Workflows to Turn Leads into Customers

Friday, July 19th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Leads can come from a wide variety of places, particularly if your business has a strong inbound marketing program.

Happy woman with a laptop

Leads often come in through downloads of gated content, or completion of landing page forms.

What you do with those leads can affect the health of your business, including your revenue and your rate of growth. When you create a lead management workflow, you’re positioned to turn more leads into customers. When you lack a defined lead management workflow, however, leads can fall by the wayside, with potential customers feeling the neglect and turning elsewhere for their needs. 

Creating an automated workflow for the express purpose of handling incoming leads will not only increase the number of qualified leads your sales team will have to work with, but will also increase conversion rates, save time, and reduce your marketing costs while increasing marketing ROI.

Before Developing the Workflow, Define Goals and Customer Personas

But before you can create a customized workflow to turn leads into customers, you need to set goals and ensure your team thoroughly understands customer personas. Goals should be reasonable and should require that team members “stretch” a bit, without being overwhelming or unattainable.

Knowing your different customer personas, whether they’re marketing managers, game enthusiasts, stay-at-home parents, or craft beer fans, helps you understand how “warm” they are likely to be when they come into your system, and the best types of content for engaging with them. 

Define the Actions and Events That Will Trigger Workflows

Before fleshing out your lead management workflow, you need to define which events will trigger the workflow. Common triggers for these workflows include:

  • People who download gated content
  • People who fill out a landing page form
  • People who visit pricing pages on multiple occasions
  • People who subscribe to your blog

Whenever one of these events happens, the lead management workflow can begin, helping shepherd potential customers through the sales funnel with content that is most likely to meet their needs. You could even design a simple lead introduction form that allows non-sales employees to notify sales when they know of a potential lead.

Executive men talking

A simple lead introduction form can help non-sales personnel
notify sales of potential leads they may not have known about otherwise.

Steps in a Typical Lead Management Workflow

One popular early step in an automated workflow for lead management is assigning a score to a lead based on the type of content they downloaded, information they included in their landing page form, or other information. Leads that are assigned different scores can be routed differently. Leads with scores that indicate relatively “cool” interest may be signed up for a general newsletter, while warmer leads may cause a notification to a sales associate prompting them to reach out personally. 

Your workflow software should allow you to automatically track lead scores and actions taken, so you can be confident that no leads fall through the cracks. Tracking built into a lead management workflow also helps you see the value of lead management over time. You could see, for instance, that conversion rates or sales increased during the first six months of use of the lead management workflow. Your workflow software should also allow you to create reports so you can make sense of the data you collect. 

PerfectForms is workflow software that gives your team the power and flexibility they need to create a lead management workflow customized to your goals and your customer base. It comes with a number of prefabricated templates, including a lead form, a sales inquiry form, and numerous survey forms, but you can also create lead management forms and workflows from scratch, with no programming required. And if you use Salesforce, you can make PerfectForms integrate with Salesforce easily, getting more value out of both.

Automated workflows make sense for countless business processes, including management of potential sales leads. To learn more, why not browse through some of the many PerfectForms case studies, including the Affinity Management Group case study. And if you have questions, you are welcome to contact us at any time

Workflows You Hope You Never Use: Disaster and Incident Response

Thursday, July 18th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

You probably have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen (and if you don’t you should buy one on your way home from work today).

fire extinguisher

Think of your disaster and incident response workflows as metaphorical fire extinguishers. 

It’s possible you’ll never have to use that fire extinguisher, but should the rare kitchen fire ever occur, you will think of it as one of the best investments you ever made. Likewise, disasters and unexpected incidents at work may be rare, but you need to prepare for them anyway.

We like to think we’ll remain calm and collected during a data breach or other disaster, but people rarely are. That’s why it’s absolutely essential to create disaster and incident response workflows for your business. While you can’t test these workflows as thoroughly as you can other types of workflows, you can test them with mock disasters, and you should. Like the humble kitchen fire extinguisher, disaster and incident workflows may end up being an outstanding investment of your time and effort.

