With leading menswear retailers such as Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank, Tailored Brands provides a one-of-a-kind shopping experience with compelling products and world-class service via their 1400+ locations in the U.S. and Canada.
They were using a different product which generated very large files, required local emails, was hard to use for dynamic forms and was expensive to maintain. Their Manager of Intranet, Jim Rinke, decided to investigate alternative products for their digital transformation journey.
After a lengthy search, Tailored Brands selected frevvo in 2011 for its drag-and-drop design, robust dynamic forms, 100% browser-based interface and the ability to route the form to different recipients based on user data.
“We were looking to replace the product we were using with a system that would work in our 1400+ stores.
Our forms are highly dynamic and can have complex business requirements. Using frevvo’s visual designers, we’ve now implemented 100+ forms & workflows. frevvo Cloud just works and meets our needs at reasonable cost.”
– Jim Rinke, Manager, Intranet & Documentation
Using frevvo’s low-code, visual solution, Tailored Brands’ team of just 2 people has now implemented 104 forms and workflows for a wide variety of use cases such as Inventory Request, Store Appearance Checks by multi-unit managers, Theft/Robbery/Damage forms, Employee or Customer Injuries and others.
The benefits are enormous:
Previous forms were seamlessly replaced with online versions.
Small file sizes mean they work fast and efficiently in the store locations.
Dynamic behavior is easy and the forms automatically show/hide sections based on user data, perform calculations etc.
Built-in mobile allows employees to use an iPad to complete forms.
Tailored Brands intends to continue rolling out additional forms and workflows, especially workflows that can route directly to an email address (anonymous user).
“As technology continues to go through metamorphoses and our understanding of users’ needs becomes more refined, good mobile form design is constantly evolving.”
– Quoted from above article
Getting your forms to be genuinely usable on mobile devices is hard but can have big benefits. Fortunately, with frevvo, you don’t have to worry too much about this. Let’s take a look at a few things mentioned in the above excellent article:
You’ve invested in workflow automation. Looks great but sometimes getting people to actually use it can itself be a Sisyphean task. People resist change and will quickly fall back to bad habits like emailing PDFs and Excel spreadsheets around to manage key information.
So, how do you onboard your users?
1. Involve them from the beginning
This is a pretty obvious one. The earlier you get stakeholders into the process the more likely they are to adopt it. People are naturally more invested in a solution that they’ve had a chance to impact. Soliciting feedback and actually implementing suggestions are critical elements.
When we work with customers on a new project, we go to great lengths to set this up. We spend time upfront to make sure we’re building something users want and make sure there are at least a couple of UAT-Change Request Implementation cycles. That way, the people who have to actually use the new system can affect it.
2. Usability, Usability, Usability!
I can’t stress this enough. It does not matter how robust and awesome your system is. If it’s hard to use, it will not be adopted. If it looks good and is easy to use, people will forgive other shortcomings.
Usability (for end users) should probably be your #1 criterion in selecting a workflow automation system. Some tips:
Great Looks: Employees are also consumers. They use slick apps everyday and get used to a fantastic UX. If work apps have old-fashioned, clunky UIs they’ll never catch on.
Sensible Terminology: Make sure your buttons, labels, messages are familiar and helpful. For example, if the workflow will route to the CFO for secondary approval the button should say “Route to CFO” rather than the generic “Continue”.
Help Text: Some fields require further explanation. The Label is not always enough. Take the time to add help and it can make a huge difference. Tooltips and placeholders are other options.
Mobile friendly: It has to work naturally on all devices. Buttons might need to be slightly larger on mobile so they’re easier to click using your finger. Forms may need to be broken up into multiple pages to avoid overwhelming smaller screens.
Speed: Don’t underestimate the value of performance. People love systems where they don’t have to wait around.
Consistency: A big part of great UX is consistency. Buttons should be in the same place, labels should follow consistent conventions, the look & feel should not vary dramatically from one process to the next.
3. Training / Feedback
End user training should be part of every rollout. But, it’s just the first step. Once people have used the new system for a period of time, they’ll have feedback for you. It’s worth going back and actually talking to stakeholders – is this helping you? Are you doing less manual work? Do you genuinely have more time for things that matter? What can we improve?
