Custom Forms in Dash give you the ability to customize your registration processes. By defining Custom Fields and using them in Custom Forms, you can ask questions and gather information at registration time for any customer, program or event.
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Custom Forms give you the power to gather additional customer information at registration time and use that information for special purposes. Examples of information you might want to collect include:
- Demographic information – Useful for municipalities where measuring usage demographics is relevant. For example, you might ask optional questions about the race of your customers or their economic level.
- Fulfillment Information – Some programs come with items that must be fulfilled after registration. For example, you may want to fulfill T-shirts by creating a custom form that asks for T-shirt color and size, or you may want to fulfill meals, by creating a custom form that asks for sandwich and drink preference.
- Marketing, Sales, and Promotional Information – As customers are registered, you may want to ask questions such as “Where did you hear about our program?”
- School and Grade Information – For youth programs, gathering school and grade information can be especially useful. For example, this customer information can be sorted in the Dash Team Builder to help create team rosters for youth leagues.
Custom forms are managed by the Dash Form Builder, which allows you to create, edit and save both custom fields and custom forms. Custom forms themselves consist of custom fields that come from a set of available custom fields as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Form Builder Layout
The Dash Form Builder is used to create both custom forms and custom fields. Custom forms are built by adding fields selected from the set of Available Fields to the Form Workspace, and then saving the workspace contents as a new custom form in the Forms section. Note that an individual custom field can be re-used in multiple custom forms.
To be used, a custom form must be associated with a registration process as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2. Registration Processes.
When a custom form is associated with any of these registration processes, then its custom field questions are displayed at the time of registration and stored in the custom fields section of each customer’s profile page. Registration processes are associated with custom forms as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3. Registration Processes & Custom Forms
Two registration forms are built-in to Dash and their names cannot be changed. They are the Customer Profile form (Adult and Child) and the Online Registration form.
The fields of the Customer Profile form appear under every customer’s profile in the Custom Form section. Note that unlike other forms, these fields are not prompted for or displayed as part of an alert or dialog box, even if the fields are designated as required. This means that when a staff member registers a customer at the front desk or over the phone, they must remember to ask customers the questions that are in the Custom Fields section of their customer profiles, and input their answers in those custom fields.
The situation is different for the Online Registration form, which is used when customer’s register themselves using Dash Online. In that case, staff are bypassed and customers are prompted to answer the questions defined in the built-in Online Registration form.
NOTE: Customers are not prompted to enter the questions from the Customer Profile form, but only the Online Registration form. The two forms are distinct and separate, so if you want the same set of questions asked by staff to appear online, then you must repeat the questions and reuse the custom fields in both forms.
When customers are prompted to respond to Online Registration questions, they must respond to custom fields that have been defined as "Required".
When programs and events are defined, their registration can be associated with a particular program or event by attaching an appropriate custom form specified in the Registration Form field. You’ll find the Registration Form field when you create a Camp, Class, or League Season or an Event Type. You can also specify custom forms for Levels, in which case a specific Level custom form will be substituted for the more general Season custom form.
The questions in program and event custom forms are all prompted for. In the staff case, custom field questions prompt staff who must ask customers questions and input their answers in the appropriate custom fields. Required questions must be answered. If registration is available online, then the same set of questions are asked online, and required questions must be responded to.
Custom forms usually begin with someone having one or two questions they’d like to ask customers. Those questions then are encapsulated in fields, grouped in forms, and presented at registration. The answers to questions are then collected in reports or analyzed in other tools such as Excel or the Dash Team Builder. Figure 4 shows a diagram of this process.
Figure 4. Custom Form Creation Process
Because the custom form process is fairly lengthy and requires considerable effort to set up, it’s important to begin with the end in mind and ask some questions.
Custom fields are the way that questions get asked either directly online or indirectly by staff. A custom field is a structure that holds both a question and an answer. The label of the custom field holds the question, and the input field holds the answer.
However, what questions should you ask with custom forms? Before you can create custom field questions you should ask yourself the following questions:
What do you want to know?
What questions do you want to ask of customers and what information do you truly need from them? In which registration process should your questions appear? Are your questions general and appropriate for all customers? For online customers? Or for just customers of a particular camp, class, league or event? You may not be able to answer all these questions immediately until you first ask, "Why?":
Why do you want to know it?
What purpose is behind your questions? Do you want to contact people in a certain demographic for marketing purposes? Do you want to fulfill a product for each customer? Do you want to help build teams or groups with the information provided? Once you know what and why, you still may have some "How" questions.
How are you going to use the answers you collect from your custom forms?
Are you going to view your custom form information in the Custom Forms Report? Are you going to download it in CSV format to Excel or some other spreadsheet? Or are you going to simply make it available in the Customer Profile Custom Fields section for staff to use when necessary?