Online forms can be used for a lot more than just polls or surveys. Well-designed forms will simplify your work, and they can be used by professionals in any department (from Sales to Human Resources, as well as Customer Support, and IT). Wherever it may be necessary to streamline information received from stakeholders, online forms may be the ideal tool — especially if that information is important to kickstart a business process.
We’ve already talked a lot about business processes and how to model them. In this article, we’ll present a few ideas of things you can do to make your teams more productive with online forms. Even if none of these examples fit squarely into your professional routine, they may inspire you to come up with an online forms-based solution of your own:
1 – Gather service requests
Businesses that sell customized goods or services can greatly benefit from online forms. With these tools, they can shift from receiving requests in different formats and channels to standardizing and centralizing them in a single platform.
Think, for example, about ordering pizza. Doing so is essentially filling in a form with your contact information, delivery address, and the toppings you’d like. A pizza shop can create an online form with those fields, and each respondent would fill it in to order their pie. They can allow customers to type out the toppings they’d like, or have them select predetermined options from a menu.
Pizza, in this case, can stand in for many things. For instance, a design team can use a similar form to standardize their briefings for new art assets. The form can be sent to internal stakeholders within the company (or external clients, in the case of an agency), and customized so that requesters always give designers sufficient information on what they need. This reduces rework and allows the team to work more assertively.
2 – Onboard new employees
The HR team’s work doesn’t end when someone is hired for a new job. They still need to help the newly-hired person with several procedures that are essential to ensure they get up to speed in their new position. And these tasks, usually referred to as “employee onboarding”, are extremely important for companies, as 69% of employees will stay at a company for three years or more after a great onboarding experience.
Employee onboarding involves tasks like getting paperwork sorted out, providing accounts for all the digital services they’ll be using, introducing them to their team, and so on. This can take a lot of time to do properly — especially if the company is hiring a lot of new people. But forms can make that process faster and more organized. New employees can fill in a form with all their information, check the boxes for the services and equipment they’re going to need, and the HR team can get to work with all that data.
If the form is connected to an automated workflow, you’ll also receive updates as the team carries out the tasks associated with your onboarding. This way, you’ll know when your new accounts are properly set up, and how long it will take for your gear to arrive. Getting this right is really important for the company.
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3 – Manage purchase requests
If you feel a particular tool or software could make your life easier at work, most companies have some way of managing requests for such acquisitions. In other cases, a business needs to acquire raw materials in order to continue putting together the products that it sells, and these acquisitions also need to be directed to a particular team. This is a process known as “purchase requests”, and it can also be greatly improved by forms.
Instead of emailing the purchasing team with a new request, you can fill in a form that they’ve put together for situations like this. In it, you will need to input all the data the team needs to carry your request onward. This usually includes what you want to purchase, why, if it’s a recurring purchase or a one-off expense, and so forth.
Having this form allows the team to streamline all the requests they receive. They can also automate the process, making it so that requests above a certain budget get directed to their manager, for example. The forms tool can also allow them to sort requests by date, value, urgency, and other criteria, which helps keep the process organized and the company fully stocked.
4 – Provide customer support
Unfortunately, it’s very likely that you’ve had a bad customer support experience. Navigating through menus, FAQs, and chatbots that never seem to be able to solve your problem can be incredibly frustrating. And even though a form may not sound like the best way to improve this experience, businesses can use them to help their customers have an easier time when things go wrong.
With three or four simple questions, they can find out what’s going on and direct you to the page or person who’ll be able to assist. Customizable forms feature all the data needed to help the company point you towards the right solution — saving you and the support teams hours of troubleshooting in the long run.
Forms can also be a way for businesses to collect feedback from their users. After talking to support, for instance, you may receive an email from the company asking you to evaluate how helpful the interaction was. It’s a way to understand what are the problems that clients are facing, but also an opportunity for customers to share positive experiences.
5 – Organize events
Organizing events is not easy. Even throwing together a small dinner party involves talking to several different people, sorting out the best date and time for everyone, negotiating food restrictions, and so on. For companies that need to create events for hundreds (or thousands) of people, these problems can escalate very quickly. But once again, forms can help.
Instead of sending each person or group an email, sharing a customizable, fillable form can speed up the process. The form tool can collect responses and help you figure out the best date and time for your event, or how many people to expect at each moment.
By adding an extra field for additional comments, you can also let your guests know if they have special needs, which will help you prepare to give them the best experience possible. This can work for a series of different situations, from managers organizing a meeting over a meal to producers putting together the stage for a music festival with a dozen artists. Having a form standardizes responses and helps keep information organized and accessible.
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These are only a few examples of how businesses can use forms to improve their productivity. Online forms can be an essential tool for companies that need more efficiency 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 individual contributors and small teams gain efficiency in managing requests at scale by enabling them to build smart intake forms and workflows. It turns form submissions into workflows, and offers a place to centralize, organize and track demands. Try it for free right now.