3 ways electronic signatures can improve customer experience and drive business impact

By Pete Kluge

Posted on 11-12-2020

Seventy-two percent of Internet users say they would consider abandoning a brand that provides a disconnected customer experience. For many organizations, document approval and signature workflows are essential parts of that customer experience, and they often come at a critical time: when a person is ready to transact.

To improve the customer experience, as well as reduce costs and automate processes, many businesses are shifting from manual, paper-based processes to e-signature workflows. Think about how many times you’ve already been asked to approve an agreement, such as mortgage and credit card applications, doctor visit patient forms, home and car insurance policies or claims information, purchase and warranty agreements, and government forms.

The pandemic has only accelerated the need for contactless signatures and a shift to electronic processes to maintain business continuity. Indeed, according to a recent Forrester report, 60 percent of business and technology leaders said e-signatures are a critical requirement in supporting business continuity.

It’s also important to note that document signing workflows not only improve the customer experience, but they can pay dividends for businesses. In another study, Forrester found that organizations using signature workflows achieved a 420 percent return on investment and a 28X faster time-to-business.

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Let’s look at three ways that businesses use online signature workflows to deliver exceptional customer experiences and improve business outcomes.

Delivering an end-to-end connected digital customer onboarding experience

Today’s consumers expect brands to deliver personalized experiences and relevant content across every digital channel. The electronic signing of an agreement should be considered an experience in and of itself, just like any other touchpoint across the digital customer journey. It’s also one of the most important touchpoints: marking the transition from prospect to customer, completing the end-to-end customer onboarding journey, and truly beginning the customer relationship.

TSB Bank, for example, successfully transformed its customer onboarding experience by moving from offline document signing to digital-only, thus creating an end-to-end online journey for its personal and business banking customers who can now transact online without needing to go into a branch office for document approval or signatures. In just eight weeks the bank successfully released 18 digital forms and processed over 80,000 interactions online.

Similarly, the State of Oklahoma is going all in on digital to deliver exceptional frictionless experiences to its customers — Oklahoma residents. The state’s citizens are heading online more now due to COVID-19, according to state of Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell. Oklahoma enabled automated electronic signatures that support contactless document approvals for services such as incorporating a business or getting a fishing license.

“When they need to connect with our agencies, the expectation is much higher now,” said Pinnell.

Increasing efficiency by shifting to digital workflows

Shifting from paper-based manual processes to online workflows can result in reduced costs and greater efficiency for a business.

Consider the impressive transformation by HSBC, a 100-year-old global financial business with 37 million customers. HSBC recognized the need to shift from legacy paper-based processes to digital, not only for its significant cost savings, but also to keep pace with competitors that offered frictionless online processes. By digitizing its document process, HSBC saw significant efficiencies and performance over paper-based processes.

“We have seen in paper-based journeys in the past, ones that are very valuable to us as an organization, 50% return rates on documentation. They are now running at 80-plus percent when they are delivered as an electronic signature,” said Craig Johnson, global head of multichannel and staff tablets at HSBC. “That translates to many zeros on the revenue case that goes with it – not just the cost-benefit case.”

Leverage integrations with enterprise applications to accelerate the signing process

Most organizations regularly use enterprise applications from the likes of Microsoft, Workday, and SAP, among others – to power their businesses. With electronic signing, they can activate signature workflows and send out agreements directly from common apps. They can also automatically prefill documents with CRM data so they don’t need to be manually completed, which streamlines the signature process to close deals faster.

In one example, Hitachi Solutions Europe activates its agreements, including consulting agreements, work orders, and legal documents, directly from Microsoft Dynamics 365 using an integration with signature workflows. Doing so has resulted in a reduction in contract turnaround times of 80 percent, from 10 days to two.

Electronic signatures improve the customer experience and business outcomes

Document signing is arguably one of the most important experiences in a customer journey, marking the passage of a prospect to a customer and often closing a transaction or agreement. Suffice to say, it’s critical that businesses don’t disappoint. By ensuring they deliver a stellar customer experience so close to the finish line, brands can realize the benefit of higher conversion rates and faster times to business.

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Topics: Digital Transformation, Productivity, Future of Work, Insights & Inspiration, Customer Stories, Government, Financial Services, High Tech, Digital Foundation, Document Cloud, Forms and electronic signatures for government

Products: Experience Cloud, Document Cloud, Sign,