4. Iterative improvement
Once people tell you what you can improve, it’s important to go back and actually address issues as quickly as possible. Nothing’s more frustrating than getting it 90% right only to see users abandon your system because you overlooked a couple of things.
5. Communicate success
Share meaningful success stories with everyone involved in the system. Recognizing people’s efforts (company meeting, spot awards) in bringing change to the organization will always be appreciated as long as you don’t overdo it and the recognition is for real measurable gains.
Ultimately, though, we’d advise you to focus hardest on Usability. If they find it hard to use the new workflows, the rest doesn’t matter.
Business improvement is not restricted to huge companies like Toyota, GE and Exxon nor to any specific industry or vertical. Every industry has been using process improvement to try and transform services they offer to their customers.
For Colleges & Universities, that’s students, faculty and staff. As La Cité put it:
The future success of post-secondary institutions lies in our ability to deliver excellent services to our students.
Students, faculty and staff are incredibly busy and don’t want to waste time waiting for decisions/approvals, re-working to fix errors, manually handing off tasks so that the appropriate people have access to them.
It’s 2016! Digitize those approvals on mobile devices and instantly improve services to everyone.
Deeply rooted in the National Capital Region and Eastern Ontario for over a quarter of a century, La Cité is the largest French-speaking applied arts and technology College in Ontario.
1200+ registration forms have already been submitted electronically with a 24/7 service offering. Students save time since they no longer have to stand in line for registration. Instead of lining up, they simply complete the process on their smartphones.
La Cité serves a diverse population from students and faculty to a large student body. Students, in particular, prefer to use their mobile phones for almost everything. Yet most of La Cité’s forms and applications were paper or PDF documents that had to be printed out, hand-filled and signed. They didn’t integrate with databases, DocuShare (their document management system) or salesforce.com (CRM).
That means students filling out long forms by hand and standing in long lines to register, internal employees scanning and indexing paper forms and a tedious, inefficient overall experience.
Students love the built-in mobile support. Now that the forms are compatible with devices, 60% of responses have come in on mobile.
La Cité decided that they needed to improve services to students and staff. They selected frevvo Live Forms and, in a matter of months, they’ve replaced several paper/PDF forms with electronic ones. They’re available 24/7, work automatically on mobile devices, and integrate with DocuShare, Oracle and salesforce.com. frevvo forms also work in multiple languages including French, which is the dominant language on La Cité’s campus. Data is pre-populated, frevvo’s build-in validation ensures fewer errors, documents are automatically stored in DocuShare and salesforce and students are no longer standing in line.
Co-Op applications, which used to be paper are now electronic. As a result, the number of applications has gone up from about 10 in previous years to over 70.
The results have been impressive and La Cité plans to roll out several additional forms and workflows in the coming months.
Building it themselves would be out of reach – we’re talking hundreds of thousands of $ and a year of time. With frevvo, it’s up and running in just a few weeks.
It started out as a casual conversation at lunch. But, I was so surprised at the answers I couldn’t believe my ears. Check out the little Q&A below with Courtney Bernard, one of our Customer Success whizzes.
FB (Frevvo Blog): What do you do at frevvo?
CB (Courtney Bernard): I wear a few hats in the Customer Success area. Obviously, some client services but I also do some training & customer support. I also do some of the voice overs for frevvo’s videos.
FB: This recent project, what’s it all about?
CB: It’s a customer in real estate (Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty). They sell real estate. But, before selling any property, it must first be listed – an MLS listing. That means filling out tons of paperwork – anyone who’s sold a house is probably familiar with this. You have to fill out literally dozens of forms, sign in a bunch of places, write in the same info over and over again, correct mistakes etc. It’s painful.
For our customer, obviously, speeding up the listing process is a good thing. They wanted to turn everything into an electronic form/workflow. No more mistakes, duplicate typing or signing, save tons of time.
FB: Ok, so what’d you do?
CB: We did it for them.
FB: Just like that?