A Workflow for IT Incidents

There is a 27.9% chance your business will experience a data breach in the next two years, according to a study by IBM. If you don’t develop a response workflow and later experience a data breach or other IT incident, chances are that your main response will be panic, and that’s a sure recipe for poor decision-making and mistakes. 

After notifying key personnel, the first step in an IT incident workflow is classifying the severity of the incident into one of these categories:

  • Critical – something with potentially catastrophic effects on your business
  • High – an incident with significant risk of negative financial or PR impact
  • Medium – an incident that is limited in scope, but that could be costly or damage reputation
  • Low – an incident where an intrusion or threat has occurred with no effect on critical infrastructure

Other typical steps in an IT incident workflow include:

  • Notification and containment
  • Eradication of the threat
  • Documentation of the incident and response
  • Evaluation of the response
  • Communication of the incident and response to stakeholders

Cloud-hosted form and workflow software allows you to create such a workflow that you can access from an alternate network if your business network is affected.

Outdoor businessman with a laptop

Cloud-hosted software can be accessed wherever you can connect to the internet.

A Workflow for Non-IT Incidents

Field services companies and companies located where natural disasters are a threat absolutely need a non-IT incident response workflow. Other companies should have one as well, to be safe. Typical steps in a non-IT incident response workflow may include:

  • Recording all critical details of the incident
  • Communicating incident details to all relevant company leaders
  • Activation of a remediation action plan
  • Generation of work orders based on the original incident documentation form, with key personnel deployed based on their skills and location
  • Documentation of work completed based on work orders
  • Creation of final incident resolution report and communication to all stakeholders

Review Incident Responses At Least Annually

It’s not sufficient to create a disaster or incident response workflow once for all time. Particularly for IT-related incidents, the response will need to change due to changes in IT infrastructure and technologies used in the business. After an incident response is a good time to review the workflow, because problems with it will be fresh in everyone’s mind. 

But if you’re fortunate enough to go long periods without incidents, it’s still a good idea to review your incident response workflows every year, or after major company changes, such as a change of location. 

Workflow software that is deployed in the cloud, like PerfectForms, is an ideal choice for creating your disaster an incident response workflows. Should your network go down, you can still access the workflows from another network, and you can make your forms and workflows mobile-friendly, which is helpful for workers who are responding in the field. 

And since you can try PerfectForms for free by signing up for a trial, there’s no reason to put off creating a disaster and incident response workflow any longer. Or if you want, you can watch the demo video and see for yourself how easy it is to create fully customized forms and workflows, with no programming required. 

How to Measure ROI for Online Forms and Automated Workflows

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Return on investment typically depends upon time being saved. 

Man with coffee checking his watch

Time saved is money saved.

Suppose you’re a baker, and you invest in an oven that allows you to bake twice as many loaves of bread at one time than you can now. The baking time that you save eventually means selling more loaves of bread and recouping the cost of the new oven. After you’ve recouped costs, you continue to make money on your investment compared to what you did before the investment. That’s return on investment.

Projected ROI is often the key point in making the business case for new equipment or new software. The people who control the budget want to know that money is being spent wisely and is ultimately for the good of the organization. Therefore, making the case for a swift and impressive ROI is often the key to upgrading systems, processes, or equipment. The same is true for upgrading workflows.

Traditional Return on Investment

The classic ROI formula goes like this:

ROI = [(gain from investment – cost of investment) ÷ cost of investment] × 100

So if you’ve made an additional $1,000 after investing $800 in software, your ROI would be:

ROI = [(1,000 – 800) ÷ 800] × 100 = 25%

The key is measuring how much more you’re earning now that you’ve made the investment, and it’s not always in dollars and cents. So if you invested in online form software and recouped the cost of the software through employee time savings and continue to save an additional 20 hours per week due to the software, you can translate that into money based on those employees’ wages.  

