TL;DR: Today we’re launching Forms, a new way to capture leads and customer information in the Web Messenger. Bonus: we’re also launching our new Conversational Design Kit to help product and design teams build great conversational experiences for the web.  

Who says forms are dead? The arguments against forms are fuzzy at best. Nobody wants to fill out forms? Forms aren’t interactive enough? We say no way. We believe forms have a time and place — and that place is inside conversations. How’s that for interactive?

You’re already having conversations with your customers. Conversations, as we’ve discussed, provide a goldmine of insight about your customers, and empower your agents to provide personalized messaging experiences at scale. Conversations are our raison d’être after all, and we’re inspired to make them better.

Introducing Forms for Web Messenger

Today, we’re happy to launch Forms, a new capability for Web Messenger. With Forms, businesses can combine the best of both worlds: easily capturing and structuring information from customers and prospects, delivered in the context of a chat conversation on your website.

Embedded into the chat, forms enable end users to provide the critical information your business needs — completely in the context of the conversation. Customize any field for info like names, emails, or build tailored dropdown menus for easy and intuitive data capture.

Supported use cases

Forms can be used in many different ways. You can send a form to ask pre-qualifying questions to a sales prospect, collect contact information from a customer, route users to the right department within the business, ask security questions, and even send mini-surveys. The possibilities are almost endless because we’ve made these forms customizable. And since forms are rendered natively with full functionality in the Web Messenger, they keep totally on brand with the look and feel you’ve given your web chat.

We’ve also given you the ability to send forms at any moment during a conversation. That might mean pre-chat capture, where you can ask for a user’s information before the start of a conversation, initializing the conversation with the business once they’ve submitted their details.

You also can send a custom form after the conversation has begun or after a bot has handed over the conversation to a human. You even have the option of stopping the conversation until the user has completed the form. It’s up to you to decide what the rules are, and when and how users can fill out forms.

How it works

In order for a business to send an embedded form, we’ve created a new native message type called `form`. A form message can be sent via the Smooch API or using a template.

To quickly enable agents to send forms, you can set them up as canned messages or ‘saved replies’ that they’ll be able to use. This can be done using Template Messages which lets you do this for any type of messages Smooch supports.

Give it a test drive now! Send this message to yourself on Smooch:

%((template: lead_capture))%

and check out the results on Web Messenger.

Form fields and field validation

Form fields will accommodate different types of data, either text, email or a dropdown list. Text and email fields come with integrated validation and you can set a minimum or maximum number of characters, which can be pretty handy if, for example, you’re asking for confirmation, order numbers or customer IDs.

Forms support up to a maximum of 20 fields, with the select field supporting a list of up to 20 options.

Receiving form responses

Every field that customers and prospects fill out gets validated and locked one-by-one. Once the form has been duly completed by the user, a `formResponse` is sent back to the business and the original appMaker form message gets updated with the appUser’s answers. More details on that here.

Oh, one more thing 🍎

Bonus release! Introducing our Conversational Design Kit for Web Messenger

The Smooch Design team is proud to launch the first version of our Conversational Design Kit. This kit, which comes as a Sketch file, is meant to help product teams (think Product Managers and Designers) to build great conversational experiences on Web Messenger. It makes creating target designs for different conversational use cases like concierge bots or reservation flows easier, removing some of the weight off your shoulders by giving you a base canvas to work with. This new kit will also help you quickly understand the branding capabilities of Web Messenger and create customized branding by changing just a few color swatches.

Version 0.1 covers chat frames, action buttons and form messages. This is still early days and we’re looking to continually build out this tool. We hope you find it helpful and would be grateful if you shared your feedback with us at design@smooch.io. ❤️

We hope you’re just as thrilled as we are with these Web Messenger updates. We’re constantly adding more features to our Web SDK to make it one of the richest on the market, empowering you to deliver truly great experiences for your customers and enabling you to power use cases that differentiate you from the pack.

Next up, we’ve been working on making our Web Messenger more visible on websites by allowing you to engage sooner with customers with proactive messaging. Stay tuned for more on that!

alt

To take advantage of Forms for Web Messenger, make sure to update to the latest 4.18.0 version and check out our new Forms guide for the how-to.