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DATA · 

GUIDE · 

8 MINUTES

Forms: Data Collection Made Simple

 
CORMAC O'SULLIVANPIGGY

What are Forms?

Well, they’re just forms. They’re a simple but effective way of gathering information in a predetermined format. This means that the information you collect is more readily convertible into insights when it’s “clean” data or more organized.


There are many different types of forms used within businesses. There are lead generation forms, inquiry forms, application forms, support forms, request forms, research forms… the list goes on.

Beneath it all, they’re just forms. They’re merely a list of questions for you to ask employees or customers in order to fill gaps in your data. You can use these questionnaires or forms to track spending habits, bulk up customer profiles, even do constructive market research.

How Does this Affect Me?

Piggy clients will soon be able to use form templates or create custom forms from their dashboard. Let’s take an example of how this could work.

Mike is the owner of a delicatessen franchise and wants to know how successful it could be if he were to introduce artisan wine and beer to his product assortment. Now, if Mike were just your average business owner, he would probably start by doing some basic market research, checking what other delicatessen owners also provide alcoholic beverages, how well they’re doing, the market size and more.

But Mike isn’t just your average business owner. He’s developed a loyalty program with Piggy, so he can go directly to his dashboard and create a form to measure this. An example form could ask the customer names and other basic identifying information, along with a question on whether or not they drink wine or beer, how frequently they do so, even something as straightforward as how likely they are to buy artisan wine and beer from Mike.

You can be as specific or general as you want to - that’s the beauty. Wondering how you can create forms to take your customer insights to the next level? It’s simple - simply choose from your custom attributes when creating the form and how you’d like that custom attribute measured.

How Can I Get Started?

Unsure of how to measure things or how to get started with forms? Don’t be. Forms are nothing to be scared of. We’ve all filled them out, whether they’ve been online or otherwise. You can choose to measure things using numbers, intervals, open form, email addresses, phone numbers - anything you can think of, really.

Have something you want to measure but you don’t know how? Simply create it as a custom attribute and then it will show as an option when creating a form.

Let’s take the example of Mike again. Mike really wants to measure the likelihood of people buying wine from his delicatessen, but he doesn’t even know how many of his customers drink alcohol. So, what should he do?

If Mike doesn’t know how many of his customers drink alcohol, it’s because he doesn’t measure it - now’s the time. All that needs to be done is to create a custom attribute, which we’ll say is called “wine/beer drinker” for the sake of this example. Now, Mike just has to add this custom attribute to his next form and ask his loyalty members or contacts to answer with either yes or no. Or he could also create a custom attribute called ‘likelihood to purchase’ and ask customers how likely they are to purchase the wine & beer from him on a scale from one to ten - simple as that.

So, What are the Benefits of Forms?

Data collection. While that’s essentially the main point of forms, it’s a huge benefit to have. With the right data on your customers, your planning, forecasting, research & development, even return on investment can skyrocket.

Picture this: you’ve just gotten back your first 150 submissions of your first form. What’s next? You can bulk export all these responses and analyze this data to identify purchase trends, interests, patterns within attributes or possible customer segments - Mike could set up a segment purely for wine and beer drinkers to only target them, for example. Take a look below at some of the benefits of forms and how you can make them work for you:

Consistency

Data collection forms ensure that the data you collect are in a specific format that you decide yourself. This means you can completely optimize your forms for data analysis as well as data collection. Not only consistency in this sense, but it also ensures that everyone is asked the same questions in roughly the same situation - which is definitely not the case when it comes to organic data collection.

Analyzability

Thanks to your consistency (nudge nudge) you’re in a position whereby you have minimal data cleaning to do. This means you can analyze your data as quickly as possible and turn it into actionable insights. Once you’ve made a few forms, you’ll probably have figured out somewhat of a system for garnering insights from your data. Smarter, more agile decision making in just a few clicks.

Accessibility & Mobility

In going digital, you completely eliminate any need for transcription or waiting times once the form has been submitted. With cloud-based data storage, your data will be available anywhere, any time. Not only does this mean that you can access your data at any time, but those from whom you’re collecting data can respond from anywhere, at any time. 

Sustainability

Every year, the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper. That’s almost enough reason alone to convert to digital forms.

Security

Simply put, and understandably, it’s safer to store data digitally than in a filing cabinet. With our new forms feature, you have identity authentication when using a private form. This means nobody can access your form unless you want them to and they’re a loyalty member. However, in the event that you want to collect data from customers that aren’t part of your program, or new subscribers, you can always use a public form.



Rules of Thumb

Shorter is Better

Nobody wants to fill out a long form, regardless of what it’s about. For the best submission rates, make your form short and concise.

Don’t be Nosy

Yes, the whole point of forms is to gather customer data. But don’t overdo it. Your submission rates will drop significantly if your questions are too intrusive.

Automate Responses

In an ideal scenario, you should automate responses for form submissions. This can be as simple as generic as a thank you email, or something more personal or on-brand for your business - the choice is yours.

Set Default Values

For certain questions, such as true or false questions, you should fill in a default value. For almost any question, in fact, you should set a default value. Generally, your default value should be what you expect to be the most popular choice. If you have any existing data on the measurement of that contact attribute, it’s always best to reference this for the modal value.

Avoid Non-Quantifiable Question

You’ll need to ask open form questions in some instances, such as when you’re looking for customer names or addresses. However, if you’re trying to measure something, you should avoid giving people complete freedom in their response (the format, at least). For easy analysis, it’s best to stick to quantifiable questions - this doesn’t mean questions all have to be numbers based, as you can easily retroactively assign numbers to responses yourself once you export the response file.

Focus on Submissions

Your form should be optimized for submissions. This means keeping it simple, understandable, relatively short, and non-intrusive. Cover all these bases and you’ll be on your way to fantastic forms in no time.

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