Employee Efficiency Gains

Efficiency gains are often the main benefits of online forms and automated workflows. In other words, if you invest in form and workflow software and a process that used to take three days now takes only one day, that’s a major efficiency gain. It may mean you don’t have to hire an extra person, or you don’t have to worry about paying overtime, and it really adds up in the long term.

Team high five

Efficiency gains can save on overtime and may mean you don’t have to increase staff.

Other savings come from avoiding the cost of paper and ink, as well as avoiding time spent collecting, sorting, filing, and archiving all that paper. If you tracked error rates for manual processes and online forms, you can also assign value to error reduction, which is another great benefit of online forms and automated workflows.

Business Productivity

Higher productivity means making more product in the same amount of time. So if you make custom furniture and your woodworkers can’t begin a new project until they receive a paper form detailing the specifications of the piece of furniture they need to make, that’s time wasted. 

If, however, orders are placed through online forms, which are automatically routed to any approving authorities as well as the woodworkers’ mobile devices, they can get to work more quickly, and there’s less downtime between projects. If it means they’re able to make one or two more pieces of furniture in a month, that’s higher productivity and higher revenues.

If you implement online forms and automated workflows, there are several ways you can measure ROI. Most of them have to do with time saved, greater efficiency, and greater productivity. And if you use outstanding workflow software like PerfectForms, you can set up workflows to automatically collect data and produce reports that clearly show where time savings occur and how productivity increases. 

One of the best features of PerfectForms is its intuitive user interface, which allows creation of fully customized online forms and automated workflows without any programming. This means that form and workflow users can help with form and workflow design. And these are the people who are best positioned to know where bottlenecks are most likely and how to avoid them. 

We encourage you to watch the PerfectForms demo video to see how easy it is to create your own custom forms and workflows, across departments, and across industries. And if you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us at any time.  

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Summer Is a Great Time for Schools to Update Forms and Workflows

Monday, July 15th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Few industries are as dependent on forms as education.

Elementary school kids running.

Backpacks have a way of eating forms that teachers send home.

Keeping track of hundreds or thousands of students who may be taking several different classes at once is a gargantuan task, and forms are necessary to track all of it. But forms don’t have to be on paper, and most people prefer forms they can fill out easily online, from their computer or mobile device. 

Students may change dramatically over the course of summer break, so why shouldn’t educational forms undergo their own transformation over the summer? With the right form software, forms can be created quickly and tested thoroughly, so they’re ready to go when it’s time for students and teachers to return to the classroom.

Basic School Forms That Work Better Online

It would be difficult to think of an educational form that works better on paper than online. Here are just a few of the basic educational forms that make life easier for everyone when they’re transferred from on-paper to online:

  • Application for admission
  • Application for graduation
  • Audio-visual equipment requests
  • Parking permit applications
  • Change of address forms
  • Transcript requests

Some of the “real time” processes that school administration handles also benefit greatly from being transferred from paper to online. For example, the log of pupils entering or leaving school at non-standard hours can be kept online securely, where records can’t be altered and where it’s easier to collect and analyze statistics. 

Take Some of the Load off IT Workers

Choose your form software carefully, and your school IT staff will thank you. If you choose form software with an intuitive user interface, there’s no need to pull IT staff off their projects to write programs that create forms, or to figure out complicated software. 

Happy woman drinking coffee.

With the right form software, the people who handle the forms
can have input into how they’re designed.

The University of Portland started out by asking its IT and web services department to create custom online forms, but it was an expensive and cumbersome proposition. Once they found the right form software, however, they were able to take that task off IT’s plate, create the custom forms they needed, and reap the benefits of moving from paper to online forms quickly.

Save Significantly on Printing Costs

Costs associated with paper-based educational forms go beyond the time spent keeping track of them, filing them, and archiving or destroying them when they’re no longer needed. There’s also the cost of the paper and ink necessary to make them. 

