The Ultimate Guide to Digital Forms Software provides an overview of this type of software and its capabilities, highlights the benefits of forms automation and how it enhances the end-to-end customer experience, questions to ask a forms management software provider and more.
2023 DIGITAL FORMS GUIDE: SOFTWARE & SOLUTIONS | SMART COMMUNICATIONS
As customers’ expectations for simple and digital experiences continue to increase, so too must enterprises’ ability to deliver. And as businesses explore ways to be faster, smarter and more innovative, one area that is ripe for transformation is forms management.
Across highly-regulated industries like insurance, financial services and healthcare – where every customer interaction is critical – the end-to-end experience must be as seamless as possible.
While most businesses rely on paper-based processes or static PDFs, digital forms software allows companies to support more agile, secure online experiences.
What is Digital Forms Management Software?
In any enterprise, there is a need to gather information in order to serve customers and help simplify future interactions. This is on top of the demand for businesses to deliver results to end-users faster while simultaneously reducing the amount of effort it takes them to interact and get what they need.
Digital forms software enables enterprises to collect customer information more efficiently, taking traditionally paper-based, manual processes and turning them into automated, response-based experiences. Customers can seamlessly move from one device to another with the information they’ve entered following them along the way. The data collected in these guided interviews can be fed to other technologies and systems in real-time and can be used to expedite and inform future steps or interactions — reducing the time it takes to complete typically complex processes.
In addition to radically improving the customer experience, automating forms-based processes also reduces the amount of risk that is introduced with highly manual, back-office processes. As companies invest more in data strategy and protecting customer information, modern digital forms software can vastly diminish compliance risk. Dynamic digital forms ensure that sensitive data remains within a secure technology environment and that compliance incidents caused by a remote workforce – who operate outside of secure office networks in manual systems across multiple touch points – are greatly diminished.
Leverage Digital Forms Software to Enhance the Customer Experience and Improve Operational EfficiencyRead the Blog
Trends Driving the Need for Improved Digital Forms Management
As enterprises try to identify the areas that will benefit the most from digital optimization, forms-based processes are often overlooked. However, automating forms is a simple way to boost the end-to-end customer experience and help business meet their near- and long-term digital transformation goals.
There are several trends that are driving the need for enterprises to invest in forms management software, including:
For decades, IT departments have had to implement and manage databases and home-grown applications across the company. Today and going forward, IT teams are being asked to identify low-code technologies that can be securely woven into their ecosystem and made available directly to the business units who need them.
By making an investment into low-code, process automation solutions, companies can quickly implement new technologies that rely on machine learning and minimal or no coding. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2024, organizations will lower operational costs by 30% with the combination of hyper-automation technologies and redesigned operational processes. Low-code platforms are included as one of those technologies in Gartner’s report.
Making this investment would allow IT departments to refocus on other business initiatives while allowing business users to take ownership of the systems they use day-to-day – translating into improved employee and customer experiences.
Customers across the insurance, financial services and healthcare industries are interacting with businesses at critical moments in their lives – and it’s up to the business to ensure every customer interaction is efficient, effective and appropriate.
So, as enterprises identify areas to make things simpler and more meaningful, time-consuming, paper-based or PDF forms are simply not going to cut it. Instead, these forms-based interactions should be tailored to meet customer needs with sensitivity—a feat that can only be realized with intuitive systems.
Furthermore, with forms automation, data collected is more scalable and actionable – meaning subsequent customer communications are personalized and any frustrations are mitigated. Ultimately, this builds brand loyalty and customer trust.
Protecting customer data is a common goal across any business but is especially critical in highly-regulated industries. As technology and regulatory requirements continue to evolve, enterprises must keep customer information secure across multiple platforms and geographies.
There are a number of regulatory and compliance-related changes taking place around the world, and they can vary widely. As a result, enterprises should invest in a cloud-based digital forms solution that is built not only to collect data, but also to transfer the data to secure cloud storage platforms. It’s also critical that providers meet the latest and highest security standards, including PCI DSS, SOC 1 and SOC 2, HIPAA, ISO/IEC, IRAP, and FSQS and, among others.
