What comes to mind when you’re asked to fill out a form?

There’s a pretty good chance that visions of paper forms cross your mind — you know, the ones that require a pen and a smooth, hard surface to fill out.

Paper forms have been around for a long time and are still a go-to solution even when software tools are quickly changing how work gets done.

Why You Should Use Online Forms

Online forms are disrupting this tried-and-true method by helping businesses collect the information they need and simultaneously connecting it to other software platforms built into their workflow.

Beyond reducing the need for manual data entry and follow-up emails, online forms eliminate the cost of printing, mailing, storing, organizing, and destroying their traditional paper alternatives.

When you’re dealing with paper forms, it’s easy for valuable information to get lost in the shuffle and buried under the other tasks that land on your desk. Online forms allow you to gather actionable data as well as manage, store, organize, and customize that information in a single place, and easily share it with others. You can even embed online forms on your company’s website, share a link on your social media channels, or, in some cases, also create a fillable PDF.

In this article, we’ll show you how various teams in your organization can use online forms instead of traditional paper documents that can easily be lost, misplaced, or thrown away.

Be it HR, Quality Assurance, Support, or Marketing & Sales teams, we’ve covered the best online forms they’d need for everyday work. To make it easy for you, we’ve added different types of online forms (with examples) for each of the teams. Pick up what suits your team best and start creating online forms right away.

Online Forms for Marketing & Sales Teams

At a time when people aren’t willing to settle for the status quo, the race is on to create products, services, and experiences that are better, more meaningful, more efficient, less expensive, and more user-friendly.

Even if you nail down a great idea and have something to show for it, those efforts may come to naught if your company isn’t getting the word out or actively reaching new customers.

Word of mouth can only go so far, and relying on people to provide their contact information in person — whether it’s at a trade show or in your shop — will help you stay in contact with only some of your customers.

Online forms can streamline your marketing team’s workflow by providing an easy way for customers, clients, partners, and new leads to get ahold of you.

Since online forms are customizable, you can deploy them quickly to achieve a number of objectives in your company’s marketing plan, from gathering more email subscribers to collecting payments from customers.

Here are a few examples of how online forms can help your marketing team drive more users to your company’s goods, services, or products:

  • Email Opt-in Form for Website

So you think you’ve nailed down a great marketing strategy?

If you’ve created a sequence of attention-grabbing emails and have some engaging newsletters queued up, then you’re already off to a pretty good start.

There are, however, some important questions that should always be top of mind: Who’s receiving your emails, how are you collecting their contact information, and where are you collecting it?

If you’re relying on in-person interactions or cold emails from curious visitors, you may be missing out on opportunities to reach even more people.

Online forms allow you to create brief yet effective data-collection tools that gather contact information from people who want to know more about what you offer. That means you don’t have to deal with printing paper forms, searching for pens at the moment, entering data manually, and resolving errors that can pop up at any time.

Many online form builders, including JotForm, allow you to embed opt-in forms on your website and share any collected data with other productivity or email marketing automation platforms. This unintrusive process provides a discreet way to collect the information you need, obtain explicit permission to send visitors future emails, and convert curious or casual visitors into loyal customers.

There is, however, an important caveat: People don’t like to deal with spam and may unsubscribe from your email list if you share information that isn’t important to them.

Below is a sample Opt-In Form template that you can start using from the JotForm gallery here:

Opt-in forms are generally simple but should clearly explain how a visitor’s email address, physical address, or other contact information will be used. You can do this by including:

  • How you’ll use their contact information and what you’ll share with them
  • A guarantee that any contact information you collect won’t be used for any other purpose
  • A checklist that lets people choose what kind of marketing emails they’d like to receive, such as newsletters, sneak peeks of new products, productivity tips, or exclusive deals
  • Lead Generation Contact Forms

There’s little doubt that responding to questions and gathering input from people who use or interact with your products can yield valuable insights. That means your website should offer a seamless way for people to bend your ear whenever they have questions or want to give their two cents.

