Manage web form submissions easily in Acctivate
Everyday more and more businesses receive emails or other contacts from their websites, such as new customer contact, support requests, sales requests, comments and suggestions.
Most companies start out happy to receive these contacts because web-submitted communication is faster, easier to organize and less costly than communicating over the phone.
However, emails can overwhelm you as they pile up in your inbox.
Not to mention that email doesn’t provide a method to easily manage, process, assign and follow-up across a department.
Email is not an efficient CRM tool for high volumes.
Acctivate has a solution!
Users of the Acctivate Business Activity Management module now can turn web forms into business activities instantly. This allows you to manage and track each submission inside Acctivate.
Your web form can be a page for service requests, sales contacts, support requests, general information or any other type of information needed by your business. When your user clicks submit, it is instantly posted inside Acctivate.
Be more productive
- The time savings and productivity increases can be dramatic.
- No need to cut and paste information from your email into Acctivate after a user submits a web form. It’s all done automatically and is instantly available.
- Web submissions are organized with a date and time stamp and each submission can be assigned to an Acctivate user. You can also keep notes on each submission, so you may work the activity to completion with a full record of who-did-what.
- For existing customers, the submission can be instantly linked to that customer’s record inside of Acctivate.
Some conditions are necessary:
- The web form must be hosted on your own web server. It cannot be hosted on a shared hosting server or a different network than the server that contains the Acctivate database.
- Your main company website may be on a different server, just as long as it links to the web form, which is on your own server that you operate locally.
- To use the standard code provided by Acctivate, ASP must be used. We do not provide examples for PHP or any other scripting method
Before you begin
It is crucial that you already have Microsoft Internet Information Services (Microsoft IIS) running on the computer that you plan to run the web form on.
- Having IIS installed turns your computer into a “web server” that is capable of hosting web-based content.
- If you do not have Microsoft IIS installed, or are not sure that it is installed or working properly, then you are very strongly advised to contact your network administrator, a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) or another networking and web development professional to make certain that your system is setup and configured properly.
- The Business Activity Web Form process is broken into the following procedures:
- Building your web form
- Modifying your web form engine
Your forms can request any type of information you want to view in a Business Activity. The following instructions use a service request web form example.
The goal is to create a web form that automatically turns into an Acctivate Business Activity.
- Determine web form content Think about what type of information you want on the web form. Customer service? RMA request? Billing support? Technical support?
- Develop web forms You must develop your own webpage, web form and processing engine, however, we do provide examples.
The form should request information that will fulfill a specific issue (i.e. customer service issues or sales contacts) concerning your company.
If you have no experience with this please contact a professional web developer for assistance.
- Plan to configure Acctivate
Business Activity types and codes must be configured inside the Configuration Manager. They must correspond to the web form
You must configure Acctivate types and codes in the Configuration Manager. Other options include status, priority and resolution.
Determine how you want the system to handle submissions from the web form and configure accordingly.
You will include the codes you configure in the ASP code to map specific information to fields in the Business Activity (explained in the next section).
In the example, we configured the Type “Service” (V); and configured the codes for this type to “Annual checkup” (CK), “Requested Quote” (R) and “Routine Service” (RS).
Making it all work
1. Build your web form
Now, you must develop your own web form. Some knowledge of HTML and/or ASP is needed.
The example form requests general contact information, the specific type of service issue (i.e. annual checkup, requested quote, routine service) and specifics about the issue.
*Refer to the appendix for Acctivate database field names that are commonly used to request information in web forms.
In the example, the web form engine file is service_engine. asp.
f. The example form allows users to select the type of service they need. The options correspond to the Business Activity code descriptions that were configured in step 2 of “Before you Begin” (i.e. Annual checkup, Requested Quote, Routine Service).
You do not have to use the code descriptions as your options, but you must set the value of each option to the specific Acctivate code required. It makes it easier when passing over to the web engine
This is now mapped to the Code field of the Business Activity window in Acctivate.
Also, make note of the name attribute of the form type that contains the options (Business Activity codes). In the example, it is defined as ActivityCode.
g. In the example form, a multi-line text area asks the user to “Please tell us about your situation.”
This is custom information, which is not specific to a Business Activity field. Any type of custom information can be requested in the form as long as it is mapped to a field (i.e. the Description or Discussion fields), which will be explained later in this document.
h. A submit button must pass the form information through to the processing engine. The processing engine is set in the <form> tag.
2. Modify the web form engine
It is necessary to modify the web form engine code to determine what information from the form will come into your Acctivate system and into which fields of the Business Activity.
The modifications must correspond to the form you just created.
a. Modify the type of business activity the form is for by entering the business activity type. This example form is for service issues, so this code sets the business activity to the business activity type, Service (V).
b. If the web form selects a Business Activity code (i.e. in step 1d) you must modify the ASP code by entering the name attribute you used to define the codes in the web form (which is “ActivityCode” in the example). This will map the user selected information to the Code field in the new Business Activity.
c. By default, leaving the AssignedTo variable undefined marks each activity as unassigned. To assign it to a specific user enter their user code.
d. When information specific to business activities (i.e. general contact information) is requested on the web form, that information can be brought into Acctivate by modifying what is in quotes to match the values you set in the name tag of your form code.
For example, in the code for the example form, the “Your name” field has the html attribute name = “name”, therefore this defines the variable, Contact in the ASP code and that information will be imported into the Contact field of the activity.
e. The two reference fields provided in the Business Activity window can be for any user defined information, therefore in the ASP code modify these to any information you want brought into these fields from the form. In the example, these are left blank.
f. Specify which Acctivate user will be used for the “Opened By” field on the Business Activity. You may want to create a “WEB” user in the Configuration Manager.
g. Specify what information you want to appear in the Description and Discussion fields of the Business Activity. This information can be any combination or amount of previously entered information or other information requested on the form.
The example code sets up the Description field of the Business Activity to include the contact name (Contact) and the company name (AddressName) if it was entered by the user in the form. Note: Contact and AddressName were previously defined in step 2d.
h. The example code also sets up the Discussion field of the Business Activity to include the message the user enters in the “Please tell us about your situation” form textbox.
i. This ASP code creates the connection to the web engine that will allow for the form information to be imported into Acctivate and create a new Business Activity. Modify the connection information, so that it is specific to your company’s data (i.e. the server and the database).
j. The following code matches the variables already defined throughout the ASP code to the appropriate Business Activity field, in order to prepare to import the form information into Acctivate. For example, the variable ActivityType defined in step 2a corresponds to the Type field in the Business Activity window.
k. Specify what webpage you want to redirect the user to after they submit the form. In the example, the user is redirected to the confirmation page (the sample file, service_confirm.asp is also available for download with the web form and web form engine code).
3. Test the web form before making it live on your website. Submit your form and ASP code to the web engine. When working properly the web engine will import the fields being submitted from the web form and post them to the database into the correct categories. Note: A different web engine is needed for each form submission.
4. If testing is successful, make your web form live on your website.