The Value of E-Signatures
Going digital doesn't have to mean losing the personal touch.
Posted Nov 7, 2014
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A recent study from Ernst and Young found that 41 percent of respondents chose to open a bank account based on customer experience. It was also reported that the most common reason customers opened or closed accounts was the sales experience.

Such an example shows us how consumer expectations are changing, and this is true across industries, not just with financial services. Businesses are investing in customer experience initiatives to meet those expectations. So why do so many of them struggle with planning and executing their customer experience initiatives?

In today's ultra-connected world, going digital is all the rage. Many companies opt to make the move to digital due to the huge cost savings it provides. But doing so inherently removes face-to-face interactions from the equation, resulting in fewer customer touch points. The challenge many companies face is deriving the benefits of going digital without losing the personal touch.

One of the ways companies can digitize their service while improving the in-person experience is by integrating an e-signature solution into the sales process. This lets users prepare, manage, and send documents faster than with traditional paper, allowing more time to be spent building relationships and advising customers. Workflow is further improved by connecting e-signatures with a CRM system, which allows users to pull customer data for NDAs, SOWs, agreements, and contracts quickly and easily, eliminating the need to redo any paperwork that returned with errors, again giving time back to customer management.

Companies can leverage e-signature technology to make digital transactions personal, serving their clients anywhere, anytime, and on any device. Following are three requirements that companies working with e-signatures should meet in order to provide the best customer experience:

Ease of Use

If customers need to jump through hoops to identify themselves, can't print before signing, or are required to install software or change browsers, they will likely abandon the process before the transaction is completed. Choose an e-signature solution that makes it easy for signers to authenticate themselves, review documents before signing, and complete the workflow without installing software.

Available on Any Device at Any Time

Today's customer demands solutions that don't compromise the security and compliance of the transaction behind the scenes. A good electronic signature solution is one that is built on digital signature technology and allows a business to invite anyone to review, accept, and securely e-sign documents from any Web-enabled device (computer, tablet, or smartphone) at any time.

Tamper-Evident Documents

Look for an e-signature solution that leverages digital signature technology to create tamper-evident documents. This is a must because, should any document ever be challenged, you will have a powerful audit trail of electronic evidence that clearly demonstrates that the signer understood and accepted contract conditions at the time of e-signing. The right e-signature solution ensures online documents are presented as they would be on paper, all in the correct order on any Web browser, which is the kind of evidence that helps settle disputes before they even get to court.

Businesses know that in order to be successful, they need to put the customer first. If done right, customer engagement can lead to increased customer loyalty, retention, and advocacy. This can in part be achieved by implementing the right supporting technologies, such as e-signatures.

Keep an eye out for solutions that offer prebuilt integrations with popular business productivity applications such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and Microsoft SharePoint. These offer the convenience of accessing proven e-signature capabilities directly within the business applications that sales teams are already using. Most importantly, they enable you to offer prospects and customers the ability to sign documents and agreements electronically—anywhere, anytime, and on any device. Your customers will applaud your efforts to make their interactions with you simple and convenient.

Tommy Petrogiannis is the CEO and cofounder of Silanis Technology.

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