CB: Well, no. This is an MLS listing. It’s huge. I’d guess there were 350 maybe 400 fields at least. And, it’s really complex. Many fields depend on others. For example, some fields are part of one type of listing others are not. Choose an option in one field and a bunch of other fields may be affected. We needed to generate a nicely formatted PDF. And, the entire form must work on a mobile device (usually a tablet) since associates are typically out in the field. So, it wasn’t easy to do.
FB: Put that in a bit of context for us. If I wanted to hire someone to build this, how long would it take?
CB: Well, it’s a guess since I haven’t estimated it but I’d say easily 4-6 man-months for development and about the same for QA. Then there’s PDF generation and mobile. Do you really want it to look good on a tablet? That takes work and lots of time. So, somewhere between 9 to 15 months is probably a good bet. Of course, that’s if it works at all. The complexity is high so there’s a definite risk that it’ll fail.
[Spoiler: This is the part where I couldn’t believe my ears.]
FB: How long did it take you?
CB: Well, they did some of the testing work. It took us about 80 hours (2 weeks) in total. Assuming they spent about as long, we’re talking about 4-6 weeks total.
FB: WHAT? 4 weeks vs 1 year? Seriously?
CB: Yes seriously. I mean the 4-6 weeks of work was spread out over 4 months (holidays, other projects, delays etc) so 4-6 weeks is the actual time we spent.
FB: How the heck is that even possible?
CB: I know. It’s crazy. frevvo is incredibly good at making these large, complex business forms usable. If you had a simple 1-page form with 10 fields, the difference wouldn’t be so drastic. But, as complexity rises, the # of fields increase, dynamic behavior, business rules, PDF, mobile etc. come into play, the cost of building rises dramatically. That’s where frevvo really shines. It’s amazing how easy it is.
FB: Jameson’s must have been pleased?
CB: Without question. They’re reasonably big but not huge. Building it themselves would be out of reach – we’re talking 100s of thousands of $ and a year of time. frevvo puts the benefits of this kind of automation in the hands of companies like Jameson Sotheby’s who realistically wouldn’t have access to it otherwise. That’s huge!
FB: And, what else do you do when you’re not helping customers succeed?
CB: Read, listen to podcasts, ride horses, go hiking, play with my son, watch Downton Abbey and root for my beloved New England Patriots.
There you have it folks! A single form that would have likely cost $100s of K completed in a matter of weeks and far far lower cost with frevvo. And that doesn’t even take into account the productivity benefits that will accrue for years to come.
Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty is the exclusive Chicago and North Shore affiliate of the Sotheby’s International Realty global network. Jameson’s has a 30-year-old reputation for integrity, honesty and results in the Greater Chicagoland area.
The company sells real estate. They want to get listings out as soon as possible and provide their associates with a great user experience. Unfortunately, listing a property is a time-consuming process involving many paper forms, lots of data, and multiple signatures.
They chose Live Forms to automate the process and eliminate paper, collect data electronically, sign on any device and expedite listings.
Highly automated organizations get 5X more done and save up to 80% of costs compared to those who are still using paper/email based processes. Why not try frevvo yourself? Contact us now for more information.
A recent study by Mobiquity finds that nearly 60% of employees are not satisfied with the quality of apps they should be using for their work-related tasks and abandon them. The study highlights a key challenge facing Business-To-Employee (B2E) apps – companies (especially mid-size ones) simply don’t have enough internal developers with the skills needed to build well-designed apps with a rich, intuitive user experience. With the BYOD trend only set to go, what’s IT to do?
For internal business processes like leave approvals, expense reports, employee on-boarding, patient referral, student admissions and so on, there are clear alternatives to internal development. You can choose specialized applications for many of these like Concur for expense reports and there are plenty of cloud-based HR providers.
But, for many companies, this isn’t a viable solution because (a) you have to deal with multiple vendors and (b) you have unique business needs. That’s where a mobile form builder like frevvo can help. You can easily design online forms and workflows so that they fit your business, integrate with back end systems and yet work on all devices from smart phones to desktop computers to provide an appealing user experience for your employees. When employees can take pictures of receipts, sign using their finger on a touch screen, see tasks in one place and get work done quickly and easily anytime anywhere, they’ll use your apps and you’ll be well on your way to overcoming the B2E challenge. Infographic by Mobiquity.