If you’re tired of spending hours on manual data entry you’re in the right place. I find that many businesses are only using a form on their ‘Contact Us’ page. There are many opportunities for using forms. Online forms open the door to automation and streamlining your procedures. But first, let’s look at a little know problem with paper forms.

#1 Problem with Paper Forms

I bet you’re thinking the #1 problem is one of these things:

  • Data entry can be inconsistent
  • Where to store all the paper
  • Possibility for error
  • Time-consuming
  • Handwriting not always legible
  • Misplacing the paper

Although all of the above are common problems. But, the #1 problem with paper forms is that you can’t customize the form easily to your new customer. Let me show you what I mean by that.

Let’s say your membership organization has two membership types – standard and business. There are two options for paper applications: 1) you could create one form with all the questions or 2) you could create two different applications for each membership type.

If you use one form, some of the questions may apply to only one group. Then you have to add subtext like (only complete this question if you are x member type). This often causes confusion. If you use two different forms, then you just doubled the amount of paper and data entry. Now you have to keep up with two stacks of paper.

A Better Experience

We need to make it as easy as possible for someone to join our organization. But, we also want to get some insight into the population. Using our same example above, let’s look at how an online form could be built.

The first question on the form could be, “Are you joining as an individual member or a business member?” Right away, this sets up the ability to ask different questions depending on the answer.

If I say individual member, the field that asks for ‘Company Name’ for a business member could be automatically hidden. If I say business member, a field that asks ‘What is your business industry?’ could appear. You could also ask, ‘Select the annual operating budget your business best fits.’ This can give you insight into the size of businesses that are joining your organization. Bigger business may equal bigger sponsorship. At the end of the form, the dues amount to pay will also change depending on the member type selected. No confusion here! There is no need for an individual member to answer these questions, so why should they have to read it and skip over it?

These type of questions hiding or appearing (tech word: conditional logic) can go on and on. The possibilities are endless.

The Importance of Customizing

By customizing your forms, you are not only providing better customer service but you can now set up automated communication that is completely tailored to the audience.