Over the years, many people have asked: “What’s in a name?” The answer, as you might expect, will vary depending on the name in question. For instance, if it’s a Danish name, the answer is probably, “eighteen vowels”; if it’s the product name, “Smartfood,” then the answer is “50% lies”; and if it’s “eSignatures,” then the answer is “much much more than you think.”
With such a simple term—an archaic oldie with an unassuming ‘e’ on its nose—it’s easy to underestimate the extensive impact a robust digital document platform can have on your commercial prosperity as a whole. From customer experience all the way to operational efficiency and sales conversion, eSignature technology (done properly) sits atop a stack of software that strengthens the backbone of business. The benefits drive much deeper than a dotted line, so if you’re not doing your docs with digital ink, it’s about time you consider the list of things you’re leaving on the table…
eSignatures: Seamless Customer Experience
As McKinsey & Company wrote in an extensive study they conducted, there are three ‘C’s to customer satisfaction: consistency, consistency, consistency. By optimizing a consistent journey for clients and prospects, you have “the potential not only to increase customer satisfaction by 20 percent but also to lift revenue by up to 15 percent while lowering the cost of serving customers by as much as 20 percent.”
Incorporating electronic signatures into a purchase or onboarding experience allows you to maximize consistency in two big ways: ensuring that customers never feel removed from the supportive online harness of your brand (i.e., no sending someone off to some weird 3rd party site or half-broken printer to execute an agreement), and providing them the flexibility to manage important documents within the familiar interfaces of their favorite platforms (i.e., if they use Dropbox or Google, don’t make them change).
For example, HelloSign, the #1 ranked eSignature solution for SMBs and mid-market businesses, has an API that allows companies, with minimal technical effort, to embed signable electronic documents right into your website. Transferring people to the docs (though they’re actually hosted by HelloSign) is a seamless experience; logos and colors are entirely customized to match your brand perfectly, and no random URLs will appear in the browser bar.
The company also offers integrations with platforms like Google, Dropbox, Evernote and OneDrive. When synced with Dropbox or Google Drive, for example, documents can be shared, signed and then automatically stored right in those interfaces—no need to push people out of their comfort zone into some foreign, ambiguous doc management experience. They even offer a quick-sign option right from the body of a personal email in Gmail.
eSignatures: Efficiency, Retention and Conversion
As people who have all, at some point or another, been consumers themselves, it’s easy to confine the concept of eSignatures to contexts outside the walls of your company. The reality is though, that something as fundamental as agreements and contracts has no border; the benefits of effectively managing that particular cornerstone of commerce greatly affects what happens both inside and outside your company. Take HR processes, for example—something every company has to handle in one way or another.
In one study by Cedar, they showed that with HR automation, a company could reduce HR administrative costs by an average of 60%. Introducing a painless, simple, easily repeatable and digitally dependable eSignature workflow for new hires, contractors and partners, ensures that operational dollars are being consistently saved by being intelligently spent; the goal is to permanently streamline, not perpetually stabilize.
The importance of experience, as discussed above, also comes into play with internal operations, recruitment and onboarding; providing exceptional experience from the very beginning has a ripple effect in a company. Research has shown that a strong onboarding program can drastically improve time-to-productivity ratios and reduce employee turnover from 44% to 14%; that’s more than a 200% improvement that can translate into tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the size of your organization.
From ensuring that your processes are mobile friendly (about 50% of people use their smartphones to complete applications), to eliminating unnecessary steps and errors (e.g., automatic data validation in form fields), all the way to simply impressing and appreciating someone by extending efficiency, you can make a very big impact with what seems like a little bit of technology.
Sharing similar traits, these kinds of conversion effects can be seen when stepping outside company walls into the world of sales and account management. One SaaS company, Brokermint, leveraged the HelloSign API to seamlessly incorporate an eSignature workflow into their software product for real estate companies, brokerages and firms. Since their prospects were used to using between 7 and 12 different software tools just to manage and close a single deal, Brokermint was sure that offering to clients and prospects an easy, consolidated set of tools and experiences to close business would help drive sales of their own product. They were right; sales of the Brokermint platform increased 23% after integrating the eSignature module.
eSignatures: Confidence & Security
There are just some things that should not be left entirely to human hands, whether they be holding, handling, clicking or confirming. Sensitive, legal documents are one of those things. Office employees can be organized, intelligent and specialized—even seasoned in corporate sensitivities—but what they can’t be is designed precisely to always avoid the inevitable perils of ad-hoc information exchanges and a bespoke communication infrastructure.
That’s a big reason why electronic document platforms were created; it’s a big reason why the US government energetically endorsed them through legislation in 2000; and it’s the main reason why the Forrester anticipates the number of eSignature transactions to jump from 210 million in 2014 to 700 million in 2017.
Companies like HelloSign have spent thousands of hours building bank-grade security—not to mention a top-notch team—to support the exchange and execution of digital contracts and agreements. All documents and connections are encrypted; the platform and all its stored data is hosted in a SAS70 Type II, SSAE 16 facility with ISO 27001 certification (that’s so secure you can barely say it); all data is replicated in multiple data centres with an overall ‘nine 9s’ system uptime and accessibility standard; and there’s a comprehensive audit trail logged, timestamped and stored for each transaction and each party.
eSignatures: The Bottom Line
We get it—it’s a simple word. eSignatures. It’s just an electronic version of that thing your grandmother scribbles on her checks for the cable company, right? Wrong. It’s the tip of the iceberg atop a whole slew of infrastructure anchors that enable optimal customer experience, efficient internal operations, consistent client conversion, and invaluable commercial confidence.
If companies appropriately adopt and commit to a top tier eSignature platform, it’s about performance, not penmanship. It’s about bottom lines, not dotted lines. It’s about confidence and corporate character just as much as it is about clicks and convenience. When you’re signing a piece of paper and the word, “eSignatures” starts swirling around in your head, it might sound small, but once you really understand what it means, you can’t help but think big.
This piece has been sponsored by HelloSign. Thank you for supporting the partners who support SnapMunk.
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Tammy Catchings says
Great article! There are many advances in the tech world that make me wonder if they are the right thing to do, however, this one is a simple go ahead in my opinion.
Norris Simpkins says
I know some might not really like the idea of an electronic signature, but I think we have evolved enough to allow it on certain documents. I feel secure enough today about it.
Sara Levy says
I would agree that this is a sign of growth, but wouldn’t you agree also that this is coming around a little later than it should have?
Patrick Felker says
As a form of efficiency, I can see a lot of industries really taking a liking to this type of signature. Great article!