The Visalia Unified School District in California turned to online forms when faced with budgetary pressure. The district, which has 27,000 K-12 students and 2,500 employees at 44 different sites, was able to replace more than 100 paper-based administrative forms and save significant sums of money by doing so.

By transitioning work order requests from paper to electronic form, the district saved $10,000 per year, and that’s just for a single process! The district quickly recouped its investment in form software solely from savings on printing and paper.

A lot can change over the course of a summer, and school systems can make changes that will save impressive amounts of time and money over the coming year by taking outdated paper forms and turning them into customized, easy-to-use online forms that are appreciated by students, parents, and school staff alike. 

PerfectForms is online form software with an intuitive user interface that requires no programming whatsoever. It also comes with an extensive collection of school form templates that make getting started even easier. Best of all, you can try PerfectForms for free by signing up for a trial. PerfectForms also encourages you to contact us at any time if you have questions on transforming yesterday’s clunky, paper-based forms into beautiful, functional, fully customized online forms.

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Does Your CapEx Workflow Need an Update?

Friday, July 12th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Capital expenditures (CapEx) are expenditures on things like machinery, equipment, furniture, IT infrastructure or property that make your business operational and profitable. Expenses qualify as CapEx when their usefulness extends over a period of years. 

CNC bore machine.

A strong, consistent CapEx process ensures resources are used wisely to
help your business increase profits.

A company’s CapEx approval process is important, because major expenditures need to be discussed and approved. But when the CapEx process is manual and paper-based, it is slow, clunky, and prone to errors and mounting frustration. An automated CapEx workflow is necessary for most businesses.

A Typical CapEx Process

Each organization has its own process, but typically someone makes a CapEx request, which must then be approved by several stakeholders. Those stakeholders may be department heads, people in the finance department, or various vice presidents or other leaders. Once the CapEx request has been approved, a purchase order is initiated. The CapEx workflow is completed once the order has been fulfilled and what has been purchased is logged as an asset. 

Keeping Everyone Informed

Multiple people are interested in the progress of a CapEx workflow, especially the person who initiated it. With manual CapEx workflows, it’s hard to keep people informed of the status of the process. That’s another reason why automated workflows make so much sense. With role-based access to workflow status, anyone involved in the process can log in and see the status. Which approval authorities have granted approval? Which have requested more information? With automated workflows all this can be done without endless rounds of phone tag or schlepping from place to place asking around.

Make a Practice Workflow and Test It Thoroughly Before Deploying

Creating an automated CapEx workflow isn’t difficult if you have the right workflow software. Some workflow software includes templates for CapEx that can be modified. Going from a manual to an automated workflow for CapEx doesn’t have to be difficult. Perhaps the most important thing to do is to create a workflow and test it out thoroughly. 

Two happy people using laptops.

Testing workflows thoroughly ensure they perform as expected when you deploy them for use.

Learn what happens when someone enters invalid information or attempts to skip a step by trying it out. Make sure the workflow records who uses the workflow at which steps and when. This makes the workflow auditable, so if there is ever a question about what was done and by whom, it’s easy to find out the answer. Only after the CapEx workflow has been thoroughly tested should it be deployed for use.

Update Your CapEx Workflow Periodically

Just as all business processes evolve, so do CapEx workflows. Suppose the existing workflow requires approval by department heads, but then two departments merge. You would need to modify your CapEx workflow to accommodate this. Over time, the dollar amount that qualifies a purchase as a CapEx purchase may change, and your workflow should reflect this too. Once you have a solid workflow (whether for CapEx or anything else), it’s smart to review it annually to determine if changes should be made to make it more efficient or to accommodate changes to the company.

Automated workflows for capital expenditures make sense for many reasons. They’re faster, more accurate, keep better records, and are easier to audit. Your choice of workflow software makes a difference too. 

PerfectForms is workflow software that allows you to drag and drop workflow elements into place, with no programming required. PerfectForms comes with a CapEx template that you can modify to suit your needs, or you can create one from scratch. We encourage you to watch the PerfectForms demo video and see for yourself how the right workflow software raises efficiency and productivity while reducing costs and errors. 

