How many of you ask your clients or customers to complete a form when you start working with?
Quite a few of you

How many of you give your them a paper form to complete?
Again quite a few

So last questions, how many of you leave those forms sat on top of your desk and at some point get round to inputting or filing them?
A few less but still more of you saying yes than should be!

Today’s blog is all about how and why you can benefit from using online forms – now before you say but it won’t work for my business – I accept they aren’t for everyone but I also know that they can be a great help for other businesses.

The top three drawbacks of paper forms:

  1. Security – how secure is a paper form? If you are a therapist taking personal details from a client you need to ensure that the form is stored securely to comply with data protection laws (see here for more information:
  2. Saving Time – how long does entering the form details into your system take? I’m guessing that for those of you enter all the data you gather we are talking around 15 minutes a form and even for those who just add the contact details it is still going to be around 5 minutes – and what about the form that you can’t quite make out the writing on – another 5 minutes trying to figure out what it says and then giving up to go back next week and ask the person what they wrote.
  3. Retrieval – when you need the details on the form how do you retrieve them? Are they filed somewhere easy to locate, or do you go to your spreadsheet where you entered the data – is retrieval easy or more difficult?

So if you want to ensure that the data you collect is more secure, saves you time and is easy to retrieve using online forms can help.  Here is how:

  1. Security – the data will be collected online and saved in a password protected system so only those with the password can access it.
  2. Saving Time – the data is automatically input into a spreadsheet for you and you therefore don’t need to input it – if you have a CRM system you will be able to download the data to a text file to quickly upload in most cases.
  3. Retrieval – you can quickly access the data at anytime either online (or even on your phone) or from your computer if you choose to download it – no more remembering where you but that particular form is.

How do I get started with online forms?

If you have read this short piece and think that using online forms is a good idea for your business, then you now need to decide which system to use. There are lots out there – some will integrate with your website, some will be stand alone and provide a link to send to your clients, others can link directly to your email marketing software – the options are endless. Personally I use Google Forms – it’s free and easy, forms can be emailed via a weblink or embedded onto a webpage.

This blog isn’t about how to create a form but I will be writing one on that soon, in the meantime if you need any advice on this please let me know.

I’d love to hear if you found this blog useful so don’t read and run pop a comment below.