Providing an email address or phone number can be helpful, but it requires people to leave your website. This extra step in the process can also be a turnoff for existing customers and other website visitors who want to go about their business and avoid sending an email or making a phone call.

Placing contact forms on your website can provide a frictionless alternative for people who want to reach out and either help you improve or get more information about what you offer. Since most online form builders allow you to embed forms, all you need to do is copy the HTML code for your contact form and paste it into your content management system.

Form builders allow users to create personalized autoresponders that are sent immediately after someone fills out and submits one of your forms. This makes it easy to build some rapport with your audience, keep them in the loop, tailor your message to their unique needs, and even provide links to other resources that you have on hand.

Below is a sample Contact Form template that you can start using from the JotForm gallery here:

Contact forms generally serve as the main way for customers — or prospective ones — to communicate with you, so it’s important to always put your best foot forward, gather enough information, and respond appropriately. To that end, your contact form should ask for:

  • Identifying information, such as a person’s full name or username
  • A person’s contact information, such as an email address, physical address, or phone number, so you can follow up with them
  • A detailed reason for their inquiry in a fillable form field

Pro Tip:  Sync collected data from Contact Forms with other software solutions, such as CRM or email marketing tools, that make up your existing workflow. Even if online form builders don’t have native integrations with the software solutions your team uses, third-party integration tools, such as Automate.io, can make the connection happen so you don’t need to resort to manual data entry or fret over mistakes.

Connect JotForm to CRM Apps:

Sync JotForm data to your Email Marketing Apps:

  • Online Payment Forms

Even after customers have seen what you and your competitors are offering, securing a sale can hinge on whether you have a seamless buying process in place.

Online forms not only make it easy for you to sell your products and services but also to collect money from customers through integrations with third-party processors, such as Square, PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.Net.

Since you can collect money directly through online forms embedded on your website, customers don’t need to be redirected elsewhere to complete their payments.

Any payment form that you create should be detailed so that customers know what they’re paying for, how much they’ll be charged, and what options are available, especially when it comes to shipping products or paying for services.

Below is a sample Payment Form template that you can start using from the JotForm gallery here:

Although the complexity of your payment forms will depend on the products or services you’re selling, these data-collection tools should include:

  • Customer’s name
  • Customer’s billing address
  • Customer’s contact information, such as a phone number or email address
  • The name of the person or company receiving your product or service
  • Customer’s preferred shipping address
  • The amount paid for any products or services
  • The quantity and details, such as the name, SKU number, brand, size, color, or style number, for any purchased products
  • A brief description of any purchased services
  • A breakdown of any discounts applied to a customer’s order
  • A breakdown and description of any taxes that customers must pay

Pro Tip: Integrations with team communication tools, such as Slack, allow you to get notified when someone places an order and makes payment so you can process it quickly. You can also set up personalized autoresponders that’ll allow you to keep customers in the loop about their order.

Online Forms for HR Teams

Recruitment platforms are great for posting jobs, collecting applications, and filtering and organizing that information. Still, in many cases, you’ll need the help of another software solution to follow up with candidates, collect more information from them, and schedule interviews.

Recruitment platforms and applicant tracking systems also tend to be expensive, so your hiring costs can add up over time if you’re using multiple software solutions.

Online forms are cost-effective alternatives that allow your human resources team to gather information from interested applicants and manage it all in a single platform.

Here are just a few ways that online forms can help your human resources team:

  • Online Job Application Forms

Attracting great talent and securing quality employees for your organization is a process that starts with creating a standout job advertisement for getting the word out about an open position.

Once you’ve set that up, you need to find a solution that makes it easy for job seekers to apply for a position and allows you to manage their submitted information. Online forms allow you to do just that.

The job application forms you create should be detailed and provide enough information to determine whether someone has the right qualifications and skills for an open position.