Great Workflows Help Prevent ‘Shadow Processes’ in Business

Thursday, July 11th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

So-called shadow processes are ways people accomplish tasks that circumvent standard operating procedures. 

Unauthorized maze shortcut.

Doing things differently to circumvent established processes can cause big problems.

Sometimes shadow processes emerge because there is no defined process for accomplishing something. Other times, shadow processes enter the picture when official processes are not well thought-out or are antiquated or needlessly bureaucratic.

While some shadow processes are more detrimental than others, it’s generally best for businesses to keep them to a minimum, and the key to doing that is excellent workflow management. Here’s what you should know about workflows and shadow processes. 

An Example of a Shadow Process

Suppose it’s the first day on the job for a new marketing associate. He needs a laptop with access to certain applications. If there isn’t a clearly defined onboarding workflow for new employees, obtaining the new hire’s laptop can be haphazard. Maybe his new supervisor calls a friend in IT, who knows where an unused laptop is. And maybe that laptop has the software access credentials of a previous marketing associate who has left the company.

While it seems like a straightforward solution to a problem, this type of shadow process can cause numerous problems down the road.

Shadow Processes May Seem Faster, but Ultimately Cause Problems

Suppose the laptop scrounged up by IT wasn’t really “unused,” but had been set aside for a summer intern. When that person arrives on the job, the informal finding a laptop “process” must happen all over again. And suppose the previous marketing associate’s access credentials to the software included personal user information (perhaps because there’s no offboarding process to ensure equipment is wiped when people leave). Serious privacy issues can result.

Automated workflows that lay out processes like onboarding and offboarding step by step may seem unnecessary, or like they slow things down. Ultimately, however, they prevent future problems, saving time, headaches, and money. 

Confusing directions on the floor.

Clearly defined, automated workflows prevent confusion, because the next step is always clear.

Good Workflows and Training Are the Solution to Shadow Processes

Creating automated workflows for regularly used business processes can prevent shadow processes, especially if the workflow software enables creation of sleek, efficient workflows complete with notifications and alerts. A new employee onboarding process can have the assignment of a laptop as a standard step for job positions that require them, so it can be waiting on the new employee’s desk on day one.

Ensuring that automated workflows do what they’re supposed to and keep shadow processes to a minimum also requires that people are trained in how to use the workflows. Taking the time up front to demonstrate how to use automated workflows and to allow users to practice in a safe environment where they can learn from their mistakes helps workflow users understand why the workflows exist and why it’s important to use them rather than making up their own processes.

Processes are Inherent in Businesses

Every business has processes, whether they’re documented and optimized or not. When businesses don’t take the time to standardize and streamline workflows, they are less efficient, and wasted time is wasted money. The shadow processes that crop up either because standardized workflows don’t exist or because existing workflows are inefficient can cause multiple problems long term.

PerfectForms is workflow software that makes workflow creation and workflow management fast and straightforward. No programming is required, so workflow creators can drag and drop elements into place. It’s easy to test out workflows thoroughly before deploying them to the workforce, and it’s easy to modify them when needs change. 

Don’t let shadow processes slow down your business or cause confusion. Automated workflows aren’t just for big enterprises, and they don’t require complex programming. PerfectForms invites you to watch our demo video so you can see the tremendous value of sleek, automated workflows. And we encourage you to contact us any time if you have questions.

Online Forms: Why Field Labels Are More Important Than You Think

Wednesday, July 10th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Online forms are information gathering tools. Poorly designed forms make the process harder than it has to be, but well-designed forms help information flow freely.

Happy woman using a laptop while lying on the floor.

Great online forms help the flow of information.

Think of the online forms you create as a two-way conversation between the form and the user. The clearer and more concise the form side of the "conversation" is, the more pleasant and productive the experience is for the user.

As important as it is to make the form the optimum length and to use it to ask for the exact information you need, equally important is how easy your form is to complete. 

Great Form Functionality Is as Essential as Form Content

Companies may spend significant time determining the best length for a form, and the best information to require. But if the form is visually confusing or cluttered, potential form users may decide they don’t want to bother, or they may abandon their effort before they’re done. 

Field labels must be located in close proximity to the field where the user inputs information, and there must be no question about which label goes with which blank field. Think about a form where field labels are placed on top of blank fields. It’s in close proximity to it’s assigned blank, but if the user partially completes the form and then leaves for a few minutes, they could be confused when they return. Does “City” correspond to the blank above or below the label? 

It’s usually clearest when field labels are to the left of their blanks, in close proximity. In fact, this is a preferred layout for forms on mobile devices, where a single-column format is easiest to navigate. 

Inline Field Labels May or May Not Be Best

Some form designers put field instructions inside the blank field itself. Then, when the user starts typing, the instructions automatically disappear. But this may not always be the best way to ensure form fields are completed correctly. 

Confused boy on the phone.

Inline field labels aren’t always the best choice.

For one thing, these labels can by tiny and hard to read, especially if someone is completing the form on a smartphone. And erroneous typing in a blank also makes the prompt disappear, so a user may not know right away they have made a mistake. Field prompts outside of the blanks rather than inline ensure the instructions for each blank are always visible. 

Avoid Acronyms and Other Confusing Prompts

Do you remember the first time you entered credit card information into a web shopping site and encountered a blank for “CVV?” Most people don’t automatically know what that refers to, so e-commerce sites commonly allow you to hover over the label to pop up an explanation that CVV is the three-digit number on the back of a credit card. Wherever possible, avoid using jargon or acronyms that the form user may not know, unless you also offer optional “hover” or pop-up help.

The labels that accompany blank fields in your online forms may seem almost like an afterthought, but they shouldn’t be. Their position, readability, and clarity all make a difference in the form user’s experience, and problems with any of these can lead to form abandonment. Test forms thoroughly before deploying them, asking for feedback on form usability, and you can avoid confusing form users.

PerfectForms is form software that allows users to create fully customized online forms by simply dragging and dropping form elements into place. You can easily change fonts, colors, and layouts so that your forms look great and make the user experience as smooth and easy as possible. 

PerfectForms allows you to give your attention to both the content your forms ask for as well as the labels and other visual prompts you need to serve your users best. Have a look at the demo video and see for yourself how PerfectForms helps you create the online forms that perform exactly as you need them to.

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How Defining Task Dependencies Improves Forms and Workflows

Friday, July 5th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

The foremost principle behind creating effective and efficient workflows is that complex tasks must be broken down into discrete steps.

Step by step cubes

Defining processes by breaking them down into steps helps you spot
inefficiencies and envision new ways of accomplishing the steps.

It sounds easy, and in many cases it is. But what if some steps depend on the start or completion of other steps? And what if one step involves the initiation of a whole new workflow? Here’s how task dependencies work. Understanding them can help you design your forms and workflows to minimize unforeseen issues and get them into operation more quickly.

Finish to Start Dependencies

Finish to start dependencies are the most common types of task dependencies your workflow software will deal with. It means that one step or task cannot begin until the preceding task finishes. A cake makes a good analogy here. You can’t begin frosting the cake until the preceding step (baking the cake) is finished. In other words, you have to finish this to start that.

Start to Start Dependencies

With a start to start dependency, a second task doesn’t begin until the preceding task has started. That preceding task doesn’t necessarily have to finish, but it must have begun. Staying with the cake example, you may find that the most efficient workflow is to make the frosting while the cake is baking. Therefore, the baking must begin before the frosting-making begins.

Finish to Finish Dependencies

Sometimes one task cannot finish until another task finishes. The two tasks may or may not be done simultaneously. In other words, the second task may finish any time after the first task finishes. Suppose there are some finishing decorations to our cake that we can’t finish until the cake is delivered. We have a finish to finish dependency between “decorate cake” and “deliver cake.” If the “decorate cake” task is finished, then we know that the “deliver cake” task has been finished. 

