Forms are usually thought of as a list of questions that must be filled in for a survey. But for businesses, having online forms can be a quick way to obtain information that is essential for carrying out their operations.

 

From online shopping to billing, hiring, and managing customer support, there are several ways companies can use online forms to increase productivity and efficiency at work.

 

In this article, we’ll go over some of the ways forms can be used for businesses, and some best practices when using forms — whether you’re answering them or creating them.

Using forms in business processes

Companies that sell customized goods or services can use online forms to streamline their sales process. For example, instead of exchanging emails or text messages with each customer, businesses can create a customized list of questions that their clients can fill out. The form will quickly provide all the information they need to do their job.

 

With the answers centralized in a single platform, companies can quickly view each request, sort them by date (or other criteria), track the progress of each demand, and so on. This makes managing requests much easier than having to parse through dozens of text messages or email threads, and reduces the chance of mistakes.

 

But the sales process is only one example of how online forms can improve businesses’ efficiency. The HR team can also use similar forms for their internal clients that want to request vacations or paid time off, for example. The IT team can also use this solution to make it easier to sort through Help Desk tickets.

 

Customer support is another department that frequently resorts to online forms. If you’ve ever asked for help for a product or service you used and later received an email with a quick survey inquiring about your experience, then you’ve seen it in practice.

 

In all cases, the idea is to use forms as a way of standardizing the information that’s received at each point.

 

Another way of putting it broadly is to say that whenever a business process is kick-started by information from stakeholders outside the team, a form can help that process.

 

Some of the benefits of using online forms in businesses include:

  • Gathering all information in a single place;
  • Streamlining interactions with clients;
  • Gaining full visibility over each demand’s status;
  • Lowering response times;
  • Creating a comprehensive archive of past exchanges.

Increase your team’s efficiency with online forms
Try Pipefy Forms now!

Online forms: best practices

If you’re creating an online form for your business, there are a few things you can do to ensure respondents have an easy time filling it in with the information you need. Taking the time to follow these best practices will help ensure your clients fill in the form properly, which will potentialize the benefits you get from using it in your workflow:

1 - Keep it simple

In general, the more fields your online form has, the less likely people are to fill it in completely. Therefore, it’s a good idea to make your forms as simple as you can. Also, try to make each field’s description precise and short, so that respondents know exactly what you want to know.

2 - Be transparent

If you ask for sensitive information, it may be a good idea to quickly explain why it’s needed. For instance, if you need clients to tell you their address for legal reasons, make it clear in the form. And if something is hard to justify, it’s worth considering whether that information is really required.

3 - Highlight which fields are optional

Again, if a field is optional, you should consider whether it should be in your form in the first place. But if your form does have optional fields, make sure that your respondents can clearly see which fields are mandatory and which are not.

4 - Leave room for comments

Having an extra, non-mandatory field labeled “additional comments” can be a good idea in some cases. This way, if your clients feel they need to add information that wasn’t asked for (but may be important), they can do so in this field.

5 - Configure each field appropriately

Some online form tools allow you to configure form fields in a way that only specific answers will be considered valid. For example, if the form field requires a date, it will only allow users to type in numbers (and will automatically display their inputs in date format). This is handy for avoiding responses that don’t offer the information you need.

How to fill out an online form

When filling out an online form, here are some additional tips you can follow to get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible:

1 - Use autocomplete

Some browsers can automatically fill in fields such as “name” and “email” across various websites. If your browser supports this, using it is a sure-fire way to speed up the process of filling in online forms. Just remember to double-check to see if all your information is correct.

2 - Read fields carefully

It should go without saying, but reading each form field thoroughly will help you fill in the online form quicker. Glancing over all the fields before you start filling in can also make things faster and keep you from writing your name where your address should be.

3 - Don't let file formats stop you

If you need to fill out an online form that’s in PDF format but you don’t have access to Adobe’s tools, keep in mind you can use other free online services to do so. Google Drive, for instance, can help you fill in online forms in PDF.

4 - Be thorough

It should go without saying, but reading each form field thoroughly will help you fill in the online form quicker. Glancing over all the fields before you start filling in can also make things faster and keep you from writing your name where your address should be.

How to sign an online form

1 - Use an online service

Sometimes, it may be necessary to sign an online form. This process may seem tricky since you can’t use an ink pen on digital documents, but there are a few options at your disposal. Here are just a few:

Some online services allow you to sign online forms for free. Adobe Fill and Sign, for instance, allows you to create a signature for documents in your computer, Android or iOS device. Alternatively, you can also use DocuSign in these cases.

2 - Create an image file

You can also use image editors such as PhotoShop or even MS Paint to create a digital signature from scratch, or from a picture of a hand-drawn signature. In this case, you should use your image editor of choice to save your signature in .png or other required format, and then upload the image file to the signature field.

Use Pipefy Forms to streamline your workflows

Forms can be an essential resource for businesses that need more efficiency and agility in managing their process. And they work for companies of all sizes and across all industries, from fast-growing tech startups to established manufacturing enterprises seeking to take their digital revolution further.

 

Pipefy Forms is a free, easy-to-set-up resource that helps individuals and teams gain efficiency in managing requests at scale by enabling them to build smart intake forms and workflows.

 

Check out how Pipefy Forms turns form submissions into workflows, and offers a place to centralize, organize, and track requests.

Free online forms that boost productivity
Try Forms now

Whenever a business process is kick-started by information from stakeholders outside the team, a form can help that process."