Caution! Your Website’s Forms Could Be Losing You Business.
Imagine: you ask the salesclerk for help locating a pair of shoes in your size, and she turns around and walks into the back of the store. Although you know (or hope!) she heard you, you have no idea whether or not she’s going to help you, how long she will be, or where you should wait for her!
This is how your site visitors feel when they see a “submit” button at the bottom of a website’s form without any nearby instructions or explanations.
It doesn’t matter if your form is for prospective customers requesting quotes, first-time site visitors providing feedback, or existing clients making appointments. In each of these situations, someone is sending you a message, and they need guidance in two forms:
- In the form of upfront instructions, and
- In the form of a post-submission confirmation message
If a salesclerk walks away without saying a word, at least you can shout after them (though most customers will just leave!). On the other hand, when a web form doesn’t provide enough information, visitors don’t even have that option. Their form has disappeared into the Internet abyss and they have no idea what to expect or what to do next. That’s why it’s so important for your online forms to act as the most considerate, most helpful, and most informative salesclerks possible.
Here’s what visitors to your website submitting forms want to know:
- Did my question/information get submitted correctly?
- When will you respond to my question/feedback/appointment?
- Where will you respond – via email, or phone, or web forum?
- Is there anything I should do to prepare for your response? For example, will you be asking me for any documents when you respond?
- What should I do if I don’t hear back from you within a week/month/longer?
Ideally, this information should go on the same page as your form, and should include post-submission details so that site visitors can click that “submit” button confidently, knowing exactly what to expect, exactly what you’ll do after you receive their info, and exactly what will happen next.
The post-submission screen should include both a visual change and a written confirmation that the form has been successfully sent.
You would never turn your back in response to a customer asking a question in a brick and mortar store—so don’t let your website’s online forms do it.