Creating customer forms: Best practices

Creating and sharing your own forms and surveys is a great way to capture zero-party data directly from your customers. But, how do you know you’re asking the right questions, and structuring your forms and surveys so that you get the absolute most out of them?

Below is Lexer’s guide to some best practices around building forms and surveys. You can use this guide as a checklist as you get started in the Form Builder. For more information, we have our handy Form Builder guide here.

Start with a clear goal

Before you get started creating your new form, the first question you need to ask yourself is: What’s my goal for this form?

Do you want to gather feedback on in-store experience? Or perhaps you might want to capture and quantify customer sentiment towards your brand? For each distinct goal you have there will be a different type of form you can create, and we have listed out some examples in the table below.

Having a clear goal in mind means you can create a form or survey that’s focussed, and has a purpose. Your questions should always link directly back to your central goal, and if they don’t then you need to ask yourself, should they be there at all?

This brings us to our next best practice; form length and number of questions.

Form length and number of questions

Most studies agree that shorter forms and surveys have higher completion rates, and this article here goes into this in a bit more detail.

Keep your overall goal in mind and then tailor your questions to match this goal, and it’s also handy to create a list of the data you want to collect from your responders too.

Then, draft your forms and surveys first and edit them down so only the most necessary and relevant questions make it through to the final draft.

Ideally, your form or survey should take around five minutes to complete, and while there isn’t a hard and fast rule for the optimal number of questions you should be including, as few as possible is best, while still capturing the data you need and achieving your overall goal.

Another tip is to let responders know how long it will take them to complete the form or survey. For example, you could add some text to the start of your survey that reads: Please complete our two-minute feedback survey, or, Fill in these five questions to go in the draw to win X. Having this indicator will help completion rates.

Data quality

When drafting a new survey or form, you also need to be conscious of data quality and the kinds of responses you’ll be receiving from your responders.

Our number one rule is to avoid open-ended, or free-text, responses as they are a lot harder to quantify and analyze.

Instead, use close-ended questions where you can set the answer choices, so you’ll know exactly what data you’ll have to work with when you collate your responses.

Be consistent with the questions you ask across your various forms and surveys so you’re constantly building on the data you receive for key customer attributes, which allow for insight and enable segmentation for greater personalization. These include attributes such as Birthday, Gender, State or Zip Code, and preferences.

Writing questions

The most important part of any survey or form is well-written, clear, and unambiguous questions. We’ve listed our favorite tips for writing the best questions below.

  • Questions should be direct and use straightforward language. Remember, English isn’t everyone’s first language, so don’t overcomplicate the language you use.
  • Provide context as to why you’re asking a question. This may help completion rates if responders know why the answers are important. For example, understanding customer age can be really insightful, but responders can be hesitant to provide their date of birth. To combat this, try asking for their “Birthday” instead, with the context that they will receive a little something from you on their birthday!
  • Always use close-ended questions over open-ended questions (you get better data, see the section above).
  • Make sure your questions are balanced and don’t introduce any bias towards certain answers.
  • Leave out absolutes (words like always, never, only, must, etc.).

The user experience

A responder’s experience with your form or survey is also very important to take into consideration. Make sure your forms and surveys can be viewed easily on desktop, tablet, and mobile.

You should also make sure that your form meets accessibility standards in terms of fonts, colours and contrast, etc. For more information on accessibility standards, check out this resource.

Incentivize!

A great way to ensure a higher response rate for your form or survey is to incentivize completion! Provide a thank you reward, such as a discount coupon or a chance to win a prize so that your responders see this as a value exchange.

A coupon code or discount on next purchase are great rewards for a number of reasons, and we’ve listed them below.

  • Unique coupon codes can be tracked, allowing you to understand performance and ROI.
  • Completing a form is when your customers are most engaged, so the chances of converting them to their next purchase are high.
  • Often the first 30 days after a purchase are a key time for repeat orders, so a time-based discount code will help create urgency and conversion.

Sharing

Finally, if you’ve taken all the above into account, the final step is sharing your work!

Always preview your form or survey before you send it and run through it as a responder would so you can put yourself in their shoes. This is a great way to find any issues or faults that haven’t been addressed already.

And when it comes to actually sharing? Consider embedding or iFraming your form into a page on your website to help increase conversion.

Get the best out of your forms with Lexer!

In this article we’ve provided some best practices for you to consider and use when building out your forms using Lexer’s Form Builder tool. Use the above as a checklist when you create a new form, and remember, practice makes perfect!

If you're after some more information on forms, we have a great blog post here, so check it out!

If you have any questions, please reach out to your Success Manager, or Lexer Support (support@lexer.io).

Updated:
November 30, 2022
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