Below is a sample Job Application template that you can start using from the JotForm gallery here:

Apart from gathering an applicant’s contact information, it’s always good to ask for information that’ll help your team determine whether someone may be a good fit. Some data points could be:

  • Preferred start date
  • Employment history
  • List of certifications
  • Educational background
  • Cover letters, curriculum vitae/resumes, or work samples (which can be submitted through file upload form fields)
  • Available start date
  • Links to online portfolios
  • Proficiency level for skills
  • Online Forms for Candidate Screening

After you’ve filtered through the deluge of job applications that come in, following up with promising candidates is an important but often meticulous task. That’s because you must send candidates an email, schedule a brief interview, call them up, take notes during the conversation, compare your notes from all the interviews, and identify a group of finalists. This process can take a lot of time and divert your attention from other pressing or time-sensitive tasks.

Instead of scheduling a follow-up interview over the phone, you could send an online form to promising job candidates in an email. This strategy saves you time, lets candidates provide thoughtful responses to your questions, and helps you make an informed decision based on the quality of their answers.

The questions in your form screen should allow you to determine whether a candidate is a good fit for a specific team and the company as a whole.

Depending on the role, most of your questions should focus on assessing a mixture of soft and hard skills. More technical jobs, meanwhile, tend to include questions that gauge whether candidates can use their knowledge to solve common issues or problems. Online forms also allow you to weed out candidates who don’t want to invest much of their time in the hiring process.

Below is a sample Job Screening Form template that you can start using from the JotForm gallery here:

  • Forms for Customized Offer Letters

All of your hard work of looking for talent has led to this point.

After ushering candidates through rounds of interviews, including likely onsite visits, the final step is here: It’s time to send a formal job offer.

It’s a satisfying time for you, and it’s certainly an exciting one for the person who will be offered a job. But to make it official, you need to send an offer letter that outlines your company’s terms of employment, benefits, and policies, among other things.

In the past, you would’ve had to turn an offer letter into a PDF and email it to a prospective employee. That person, in turn, would need to use a PDF signing tool and send the offer letter back to you. In some cases, candidates may have even had to print up their offer letter, sign it with a pen, scan it, and email the document back to you.

Online forms can streamline the process by allowing you to repurpose information already submitted by candidates, create customizable PDF documents, and save a template for future use. This reduces the amount of manual data entry you need to do and makes the job offer process easier for everyone.

You can start creating personalized offer letters like the one below from the JotForm gallery here:

Since a job offer marks the start of an employee’s relationship with a company, these documents must be very clear and should include:

  • The job title
  • Employment status (full-time, part-time, or contract)
  • An exempt or non-exempt employee classification
  • Expected duties and responsibilities
  • All types of compensation, including commission, bonuses, stock options, etc.
  • Length of employment (for contract jobs)
  • The hiring manager’s name and job title
  • The company’s policies or where to access them
  • An at-will employment statement (if applicable)
  • A confidentiality agreement and noncompete clause for outside work
  • Any contingencies, such as background checks, prior to employment

Pro Tip: Even if you rely on other productivity tools to keep your workflow running smoothly, integrations built into online form builder apps or third-party integration tools, such as Automate.io, can share your collected data with other software platforms. This means you don’t have to manually enter information from applicants and candidates into other platforms or worry about making errors in the process.

Online Forms for Support & IT Teams

Advances in technology have undoubtedly changed the way we access information and complete everyday tasks.

Although there are fewer chances for human error to come into play, technology isn’t perfect and can be a bit finicky at times. That’s where your company’s IT or technical support team can swoop in to save the day.

But calling your company’s technical support team for help can take time and add to their neverending backlog of requests for help. And it’s often difficult for support teams to document what work was done and address any follow-up issues that may arise. That, in turn, can make the entire troubleshooting experience frustrating for your support teams, customers, and employees.

With online forms, technical support teams can tackle multiple support requests quickly and prioritize work based on complexity, difficulty, or urgency. Online forms also make it easier to look up past requests when support teams need to step in and provide additional assistance.

