Software advertisements always claim that using their product will save you tons of money and once you’ve used their product you’ll never want to go back to your old ways! But that’s only if you purchase the correct software for your needs!
You might be asking yourself, “how could there be a wrong selection when dealing with a simple process like registration”? Therein lies the catch my friends: registration is not as simple as you might think. It encapsulates the entirety of your business logic and processes. In addition, what you truly need isn’t always what software is able to provide. You need to select software that has the features you need and not the ones that the software provider thinks you need.
The most important factor to consider is: can this software be customized to your needs without the need for extensive custom programming. This means that the base system can be manipulated in such a way that molds to your process and flows seamlessly with your organization as it already is, giving you the capabilities you need and leaving out what doesn’t work for you.
So if you’ve been sitting on the fence waiting for the right time to computerize your registration and payment systems, you’re in luck! There are now great options to choose from, without breaking the bank!
Below are 3 features you should look for when shopping around for an automated application and registration software:
1. Automated Application, Forms and Flow
An automated application that integrates into your website and generates the appropriate forms for the user is paramount when choosing a system. Simply moving from your current paper forms to the online equivalent doesn’t cut it.
Your forms should seem intuitive and smart, meaning based on previous answers the user gives, the correct forms are presented next so the flow of the application is logical and easy to understand. The goal here is to reach a point where the registration process is totally seamless, as they say in Silicon Valley: “A system that gets out of the way”.
The user should be presented with the forms and tasks that are correct for them, they should not need to decide or spend a second thinking about whether they need to complete a certain step or not. For example, if a user checks that they are interested in Session A but without housing or meals, the forms and questions relevant to meals, roommates and any documents you need related to these products should never be shown to the user. This way, they don’t need to see a dietary question and think “do I need to answer this?” or “why should I answer this, I’m not eating”, etc.
Building a system that is intuitive and seamless as we described above once cost around $100,000 but today you can get that same system for as low as $49 a month!
2. Automated Communication
An “out of the way” system should also provide automatic updates to the user about the status of their registration, specific actions required of them, and of course automatic email messages confirming the actions they’ve completed. There is nothing that creates more work for your user and especially for your staff than endless emails from users asking “did I do this right?” or “have I completed the process?” or “what else is left for me to do”?
And let’s be real, your organization comes down to profit. If you aren’t making money, you won’t be around for much longer. Having more applicants complete your registration process in less time, with the least amount of time investment on your part dealing with questions, problems, etc. will result in better cash flow.
3. Automated Pricing Capabilities & Compatibility with Online Payments
It’s all well and good if you have a great looking application that flows seamlessly and all that. However, this point is really the key point that should sell you on a system when you’re out shopping for one. The software you choose should allow each unique user going through your process to see in real time the amount they owe for the products they have selected and gives you the flexibility to charge every applicant differently according to their needs.
If a user changes products (either by adding more or taking away) the price should change. If a specific session has an application fee it should be added to their cart (and not to people that did not select that session) automatically. If they have made a partial payment, not only should that payment be accessible but their “final due” should be updated with what their current balance is. Their final balance should also be clear and easy to find within their dashboard, do not make them search for it! If you want to get paid, make it as easy as possible for the user to know what they owe with clear ways on how to pay now.
Software that includes this feature will cut the time your staff spends responding to personal phone calls and emails with clients about how much they owe. They will call because they are confused or don’t remember how much they’ve paid so far and you waste time and manpower responding to communication that could be solved with a coherent registration process.
Your clients will also be happy knowing they are in the loop and up to date with their status. And, from a purely business standpoint, when clients know exactly what is due and have the ability to pay online right then and there (through an online payment function within the application itself) they will probably go ahead and pay right then and there. Which means you get your money faster. And as you probably have figured out, businesses with money in the bank succeed and businesses without money in the bank tend to fail.
These three features may seem obvious but finding software that is both affordable and ticks all these boxes can be tough. Many software companies promise you the things we listed above, but not all of them deliver. You want to back away from one size fits all software and find a solution that has a great foundation that you can build on and customize.
To summarize, a registration software should be…
- Fully customizable
- Integrates seamlessly with your website (and branding)
- Be compatible with online payment solutions
- Have an automated pricing feature and communication system
Now that you know what to look for, it is time to start searching! There are many options out there; take the time to find the one that is right for you.
Looking for Registration software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Registration software solutions.