are bombarded

In a world where your customers are being bombarded with information every day – via traditional mail and direct mail, email, instant messaging, social media, etc. – good form design, bill design and well written letters help you get your message through. Clear documents, with up-front summaries, for example, help achieve this. Well designed information therefore has sales and marketing potential for your business.

7. Your IT could be doing a better job

Do you know how many colours your outsourced document printer is capable of printing? Do you know if your printing software can include cross or upsell messages and vary them according to how much space is available, who the customer is, and their recent buying habits? Well designed forms, bills, and letters really optimise the technology used to output them.

8. It’s relatively easy to measure

Because forms, bills and letters have fairly straightforward response requirements, it’s often fairly easy to measure the impact of improved designs. When an electricity bill is redesigned, for example, the volume of calls it generates, or the speed with which customers pay can be compared with the statistics for the previous versions – generally in the knowledge that other external factors (advertising, marketing, etc.) have not impacted the data. To be precise, live tests can be sent to sample groups of customers for comparison with concurrent samples.

Article submitted by Andrew Boag, Director at BoagMcCann Ltd. BoagMcCann has over 25 years’ experience designing award-winning customer communications, information guides and visual aids. To find out more about form design and how BoagMcCann can help optimise your return on investment, visit boagmccann.com

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