When the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (ESIGN) Act was passed by U.S. congress in 2000, it legitimized the use of electronic signatures in contracts for all 50 U.S. states. Up until this point, the legitimacy of electronic signatures was determined at the state level. This federal law cleared the way for businesses to adopt electronic signatures, providing an efficient alternative to printing, signing, and faxing contracts.

The Promise

Many businesses were right to get excited about this new alternative because electronic signatures promised:

  • Faster workflows
  • Cleaner documentation
  • Lower operating costs

The Problem

There’s just one problem: the benefits of electronic signatures can never be fully realized without customers actually signing online. How do we get customers to sign contracts electronically? Businesses can make electronic signatures available to customers, but they cannot control how the customer decides to sign the contract. You can’t force them to sign online, but you can influence them towards the desired course of action.

The Solution

1. Understand the Barriers

What prevents customers from signing contracts electronically? Before doing anything, you should try to understand what barriers prevent people from adopting the feature. Barriers can take many forms, from security concerns to false beliefs about productivity. The barriers depend on your customer. Ask them and listen, intently.

2. Develop a Strategy

Do you remove the barrier or give customers the tools to navigate it? Once you’ve figured out what prevents your customers from adopting electronic signatures, your strategy should come easy. Why? Because your strategy should be based on your barrier:

  • Is it a usability issue? Redesign the page or reposition some buttons
  • Is it an awareness issue? Educate your customers
  • Is it a security issue? Add encryption and educate your customers
  • Is it a false beliefs issue? Educate your customers, courteously

(Admittedly, I’m simplifying this entire process.)

3. Create a Measurement Plan

How will you know if your efforts were successful? The success of any digital effort should be backed by cold, hard facts. When it comes to electronic signatures, you can measure adoption rates. But you can also translate adoption rates into cost savings estimates. First you’ll need to know:

  • Number of contracts you process each year
  • Average length of time it takes to process each contract
  • Average time savings for electronic signature vs. hard copy
  • Average hourly wage of a contract processor

4. Refine the Process

How can you improve the results? This one is easy. Test, test, and test some more. Here are two ways to do just that: Before your campaign goes live:

  • Benchmark against current adoption rates
  • A/B test campaign performance with a limited release
  • Release variant with best performance metrics

After your campaign goes live:

  • Identify your lowest performing metrics
  • Develop an optimization plan that aims to improve those metrics
  • Re-launch campaign with new tests

Final Thoughts

Before you go nuts trying to get everyone to electronically sign, do the math. Check your current adoption rates and figure out how much each signature is worth to your organization. If you need help getting started, contact 1WasteProfile. 1WasteProfile can help you process more contracts, reduce operating costs, and minimize human error on a safe and secure platform.