We hear from registration teams all the time that one of their biggest frustrations is spending way too much time fielding emails and calls from applicants about which forms they need to complete and how much money they owe. For the most part, these people aren’t stupid or brain dead. They are smart and savvy people who just can’t make two cents out of your registration requirements, no matter how much you think it’s straightforward and understandable. The missing element is a quality online registration software. Check out our guide below to building an intelligent registration software online for your organization. By employing one or all of our suggestions, you’re already on your way to a better registration system that will help improve your conversions and your bottom line.
Build an Intelligent Registration Software: Get Online!
An online registration software is key to building and maintaining a successful application. Having your application online allows you to utilize the best technology has to offer to increase the accuracy and efficiency of your registration system.
Being able to set each individual applicant on a separate registration path is the best way to both upgrade your registration process and to provide a stellar and professional experience for your applicants. A sleek and savvy looking and functioning online registration system will help you to build trust with your applicants (who will hopefully become participants!) When they see your awesome application, they will probably think that if the registration process is this efficient and thoughtful, your products must be too!
Hire a professional.
If you don’t have the tools or resources (like a full time programmer on your staff) to build and manage an online registration software or system yourself, find a company that can! Don’t underestimate the importance of either your own programmer or an outside company in building a quality and functioning system. You will need to work closely with them in order to make sure that a system meeting your exact specifications are met. Make sure that they understand your business, your needs and your applicants. This truly makes all the difference.
Be sure to explain all the conditions throughout your application that would trigger different paths for different applicants. Programmers need precise criteria in order to achieve this. If you can find a system that is flexible enough to be able to change as your business needs and organizational structure change that it the best solution for you. The key to having an ‘intelligent’ system is individualizing the application. We’ll go into detail about what this entails a little later on in the post. While this might initially take a lot of time, it will save you so much more time in the long run!
If you don’t have the resources to create a quality online registration software, it might be better to stick with paper. The worst thing that can happen with a poorly designed application is having to email an applicant after they spent 30 minutes filling out your application that “Due to a bug in our system we did not receive your application. Please return to the application and complete the missing sections”. If your system fails or doesn’t work properly, it not only looks unprofessional but makes your organization as a whole look a bit outdated technologically and sloppy. And the whole “saving time” benefit just cost you even more time fixing the problem. Your applicants might think, if they can’t get this together, what else can’t they get together? That’s an applicant that just went to your competition.
Create an individualized process using “conditional logic”.
An individualized online registration system is a system that can guide each individual applicant through the application and provide him or her with only the forms and information pertinent to them. How can you achieve this? By building a system that uses “conditional logic” you can create a smooth and logical process for the applicant that is personalized for him.
We’ve talked previously about how a one-size-fits-all registration process isn’t the most effective or efficient way to get what you need and convert as many applicants into participants. An individualized registration process using conditional logic addresses and fixes this problem. Conditional logic allows you to move applicants automatically between stages, show them the proper forms they need for their specific application and make the applicant feel as though you are right there with them when completing the application.
You can use conditional logic to present only the products you offer that will be relevant and meaningful to your applicants. This could net you more products purchased, but it also shows your applicants that you care about them and are attuned to their interests and needs. It also shows them that the information they are providing you nets them useful information and suggestions about products they might enjoy, which will make them feel as if your company, and not just your application, is with them every step of the way.
This basically means that an intelligent system will know what the applicant needs to complete and what he doesn’t. By doing this, it provides the correct forms and payment balances based on his status.
For example, if you’re an educational program in the market for a event registration software you might want to ask first whether the applicant is interested in housing for your event. If he says yes, then he will be asked to fill in the forms needed for that product and included in his program total, the appropriate fees for housing. If he indicates he does not want housing, his personalized application will not include housing forms and fees. This kind of intelligence eliminates the confusion created by a “one-size-fits-all application”. It also helps the applicant avoid thinking about what they are doing when filling out your application since they do not need to wade through all the paperwork in order to decide which forms and fees are a match to their specific situation. While it can take time and concentration setting this kind of system up at the beginning, it pays back the initial time invested almost immediately and then some.
Dashboard and Presentation
Having a dashboard feature as part of your online registration software is a great tool and feature for your applicants. The dashboard can show them a lot of personalized information in a clear and concise way, keeping your applicants on task and clued in to what you need from them personally. Some great features of a dashboard include:
- A progress bar showing how much of the application has been completed, or needs to be completed.
- A list of application sections with check marks next to the completed sections and links to go back to that particular section for review.
- Suggestions for other products the applicant might be interested in.
- Dates and important deadlines relevant only to his products.
- Social media features.
Remember that presentation and functionality are also key aspects of your dashboard and registration process as a whole. We’ve talked about style before, but also think about functionality and other tools you can use to make your registration system simpler and more straightforward (applicants hate to think!).
For example, if there is only one product or answer to a question among many that an applicant can select, then you should use radio buttons instead of checkboxes as the method for answering or choosing the appropriate item. Once they choose one, the other options should be disabled to ensure correct responses. Plus, the applicants choices or answers will be obvious and clear to them, again so they don’t have to think!
Check out Regpack’s user dashboard image below to get an idea of what a great dashboard can look like. You see a progress bar for both the user’s balance and the percentage of the application the user has completed so far. Their status is clear and big so they know where they stand and their program balance is bold, big and easy to understand.
Why should you have an intelligent online registration software?
We know what you might be thinking. All that sounds great and useful and fancy. But is it really worth the investment of both time and money to overhaul our registration system? What we’re doing now works just fine for our needs and we don’t have the time (or energy, or money) to revamp everything.
We can’t tell you what is right for your business, your budget or for your products. But what we can tell you is, from years of experience, we’ve never seen someone that wants to go back to paper after having a registration system that really works! The ability to provide an up-to-date, technologically advanced and seamless online registration system to applicants and the ability to use this system as part of your company-wide registration database is priceless in the long run.
Sure you’re still in business so obviously what you’re doing works. But having something that “just works” and having something that can improve your business and allow you to spend your newly found free time on other projects that could potentially net you more income or improve other aspects of your business (like your products!) can be worth the time, energy and cost of a registration system like this.
Having a system that works, for both your applicants and for you and your team helps you convert applicants to participants, helps keep your team on task and informed, helps your bottom line and most importantly saves everyone time. Your applicants will spend less time scratching their heads and making sense of your application, you’ll spend less time assisting applicants with basic questions that arise from being confused and more time investing in your products. You’ll get the information you need and nothing more. You’ll be able to generate an array of clever, intelligent and relevant reporting for your team, bosses and beyond.
And most importantly, this kind of system gives a face lift to your business. Applicants will think highly of you and your organization based on their experiences with you. If one of their first experiences with you is via an advanced and intelligent online registration system, you’ve already created the foundation for a great relationship with your participants. Whether you’re in the market for an event registration software, membership management software, class registration software, summer camp registration software, league management software or something unique to your field, make sure you choose a software that gives you the features, functionality and capabilities you truly need!