Forms: Are We Ready To Go Paperless?

By Prethiba Esvary, Marketing and Communications Executive, Lava Protocols

Lava Protocols conducted a survey several weeks ago to discover what put people off from filling up forms. The top 3 reasons given were that:

  • forms are too long (74.3%)
  • there are multiple forms asking for same info (68.6%)
  • forms are too invasive (60%)

Read the full article here.

In the same survey, 94.3% stated they have a preference for online forms over hard copy forms and 91.3% expressed their interest for Malaysia to go paperless one fine day.

These are the top 5 forms people fill up regularly:

  • membership forms
  • mobile app sign up forms
  • survey forms (which includes ours. lol.)
  • complaint forms
  • bank forms

To read the comments from some of our respondents, read part 1 of this article. The question we posed in part 1 of this article is why are companies still using paper forms. There are various reasons, some of which include the need to take fingerprints and photos of applicants, and the need to handle personal information with precaution. But as cloud consultants, we believe that there is always an answer to everything.


What Can Malaysian Companies Do?

1. Have an online form with automation

Having an online form that has a function to auto-populate particular fields (name, phone number, address, etc.) would resolve the issue of having forms that are too long/ asks for repetitive information.

All users have to do is to key in a unique identifier (eg. IC/ passport no) and the system will identify who you are. From there, it will pull up your data from the system’s database and populate the other fields in the form. In this scenario, there would need to be a login confirmation to protect the user from identity theft, which is quite straightforward to implement. 

While this is not an entirely new concept/ feature, the survey responses are proof that there are companies out there (even the reputable ones) which have not nailed this bit down.

For bank forms, we may still have to do fill up some paperwork in the beginning when we are new to a bank. However, the plus point is that once you already have a bank account, you can do just about anything online (for almost any bank) – apply for loans, open another savings account, etc.


2. Have an online form with ref no/ QR code

For forms that require fingerprints and photos, the online form option can still be used. All applicants have to do is fill up a form online, print out a confirmation receipt that has an ID/ reference number, and take it to the company to get their fingerprint scanned and photo taken. Numerous companies are already doing this.

For applicants who don’t have a printer, giving them the option to get a QR code would be ideal. Applicants can then scan the QR code at the particular company and print their confirmation form/ receipt there.

In reference to the logistics company we cited in part 1 of this article, having an online system would be good as they can have all of their customer data in one place, and users won’t have to fill up long forms for future deliveries (as their details are already in the system).


3. Get a content management system/ customer portal

A single customer portal can accommodate all the forms a company needs for its customers. If this was implemented, there would be no loss of data, automatic internal and external process tracking, and faster resolution with far less frustration for all parties!

A customer portal would also address the issue of ambiguity. To better explain this, have a look at the FlySmart portal which was built by Lava Protocols. FlySmart is an initiative by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) to protect the rights of air travellers. Aside from having in place a platform to lodge complaints, the portal also provides a host of resources in the form of FAQs, articles, and bite-sized info/ tips. You can read the case study here.

Once users have submitted a complaint, they can track its status and similarly, the company (MAVCOM) will be able to track customer complaints that are in queue/ in progress/ resolved.

For companies that don’t see the need to put out that much resources on their portal, adding a simple “info” button near the form fields is sufficient to remove ambiguity.

4. Read the fine print

Heard of the Malaysian Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA)? You can read about it here or here. All forms, hard or soft copy, should have a section detailing their privacy policy. If not, users should be able to find this information on the company’s website. Without reading that, you won’t know how the company is using your information.

The following is an example of a bank form which outlines their privacy policy:

The image above was taken by the author and is purely for illustration purposes only.

Unfortunately for users, some forms do require rather personal details as otherwise, companies can’t deliver their best services to you.



Bringing It All Together

Malaysia may not be ready to go entirely paperless for forms at this point of time.

Investing in the right technology/ system, would help Malaysian companies speed up its application and registration processes, alleviate the frustrations people have, and improve efficiency.

Having a SINGLE SYSTEM to store all your customer data which is also integrated to all your other systems without having to ask customers for their information over and over again, would be a marked improvement.  

Looking at the comments and statistics outlined should be reason enough for businesses to think about some of the solutions we have suggested to improve the user (customer) experience with a brand. You know what they say. All it takes is one bad experience to damage your brand image.



Read part 1 of the article here.

Lava is a leading cloud consulting company in Malaysia. We have more than a decade of experience in cloud solutions which include sales, customer service, marketing, CRM implementation, change management, and consultation. We pride ourselves in not just being a Salesforce partner but in also understanding the needs of our customers and taking their business to the next level. Email us at or call us at 03-7885 9720 if you’d like to know more.

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