Have you ever called to make a doctor’s appointment and answered multiple questions about why you’re calling? At the appointment, they hand you eight pages of overly Xeroxed forms with the same questions you already answered. Then the nurse or doctor again asks you the exact questions that were on the form. This is what we would call a bad brand experience.
Scenarios like this happen in wealth management as well. Forms are the last thing firms think about as brand building material. But if they are cumbersome (a nice word to describe ugly and difficult) as well as ask questions you’ve already answered they leave a bad impression. Tedious is not the way you want to be described when onboarding a new client.
• Collect only the information you really need
• Don’t use decorative fonts on a form (those are reserved for elementary school forms)
• Don’t send electronic forms that are in Microsoft Word. Once your client starts typing, Word shifts everything and sometimes makes forms illegible
• If you are going to use Word to build the form, create a PDF so the fields stay static when the form is filled out
• Give your forms some air; put space between questions, margins on the page that are at least 1 inch, and sufficient line spacing
• Don’t use a form that has been photocopied so many times that it looks like it was made in the 80’s — the content ends up a little crooked, some words are bulky or smudged (you know these forms, they usually come from your kid’s elementary school)
The best format
Your forms are an extension of your brand. Ideally, have them professionally designed and made into a fillable PDF. That way, your client can fill them out electronically or print them. Include only your logo, page numbers, and easy-to-understand questions that do not include a lot of financial lingo that a client may not understand. And remember, you also benefit from a well-designed, well-thought-out form — all the information you need will be easily accessible. If you can’t have them designed, research and review some of the online form-building applications.
Forms are the last thing companies consider when thinking about their brand. But every touchpoint with your client can strengthen or weaken the client experience and their perception of your firm.