2022 Forrester Consulting Total Economic Impact Explores the ROI of SmartIQ™
Key findings for the interviewed customer include reducing data capture cost by 70%, increasing NPS by 13 points an ROI of 136%.Download to Learn More
The Benefits of Cloud-based Forms Automation
Throughout a customers’ lifecycle, there is always a need to gather information. Whether it’s during the initial acquisition phase, or servicing a longstanding customer, forms are a necessary part of the end-to-end experience. Unfortunately, these processes have been mainly excluded from the digital revolution of the last 10 years, and many companies are still offering impersonal and friction-filled customer experiences.
Nearly 60% of consumers are likely to abandon an interaction if a company has an inefficient process for collecting information
Source: Smart Communications
All too often, customers are asked to download and print a form. Or, they are tasked with filling out a static PDF, frequently re-entering previously known information or being asked to answer irrelevant questions.
And the headaches don’t end with the customer experience. The information customers provide has to be entered somehow, somewhere. Inefficient forms-based processes can lead to data quality and integrity issues – which in turn can lead to compliance issues, delays and lost revenue for enterprises.
Creates friction for both the end-customer and business users due to manual processes
Fail to meet customers’ increasing desire for digital-first experiences
Leave room for data error and integrity issues
Expedite business processes and deliver customer outcomes more quickly with data and approval workflows
Digital, mobile-friendly experiences and real-time status updates throughout processes
Connect with core systems of record to make data scalable
5 Ways Forms are Ruining the CX and Hurting the Bottom Line
Enterprises still using paper-based forms are missing an opportunity to truly engage with their customers in meaningful ways.Learn More
Enterprises that Benefit from Digital Forms Software
Across industries like insurance, financial services and healthcare, forms are a critical component of doing business. From new insurance claims and health plan enrollment to wealth management client onboarding and field underwriting, businesses rely on completed forms to run smoothly and deliver on customer expectations.
For these industries in particular, customer interactions are highly personal, sensitive and sometimes stressful. There is often no shortage of emotions, which is why it’s critical to create simpler and more efficient ways for customers to engage. Ultimately, this reduces stress and anxiety for the customer, while simultaneously optimizing internal processes.
Below, we highlight specific business processes that can benefit from digital forms and forms automation to deliver the seamless experiences customers expect.
What to Look for in a Digital Forms Software Solution
Enterprises around the world are searching for innovative technologies that can securely help them modernize manual, outdated back-office processes—and reduce the amount of effort it takes to do business with them. When undergoing any sort of modernization effort, it’s important to identify processes that can be optimized in both the near and long term.
As part of this analysis, some important questions to ask include:
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, then you are ahead of the game! But, if you mostly answered “no,” then a forms transformation initiative should be in your future. So what are the important criteria to look for in a forms automation solution?
Below, we outline a few key features enterprises should look for in a solution:
- Low-code interface
- Response-based, mobile friendly experiences with full save and resume capabilities
- Automated data and approval workflows
- Pre-built connections to existing data sources
- Integrations with e-signature providers to simplify signing experiences
- Drag and drop interface
- Turnkey implementation
- Industry leading compliance and data protection
Integrating E-signature and Digital Forms
As enterprises automate more and more business processes, partnering with the right technology providers will be critical. And while automating multiple business processes at scale can feel like a tall order, technology integrations that focus on enhancing processes – versus tasks – will enable businesses to more quickly and efficiently deliver on customers’ expectations.
The e-signature experience, for example, is a process that could benefit from additional integrations. While many businesses believe e-signature alone is creating an amazing CX (although it is much more efficient than wet signatures, direct mail and/or faxes!), there is room for improvement. Through digital forms, forms automation and integrating the data collected via response-based interviews with e-signature solutions, the e-signing process becomes much more personalized – and fast.
Why Partner with Smart Communications for Forms Automation
The Smart Communications Conversation Cloud™ platform delivers personalized, omnichannel conversations across the entire customer experience. Its key capabilities – Collect, Communicate, Collaborate and Coordinate – are built on Integration and Intelligence layers, allowing enterprises to engage in SMARTER customer conversations.
SmartIQ™, a forms automation software within the Conversation Cloud, enables enterprises to modernize forms-based processes. In addition to guiding both internal stakeholders and end-users through automated, digital-first experiences, key benefits include: