How Online Forms Improve Collaboration and Reduce the IT Gap

Written by Brianna Class on January 27, 2014

Posted in Form Hacks

Digital marketing in higher education includes working with all departments to provide them with the marketing collateral they need. If you’re in charge of creating all of the forms for each department, you might experience a lot of frustration from the ever-growing backlog you’ve accumulated.

Backlog not only leaves you with frustration, but it leaves other departments frustrated. Building custom forms takes a lot of time and effort, especially for multiple departments. Unfortunately, this can lead to departments not asking you for the forms they need because they know they’ll just be added to the waiting list. When departments are left with this frustration they might just forget about the form, which leads to lost data.

I like to believe that I am technologically savvy, but when I started working for a tech company, I realized that there was a lot more to learn. I know the product well, but I don’t know it like the developers who created it do. When there is a bug problem, the sales team doesn’t try to fix the problem. The development team fixes the issue.

So let’s say one of your departments decides to take matters into their own hands and build their own form so they don’t have to go through the hassle of the waiting list. Chances are, this person is not a pro at form building because it’s not what they work with every day. This can often lead to fragmenting your brand. Your brand identifies your company – your school. Students easily detect brand fragmentation and are often turned off by the inconsistency, leading to loss of interest.

There are several ways that Formstack can help you reduce the IT gap and improve collaboration amongst your teams:

1. Avoid lost data. – Let’s say you are hosting an alumni breakfast during your school’s homecoming weekend. You know that the alumni will be on campus for the biggest weekend of the year, so why not bring them together in one place? Online forms are a fast and easy way to collect a RSVP. This is also a great way to connect and send follow up thank you’s after the event, since your data will be in one place. But, if that form is never built or sent out because of workflow backlog then you won’t be able to connect with your audience. There is no way to guesstimate how many people will show up for the event, which may cost you. No data capture is data lost – both for the event and for your overall reputation.

Formstack enables you to engage and connect with your audience in an easy format. You will be able to use your existing email marketing tools and integrate them with your forms. This allows you to set up automated updates, thank you’s, or news related to the event. It’s also a great way to add people to your newsletter subscription list.

2. Avoid brand fragmentation. – Not everyone has a designer’s eye, and sometimes that is easily noticeable when forms don’t match. When people observe inconsistency in your brand, they may be turned off and lose interest in your school. Formstack helps make this process avoidable and a lot easier! As the Digital Marketing Director, you’ll be able to create one branded form theme and share it with your departments. Then, they can build the forms they need using Formstack and apply that theme. This keeps everything uniform and prevents brand fragmentation.

3. Enhance your workflow. – People don’t want to wait a long period of a time for a response. If you delay the follow-up process, your audience will become disengaged and uninterested in continuing the relationship. However, we know that sometimes you cannot follow up with a contact until you’ve gotten approval from someone else. Some data needs to run through the entire chain of command before getting approved or denied, leading to disengagement and frustration.

Approval Workflow puts you in control of approving or denying a submission. Formstack’s Approval Workflow feature also allows you to use email approvals, which allows approvers to approve or deny right from their inbox. So, there’s no hassle of signing into an external system in this process to get the job done.

Let’s say you build a request form that will collect information based on a student’s need to add/drop a class. This type of request usually needs approved by several different faculty members. So if the student is ineligible to drop a class, the request can be denied early in the workflow by the appropriate faculty member, which eliminates unnecessary involvement. You can choose to use Email Logic to generate an automatic response that will be sent to the student to let them know their request status. This keeps students engaged in the process and minimizes frustration for everyone involved.

How do you use online forms to improve internal collaboration?  Would you like help with a certain roadblock or digital engagement issue? Let’s talk in the comments below!