Start to Finish Dependencies

Person sending an email.

You can start the billing process before other tasks, but you generally
won’t send the invoice until some later step in the overall process is completed. 

Start to finish dependencies are trickier. The first task doesn’t finish until sometime after the second task starts. Say we’re making our cake to order. We start the billing process when the customer places the order. But we don’t complete the billing process until after the cake is on its way to its destination. In other words, once the “deliver cake” task begins, the earlier “bill customer” task can finish. 

Here is a summary table.

Name of DependencyDefinitionExample
Finish to startStep 2 begins when step 1 concludesYou can’t frost the cake until baking the cake is done
Start to startStep 2 begins when step 1 beginsYou can make the frosting while the cake is baking
Finish to finishStep 2 can finish any time after step 1 finishesYou finish final decorations after the cake is delivered
Start to finishStep 1 doesn’t finish until sometime after step 2 startsYou initiate billing for the cake first, but don’t finish billing until delivery of the cake begins

Parent-Child Workflows

Parent-child workflow dependencies are simply when one workflow kicks off another workflow. The child workflow won’t be initiated unless the parent workflow is happening. Our start to start dependency listed above could be viewed as a parent-child dependency: putting the cake in the oven to bake kicks off the workflow of making the frosting. 

When you understand the relationships between steps in a process, it’s easier to time them for maximum efficiency. And when your workflow software has an intuitive user interface, dragging and dropping discrete task elements into place and testing them is easy. 

PerfectForms offers just such a drag-and-drop user interface, so you can create the most efficient custom workflows without having to program. You can find out more about how it works by having a look at some of our training videos, especially “Process Planning” and “Workflow.” And if you have questions, we encourage you to contact us at any time.

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Use Radio Buttons and Check Boxes to Optimize Online Forms

Thursday, July 4th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Creating effective online forms is both an art and a science.

Man using a computer

Effective online forms must look good, and they must perform tasks flawlessly.

Form creators must gather the information they need, while avoiding overloading form users. They must make forms brief, engaging, nice looking, and easy to use if they want to get people to complete them. 

One of the main reasons people abandon forms is that they’re too long or that they require more text input than is reasonable for a mobile device. And since more people fill out forms on mobile devices, it’s essential that online forms minimize typed input while looking good on the smaller screens of mobile devices. 

Two ways that creators of online forms can maximize form engagement is by strategic use of radio buttons and check boxes. Here’s what they are and when they’re the right choice.

Radio Buttons: What They Are and When to Use Them

Radio buttons are selection indicators in a list of options in an online form. Before completion, they look like empty circles. When the form user selects an option, the circle is filled with a dot, and the other options are de-selected. This means that users may only choose one selection from the list. 

Radio buttons make sense when you need form users to choose one and only one option from a list. They’re simple, fast, and effective, whether the user is in a desktop environment or is using a tablet or phone. 

Check Boxes: When They’re the Most Appropriate Choice

Check boxes are empty squares that can be toggled to be checked or unchecked. The difference between check boxes and radio buttons is that check boxes allow users to select more than one option if they want. In other words, checking one box doesn’t de-select other boxes. 

Check boxes make sense when form users can provide more than one response. For example, in a survey form, you may ask users what their top three reasons for visiting your website are. Check boxes allow them to check three boxes, whereas radio buttons would limit them to only one. 

Man using a phone

With radio buttons and check boxes, filling out forms on mobile devices is easier. 

Drop-Down Menus Are Good, but Radio Buttons and Check Boxes Are Better

Many online form creators use drop-down menus to help people make selections in online forms without typing. Users simply click or tap an arrow to be presented with a list of choices. And if the selection list is lengthy, then drop-down menus make sense. But in cases where the list of choices is relatively brief – say less than seven or eight choices – then radio buttons and check boxes get the same results and are easier for users to engage with. 

