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Frustrated with PDF forms? So are your customers!

Frustrated with PDF forms? So are your customers! | EasySend blog
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6 minutes

PDF forms have been the go-to method for customer data collection in the insurance industry for years. From quotes to policy renewals and claims, PDF forms have been the industry's workhorse.

PDF forms replaced the paper-based forms that were previously used and were an improvement in many ways. They could be emailed or accessed from a website, completed electronically, and stored digitally.

However, PDF forms have their own set of problems.

[.emph]As the digital world evolves, your customers have moved almost completely into the digital realm, and PDF form's shortcomings are becoming more and more glaring.[.emph]

Disadvantages of PDF forms for customer data collection

The main disadvantage of PDF forms is that they are simply not compatible with digital-first reality. PDF forms as a method of customer data collection have many limitations and can negatively impact customer experience in a few ways:

Issues with customer experience

  • PDF forms often require customers to print out the form, fill it out by hand, and then scan or fax it back to the company. This is an inconvenient process that can take a lot of time and effort.
  • Even if PDFs can be filled digitally without printing, the user experience is often poor. PDF forms can be difficult to navigate, and customers may have trouble submitting them.
  • PDFs are difficult to fill in on mobile devices. This can be especially frustrating for customers trying to fill out a form on the go. With over half of web traffic coming from mobile devices, this is a major problem.
  • PDFs can be difficult to navigate. Customers may have trouble finding the information they need or understanding what is being asked of them.
  • PDFs can also be difficult to edit. Once a PDF form is saved, it can be very difficult to make changes. This can be a major problem if a customer needs to update their information.
  • PDFs are not always accessible. Customers with disabilities may have difficulty using PDF forms. PDFs also are not always compatible with all devices and browsers.

Issues with data collection

  • The data customers provide is often incomplete, as PDFs don't offer any real-time validations, resulting in frustrating back-and-forth communications to correct the errors.
  • Once the form is sent back to the insurer, it must be processed, and data must be input into the internal systems. Data from the PDF must be extracted with the OCR tool or manually and then input into the company's internal systems. This is a time-consuming and error-prone process.
  • PDFs are not always secure. They can be easily emailed or downloaded, and once they are sent, the insurer has no control over where they end up. This can lead to sensitive customer data being compromised.
  • Because PDFs require manual processing, they create bottlenecks and cause inefficiencies and delays downstream in workflows.

Overall, PDF forms are no longer the best option for customer data collection in the insurance industry. They are inconvenient for customers, create data-related issues, and cause workflow problems. In order to provide a better experience for your customers, it's time to consider other options.

PDF forms frustration | EasySend blog

Why are PDF forms still the prevalent method of customer data intake?

PDF forms have many disadvantages when it comes to customer data collection. In today's digital world, they are simply not up to the task.

Yet, PDF forms remain one of the prevalent ways insures collect customer data and eSignatures. So why is this the case?

There are a few potential reasons:

Inertia

This is partly because of inertia. PDFs have been around for a long time and are the “default” way of doing things.

Simple and cheap to create

PDFs are also often used because they can be easily shared and stored. PDFs can also be printed and faxed, which can be important for companies that need to collect customer data in person.

Lack of UX expertise

Another reason PDFs are still used is that many companies lack the UX expertise to design and build digital forms that meet customer needs.

Lack of budget

Lack of budget and resources can be a big obstacle to making the switch from PDFs to digital forms.

What are the alternatives to PDF forms?

Although PDF forms may be the most common method of customer data collection, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't look for better ways to do things. Fortunately, there are now better alternatives to PDF forms for customer data collection that can provide a better experience for both parties and can help you collect accurate and complete data.

If you're looking for an alternative to PDF forms, here are a few options:

Alternatives to PDF forms for customer data collection

Building digital forms from scratch

Pros

One alternative is to build digital forms from scratch. This option allows you to create custom-built forms for your company's needs and can provide a better user experience for your customers.

Cons

However, this option can be expensive and time-consuming, as you will need to design and develop the forms yourself or hire someone to do it for you.

Using a form builder tool

Pros

Another alternative is to use a form builder tool. There are many form builder tools available that allow you to quickly and easily create digital forms.

Cons

However, some of these tools can be expensive, and you may need to purchase multiple licenses if you have a large team. Also, the form builder tools are not meant for complex insurance processes and may not have all the features you need.

Digital journeys

Pros

Digital journeys are multi-step experiences for customer data collection that can be accessed from any device and offer advanced functionality such as complex validations and multi-person workflows with role management. Digital journeys can change dynamically based on customer input, providing a more personalized experience, and supporting any kind of customer input from simple text fields to attachments and eSignatures, all in one process.

Cons

Digital journeys are costly to build and resource-intensive to maintain, and require UX and development expertise, turning into lengthy and expensive projects.

A no-code approach to digital customer journeys

Even though PDF forms have been the standard way of collecting customer data for a long time, there are many alternative solutions that can provide a better experience for both parties.

Personalized digital journeys offer the best combination of great customer experience and efficient customer data collection. However, digital journeys are a whole new world that is costly and time-consuming to build.

But what if there was a way to quickly create digital customer journeys without any coding?

Luckily, there is a solution that can help companies to create digital customer journeys without the need for coding from scratch. EasySend is a no-code platform that enables companies to easily create, automate and manage digital customer journeys for customer data collection. With EasySend, there is no need for lengthy and expensive development projects – customer journeys can be created in minutes without any coding required.

If you’re looking for a better way to collect customer data, contact us today to schedule a demo.

Vera Smirnoff
Vera Smirnoff

Vera Smirnoff is the demand generation manager at EasySend. She covers digital transformation in insurance and banking and the latest trends in InsurTech and digital customer experience.