The other day when I was filling up a form, I had a sense of deja vu. It was like I had filled the form before. The fields seemed the same.. well, almost. I had filled a similar form before, but that was the original application, and this was a renewal form. It was great that the service (I was using), had gone paperless by getting online, but they hadn’t taken the effort to automate certain processes.
The thing about service companies, such as investment firms, (or for that matter legal firms) is that there is a lot of paperwork to be managed. So it’s a great thing to convert forms into e-forms, and save information in a database. But asking repeated information from clients, not only affects user experience on the site, but can also be prone to error.
Embrace Form Automation: Use Gravity Forms Plugin
Form Automation isn’t just about creating documents, it’s about processing and managing them as well.
Let’s understand what usually happens on a service company’s site. For the sake of an example, let’s consider we have an Investment Firm.
- A visitor logs on to the site and registers for an account.
- He is interested in a policy you offer and decides to apply.
- He is offered a form, where he has to fill his personal details, job details, bank details, etc.
- A copy of the policy then has to be sent to him, which he will have to sign and then re-submit.
- To apply for another policy, he would probably have to repeat a few of the mentioned steps.
At every step, there is a form involved. And the entirety of the steps, is a workflow. To provide all of this on your WordPress site, you could definitely use the Gravity Forms Plugin.
Why Gravity Forms Plugin
The reasons why I recommend the Gravity Forms plugin are:
- Drag&Drop Form Builder: The form builder plugin provides drag-and-drop options to create any kind of form you need. It has options to create sections, conditionally display fields, dynamically populate data, multipage form creation, etc. You can use it, to create the registration or application forms, on your site.
- Data Saved in Database: The Gravity Forms stores form data in the database. This makes data easily accessible for processing.
- Easy Customization: The plugin provides you a detailed set of hooks to add custom validation, notifications, data processing, etc.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at the features yourself.
Create Multiple Forms
Instead of creating a single form, a wiser option would be to logically divide information into multiple forms. This can provide a user the flexibility, to fill the data as and when needed. Also, this can help you segregate information (similar to database normalization) so that duplication of data is limited.
For example, at the time of registration, the form displayed should accept only a user’s personal details. A policy application form should not ask for the personal details again (nor should it auto-fill the information). Instead, only relevant fields specific to the application should be displayed. The information provided will be connected to the user, using the username or his/her id.
To improve user experience, policy renewal activities should be a single step process. This would involve some custom coding, (because you will have to process and validate information in the backend), but it can reduce manual steps and the possibility of an error.
Share Documents: Using PDF AutoFill
When forms are involved, documents will be present as well.
In a service company, there will always be a need to share or exchange documents, whether it is to mail a user an application document or to forward a request internally (to another department). This is the main reason, why information is replicated across forms. To make it easier to convert form data to PDF document.
But instead, you can use the PDF AutoFill Functionality to consolidate information across forms, to create a single (or multiple) PDF document(s). It works this way, for every Gravity Form on your site, you will have form fields. You can map these fields (from one or more forms), to fields in a PDF Template. This template will then be used to create the needed PDF form.
The PDF AutoFill solution allows the following:
- Accepts multiple PDF document Templates: You can create different PDF Templates and upload them.
- Options to map multiple PDF Templates to Gravity Forms: The PDF templates could be mapped to the Gravity Forms on your site. You could map more than one template to a single form, or map multiple forms to a single template.
- AutoFill based on Fields Mapped: To fill the data from one or more Gravity Forms to the PDF document, you will need to map the form fields to the fields in the document.
- Create Custom Email Templates: You can create custom email templates which can be used to send out notifications to users, with the attached documents. You can even use the auto-email functionality, to send out emails with attached documents.
For example, you can map the username and address fields (from Registration form), and policy application number, validity, amount details (from Policy Application form) to a single PDF template, to create the Policy Application Document, as a PDF, which can be then emailed to the user. The user can then, sign the application form, and send it back if required.
The PDF Autofill functionality thus is a vital part of the Forms Automation process on your website, especially in cases where documents are involved. The solution provides the following advantages:
- It allows you to create modular forms, without the need to duplicate any data.
- You can create multiple document templates for different applications on your site.
- You can map document data to different email templates thus improving user experience.
- The auto-email feature allows you to send notifications to users and site administrators as well.
With this functionality in place, every aspect related to form processing and form data management is automated.
When implementing form automation for your business, it is important to limit data duplication, by setting up a manageable process, and automating several steps whenever possible. The Gravity Forms plugin along with the PDF Autofill functionality, can surely meet your business needs.
You may also Like to Read: How to Set Up an Affiliate Program Using Gravity Forms