People Like to Avoid Typing, Especially on Mobile

Strategically using radio buttons and check boxes in your online forms is great for mobile device users. Without a real keyboard, even the most accomplished mobile keyboard “swipers” can rapidly grow tired of entering text data – even with predictive text. Radio buttons and check boxes allow people to answer questions quickly and see clearly what choices they have made. They can be helpful for ensuring that form users actually complete forms and don’t abandon them in frustration. 

PerfectForms allows form creators to include radio buttons, check boxes, and drop-down menus in the forms they design. These options help form creators collect and analyze the data they need while being confident that erroneous entries are kept to a minimum. 

With PerfectForms’ drag-and-drop user interface, form creators can make forms look and perform exactly as they need them to for users in desktop environments or on mobile devices. And no programming is required. If you’re interested in form software that puts you in control and offers the power and flexibility you need, we invite you to watch our demo video. And if have questions, feel free to contact us at any time.  

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4 Trends That Will Shape the Future of Automated Workflows

Thursday, June 6th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Automated workflows themselves represent a long-term business trend.

Business gears concept

Workflows help when there are a lot of moving parts to manage.

But within this overarching trend, smaller trends come and go, dependent on business cycles, economic pressures, trendy new products, and other factors. As we move closer to the year 2020, it’s obvious how automated workflows have become established as a business necessity. Equally obvious is that automation and workflow trends evolve based on changes in the overall business climate. Following are four trends that are shaping the future of automated workflows. 

1. Greater Emphasis on Customer Experience

As soon as people started using apps for everyday personal tasks like booking hotel rooms, hailing a ride, or asking for customer service help, there was no turning back. Expectations among consumers have risen along with the number of apps they use to enhance their customer experience.

Businesses have had to upgrade their customer service processes to keep up with consumer expectations. The workflows that power customer service departments must be powerful, and they must increase business transparency in regard to customer relationships. Customer experience is a strong competitive differentiator at the moment, and businesses that don’t adapt their automated workflows accordingly will lose out.

2. More Attention to New Employee Onboarding

Currently, the labor market is tight. It has always been expensive for companies to replace employees who leave, and that problem is highlighted when it’s harder to find replacement talent. The quality of the new employee onboarding experience is a determinant in how likely an employee is to stay with the job.

At the same time, new employee onboarding must be accomplished before new people can get completely up to speed with their responsibilities. An employee onboarding process that is maximally efficient, and that demonstrates that the company values their new recruits helps ensure a positive first impression. This in turn reduces the chances of new employees jumping ship at the first appealing offer.

Employee encouragement

Companies must make every effort to retain employees in a tight labor market.

3. More Remote Workers and Dispersed Teams

Business teams may be scattered across time zones, and more companies than ever use remote workers rather than a traditional office-based setup. Advantages include lack of geographic constraints when putting together teams, and benefits to the employees who are able to work from home.

It’s not always easy carrying out complex processes with dispersed teams, and for that reason workflow software must have features that facilitate it. Workflows may take place within a single office, or across state or international borders, and workflow software must be up to the task, offering mobile-friendly interfaces, and rock-solid dependability.

4. Smaller IT Departments

IT departments in the companies that have them are shrinking. Much of this is due to increasing dependence on cloud-based software. With fewer on-site servers running software, business don’t need as many IT specialists to keep it running optimally.

But this also means that tasks that may have fallen to the IT department before – like the programming involved in creating automated workflows – must be accomplished in other ways. Fortunately, modern workflow software allows creation of workflows without the need for programming. These “no code” workflow solutions make automated workflows accessible to even small businesses with minimal IT expertise.

PerfectForms is workflow software that is more than ready to meet the needs of today’s business environment. It can be operated in the cloud or on the premises, and creating customized forms and workflows requires no programming whatsoever. Whether you want to build a better employee onboarding process, up your customer service game, or flawlessly bring together a remote team, PerfectForms can help. We encourage you to watch our demo video, or to contact us at any time with your questions.