How JotForm + Slack gives a big dog bed maker a leg up

Eric Shannon wasn’t exactly the biggest fan of dogs while he was growing up. In fact, he would go the extra mile just to avoid even the smallest or friendliest ones, from shih tzus to golden retrievers.

That all changed in 2004 when Shannon, then 27, made a trip to Cape May, New Jersey, and met his new best friend, a 12-week-old Labrador retriever and basenji mix. 

Over the next year, Shannon and his dog, Hank, became almost inseparable and spent hours on end playing, going for walks, and learning new tricks.

Eric Shannon and his dog, Hank, pose for a selfie. (Photo courtesy Eric Shannon)

But their lives took an unexpected turn in the fall of 2005, when Hank’s vet delivered some bad news.

Hank had an early case of hip dysplasia, a common, painful disease that occurs when a dog’s femur and hip socket don’t fit properly. This causes rubbing and grinding that over time can lead to degenerative conditions, such as arthritis, and even result in loss of the joint.

The vet had two options on the table for Hank: costly and likely painful surgery or lifestyle changes to alleviate the stress on the dog’s hips, including careful exercise, weight management, and a comfortable bed that supports the joints.

Monitoring Hank’s exercise regimen and weight proved to be no problem, but finding the right dog bed for him was easier said than done. Shannon spent hours doing research and shopping for dog beds, but nothing he found seemed to provide the support and comfort that his 92-pound dog needed.

And, as it turns out, Shannon wasn’t alone.

In 2006, he started an online business, called Oh My Dog Supply, which sold high-quality dog products, especially dog beds, from small manufacturers. As the business grew in popularity, so did customer requests for hard-to-find dog beds that could accommodate large dogs, such as Great Danes, mastiffs, and golden retrievers.

This continuous flow of feedback eventually led Shannon to start a new business in 2012. Big Barker creates therapeutic mattresses for dogs, especially large dogs like Hank, that are made in the United States and engineered to keep dogs youthful for longer and bring older dogs back to their best.

Big Barker relies on JotForm to collect video reviews from customers about how they like the dog beds and how they’re using them.

“People love to talk about their dogs, so from our point of view, the more information we get, the better and more quickly we can act upon it,” Big Barker’s platform manager Dan Wiggs said.

Wiggs, who leads Big Barker’s social media and email list building efforts, uses JotForm’s integrations with Google Drive and Slack to store video files and keep all of his colleagues on the same page.

“JotForm is easy to use, and it’s as powerful as I want it to be,” Wiggs said.

Collect all kinds of data with a file upload field

Since Big Barker was created for big dogs and their humans, the company relies heavily on feedback from customers to drive product improvements and marketing initiatives.

With this in mind, Wiggs launched a campaign to collect 20- to 50-second video reviews from customers in exchange for a $25 Big Barker gift card.

Before making the switch to JotForm, Big Barker relied on another online file storage platform to gather video files from customers.

But as more and more customers began providing feedback on Big Barker beds, it became increasingly difficult for employees to tie submitted video files to specific customers without additional information, such as names, addresses, and email addresses.

Wiggs needed to find a new software solution so customers could upload their video reviews and share their contact information to claim the gift card.

After trying several online form alternatives with lower size limits for uploaded files, Wiggs discovered that JotForm allowed him to collect all the information he needed and to determine the type of files that can be shared.

With JotForm’s drag-and-drop Form Builder, users can include a special field on their form that enables people to upload a wide range of files, including audio, video, and image files.

JotForm users can not only customize the text and placement of this File Upload field in their form but also set limits on the size, type, and number of files that people can share. There’s even an option to customize the text and design of the button for uploading files.

JotForm users with Starter, Bronze, Silver, or Gold plans have up to 100 MB, 10 GB, 100 GB, and 1 TB of storage space for uploaded files, respectively.

Big Barker customers can share information at home or on the go, since JotForm forms are designed to be filled out on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. This is particularly helpful for Big Barker, since the company encourages customers to record impromptu video testimonials on their mobile devices.

Once a customer shares their contact information and a review of their dog’s Big Barker bed, all of that data flows into Wiggs’s JotForm account and the company’s Google Drive account so that colleagues across the globe have access to the video file.

Use Slack to take immediate action on incoming form data

As a company that relies on remote employees on two continents to get work done, Big Barker uses Slack so everyone can keep in touch and stay on top of important updates.

JotForm’s new integration with Slack automatically sends team members a notification in a designated Slack channel once a form has been filled out.

This frictionless process allows teams to move quickly on incoming information and eliminates the need for them to constantly check their JotForm account or email for new form submissions.

“There’s a whole bunch of us dealing with all sorts of projects, and we can all use Slack anywhere because it works on a phone as well as a computer,” said Wiggs, who lives and works in the United Kingdom.

“It’s great for keeping track of things and communicating, mostly because of our time differences. Some staff are only part time, and one is still in college, so her working hours are very much outside of the normal office working hours,” he said.

Once JotForm users connect a form to their Slack account, they can send new form submission notifications to multiple Slack channels and determine what form information should be displayed in the message. JotForm users can even include buttons in the Slack notification that automatically redirect team members to a form submission.

This integration comes in handy for Wiggs, who reviews the quality, format, and size of a submitted video once a new form submission notification from JotForm arrives in Slack. When that process is complete, Wiggs will let his U.S.-based colleagues know whether they should issue a gift card or wait until more information comes in from a customer.

“I really liked the fact that you could carry out the Slack integration inside JotForm, instead of using a software integration platform like Zapier to connect the two,” Wiggs said.

Conclusion

Gathering different types of information and organizing it all can be difficult for businesses that rely on several software solutions to get the job done.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way.

JotForm allows users to gather all the information they need in a single form, from images and sound files to videos and spreadsheets. Although all of that data is saved in JotForm, users can take advantage of integrations to send form information to other software programs, such as Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive.

JotForm’s newest integration with Slack keeps users of both platforms in the know about new form submissions and helps them to be proactive. Instant notifications allow team members to act on the information they get through their forms immediately.

Pro Tip

Try out JotForm’s integration with Slack and see how it’s empowering teams around the world to get work done anywhere in a snap.

Darin is a content writer at JotForm. He is passionate about disrupting perceptions, solving problems, and helping people be more productive with the easiest online form builder. Outside of the office, he is a rush-hour straphanger, adventure seeker, coffee drinker, and frequent traveler. You can contact Darin through his contact form.

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