PSG WEALTH APPLICATION FORMS
A household name in South Africa, PSG is synonymous with professionalism, integrity, and diligence. The company offers comprehensive wealth management services, designed for individuals and businesses.
As with many financial services companies – especially those who have been around as long as PSG – its operational documents had not kept up with its digital communication. It was time to dust off the product application forms and terms and conditions to ensure that they communicate the PSG brand values, that they are easy to understand and to complete, and that they comply with the Protection of Personal Information Act and other relevant legislation.
This project was primarily about clarity. PSG wanted to create forms and terms and conditions that were easy to read and understand.
The application forms and the terms and conditions were also just another opportunity to communicate the company’s brand values to clients and intermediaries. It was important to align the communication style used online and in key information documents with the style used in the form and the terms and conditions. It makes sense to create application forms and terms and conditions that put the needs of clients and brokers first.
The dual audience
Writing for a dual audience can be challenging. However, experience has taught us that both brokers and clients will benefit from clearly drafted documents. Not only will clients be better able to understand the products or services they are purchasing, but brokers will find that the documents facilitate their conversation with the client to a greater degree.
We were careful to create documents with layers of information that caters to readers with varying levels of experience with the documents. We know that clients will likely see the form only once and very briefly, while brokers will use it often, and will learn which sections are relevant to them and which they can skip.
Our efforts to make the forms more user friendly begin on the front page.
We included clear and concise instructions from the minute you start filling out the form including instructions about the information you should submit with the form when you apply.
We included a lot more helper text in the form. Helper text can range from instructions on how to fill in a particular field, to information about additional documents that must be submitted. The helper text is placed on the right-hand side of the form so that readers who are not interested in reading the text (or who have read it before) can ignore it and carry on completing the form without interruption.
We merged the declaration and terms and conditions, partly because there was a large amount of overlap, but also because legally speaking we want our clients to agree to all of the terms and conditions and not just those that are in the declaration.
It is important also to note that the client is not required to return the terms and conditions to PSG, it is stated both on the front page and below the client’s signature that they only need to submit the completed form to PSG. This means that brokers don’t have to scan and mail the entire document – just the form.
There will be concerns about the length of the application form and the terms and conditions, and it is important to keep a couple of things in mind.
First, there is a difference between the actual length and the perceived length of the form. Often, when readers mention the length of the form, it has less to do with the page count, and more to do with how tedious it is to complete the form.
Second, it’s incredibly important to let the form breathe. We do this by including quite a bit of negative space.
Third, we created a form that feels shorter by making the form easy to navigate. We gave the form a logical structure, including descriptive headings that are easy to distinguish from the rest of the text. This breaks the form up into smaller more digestible pieces.
Lastly, we added a progress bar at the top of each page, which tells readers how far they are in the process, much like you would find on a website. This gives them a sense of achievement and cuts down on how long or tedious a form feels to them.
We have tested mechanisms like white space and navigation on many focus groups in the past and something quite remarkable happens.
People associate forms with a lot of white space and with clear navigation, with brand values such as excellence, expertise, professionalism, and generosity. These are all things that we want people to associate with PSG.
A project like this is never complete, in order to create application forms and terms that are truly user friendly, we need to continue testing and adjusting the documents. PSG have been an amazing client – proving their commitment to clarity at every turn in the project. We are currently working on aligning all their transactional forms with the application forms to create a seamless user experience.