  • IT & Support Request Forms

Although there are software solutions specifically built to help companies field, organize, and prioritize help tickets, buying a subscription can place a heavy burden on your budget, especially when you can repurpose existing tools to fit your needs.

Online forms can help you manage your support request system and save you some money in the process. This strategy is particularly helpful if you have a small or budding business and don’t have enough support demand to justify using another specialized software solution.

Since IT or technical support teams need adequate information to diagnose, troubleshoot, and test issues, support request forms should ask detailed questions and provide enough space for customers or employees to explain what’s happening.

Here’s a sample support request form template you can start using right away:

That means support request forms should generally capture the following data points:

  • Contact information, such as name, phone number, or email address
  • Where the issue is occurring within your company’s range of services, products, or operations
  • When the specific problem occurred
  • A summary of the issue at hand
  • Supplemental information to test potential issues, such as screenshots, links, or types of devices used

Online Forms for QA Teams

It’s no secret that businesses must offer innovative solutions, uphold promises, provide positive experiences, and produce quality products or services to stand out among competitors.

To stay relevant and ahead of the game, you should have safeguards in place that ensure people are receiving products and services that are up to snuff. If you don’t check your products and services regularly for defects or inefficiencies, this could undercut your efforts to create positive experiences for customers.

Quality assurance teams can tackle these challenges by investigating complaints, troubleshooting issues, and working directly with people in your organization to develop proactive solutions.

These teams take meticulous notes to document issues and develop recommendations for improvements. Rather than fumbling with paper forms that can get lost or damaged, inspectors and other field workers can use online forms to streamline their workflow.

  • Quality Control & Inspection Forms

Quality assurance teams work with customers to understand their needs or concerns and share these findings to improve a company’s operations.

Many quality assurance teams rely on paper forms to collect vital inspection information in areas where there is spotty or no internet access because online forms rely on a stable internet connection to load properly, gather data, and save all of the information that’s collected.

But with JotForm’s offline forms, inspectors and other field workers can pull up forms, fill them out, and submit the data they collect. Because the information is automatically synced to their online form accounts once a stable internet connection is available, field workers can focus on their work instead of keeping track of their collected data.

Below is a sample quality inspection form template you can use from the JotForm Gallery here:

The quality control data you need to gather will largely depend on your industry and any regulatory requirements you must follow. There are, however, a few key fields that you should include in any quality control form:

  • A customer’s identifying information, including business addresses, telephone numbers, emails, and proprietary account numbers
  • An inspector’s identification or credentials, including addresses, telephone numbers, emails, and license or certification numbers, so you can follow up with any questions
  • Your business information, including addresses, telephone numbers, emails, and license or certification numbers, so customers or inspectors have it for their records
  • Detailed product or service information, such as purchase dates, lot numbers, work order numbers, inspection dates, measurements, types, models, and specifications
  • Space for notes so customers or inspectors can outline complex or specific issues
  • A checklist of a product’s specific parts or aspects (This portion of a quality control form varies widely by industry, but the questions should be specific enough for you to collect feedback and data for analysis. Tip: This can be presented as a checkbox or a multiple-choice question field on a form.)
  • Signature fields to certify that customers or inspectors have conducted quality checks

Conclusion

Paper forms have stood the test of time and are still widely used to collect information, but that doesn’t mean they’re the most effective or efficient tools out there. Teams in your organization juggle important tasks and responsibilities each day, so it’s easy for paper forms to get lost in the shuffle. Manual data entry also takes time away from more important work and opens the door to human error.

Online forms are versatile and powerful data-collection tools that can benefit people throughout your organization, from human resources to quality assurance teams.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, online forms streamline your data-collection process, work with the software solutions you’re already using, and help teams collect data in an organized way. Give online forms a try today, and see how these software tools are disrupting the way organizations worldwide collect the data they need.

Author

A content writer at JotForm, who is passionate about solving problems, disrupting perceptions, and helping people become more productive. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling the world, learning about new cultures, and navigating his way through museums. You can reach Darin through his contact form.

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