You talkin’ to me?

 In Agency Life

By Anusha Azees

Filling forms overwhelms me, and I know I’m not the only one. The existing standard modules do not help enhance our customer experience in any way. More often than not, forms are the least thought-out elements of the conversion funnel because they are plugged into some other tech or system. 

When auto-fill fails me and I have to share my personal information with a brand to know more about it or use its services, a friendly form can make all the difference in converting clicks to conversions. 

Here are a few things you can do to have a more inclusive data collection strategy that is also less overwhelming and more inclusive of your customers:

1. Get their names right

I like it when people get my name and the order of it right. It’s the online equivalent of not having to correct people on how to pronounce my name correctly.

I understand that brands want to personalize their experience for me. But, if your form doesn’t allow me to write my name in the way it is supposed to be written, then you have made me feel a bit of an outsider already. 

Let’s be honest, most of us had no real say in how we were named. Many of us choose to stick with it while others change. Across cultures, naming conventions differ too. First name, last name just doesn’t cut it. Not if your first name is a very common family name because that’s how it is in your culture. Simply adding the middle name field isn’t an ideal solution either, even if it’s not a required option. A first name, middle name, last name format can handle a John Quincy Adams and James Earl Jones, but not Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor, who you may know as the singer Lorde. Ask your consumer what they would like you to call them.

2. Gender me right

Do you really need to know how I identify myself? If yes, ask nicely. Don’t limit the drop-down options to a mere

  • Male
  • Female
  • Other

Some forms don’t even have the ‘Other’ on the list. I feel boxed up already. 

Depending on the nature of your business and your absolute need for collecting this information, consider maybe doing the following:

  • A more comprehensive dropdown option that includes options for non-binary, transgender, intersex and gender non-confirming identities amongst others;
  • Make it non-mandatory while explaining why collecting this information is important for the experience; 
  • Consider adding an option “Prefer not to say” to keep things anonymous;
  • Let them choose their pronouns;
  • Don’t ask if it’s not relevant to your business offering;

3. Adding a layer for respect or complication

The honorifics we have don’t help either – Miss., Mrs., Mr., Dr., – what if I was a married female doctor? Or knighted by the Queen and was a dame? Do I get to flaunt that? Have a more comprehensive list of options that’s gender inclusive, or don’t have one at all.

With organizational data-collection, it’s important to have a two- or even three-step process to drive consumers down the funnel. Keeping the forms, language and content inclusive is important for a great customer experience. As we change our logos for Pride Month, let’s also change our data collection forms and design them for a more inclusive experience to drive growth.