2022 Survey: Executives Miss Out on eSignature’s Potential
By Leor Melamedov
Lightico recently conducted an eSignature survey of 97 executives across a wide range of industries. We found that a substantial proportion of companies still refrain from using eSignatures at all. We will show what's holding them back, and what might help them overcome their reluctance.
Furthermore, among companies that already use an eSignature platform, many of them are not achieving maximum ROI. Speed of digital signature collection and completion rates leave room for improvement. For this group, we will explore some ways they can reach their eSignature goals.
eSignatures Not Yet Universally Embraced
The survey found that while electronic signature adoption is common, it’s far from universal. While 68% of executives say their company uses eSignatures, another 32% relies on pen-and-paper consent.
Of the companies that haven’t adopted eSignatures yet, 52% say it’s because “things are fine the way they are.” Given the breadth of industries surveys, it’s possible that some of these companies deal with large B2B contracts where speed and ease is not prized. Likely another proportion of executives who answered this way simply work at companies where people are more comfortable with traditional ways of getting things done. The company culture likely prizes continuity over innovation.
Another 23% of respondents avoid eSignature due to compliance concerns. In most cases, this is based on a misunderstanding of eSignatures. Given that eSignatures have held the same legal status as wet signatures since the ESIGN Act of 2000, this is notable. eSignatures can be used practically everywhere that wet signatures are used, including many legal documents. In many cases, eSignatures are more compliant since they often rely on tamper-proof technology with digital documents, use cryptographic technology to ensure authenticity, and come with an audit trail.
Finally, 19% of companies avoid eSignatures because they are “too expensive.” Given the wide range of eSignature providers out there today, and different pricing tiers including freemium, this is something that can be overcome. Companies should also consider the expense of paperwork-centric operations, such as maintaining printers, scanners, and fax machines, as well as the time waste of dealing with physical signatures.
Critically, most users of wet signatures never actively opted out of eSignatures. Only 20% of executives actually make a decision to avoid eSignatures. The vast majority of companies that don’t use an eSignature platform never even gave the issue consideration. Only when asked in the survey do they think reasons of why not.
eSignatures Don’t Always Live Up to Their Potential
eSignatures promised to do away with the hassles inherent to in-person, pen-and-paper signing. While eSignatures are almost always a step above wet signatures in terms of efficiency, executives are still missing out on their potential.
For example, nearly half (49%) of executives say it takes their company more than two hours to collect an eSignature. This is likely harming their business in some way, particularly if they are B2C (customer-facing) and deal with relatively large volumes of transactions. Most likely, these executives are working with a PDF-based, email-centric eSignature platform. These are at risk of landing in consumers’ spam folders or getting crowded by other emails.
PDF is also cumbersome for consumers to sign from a mobile phone, so the task is often put off until they are at a desktop computer. Sometimes consumers forget to sign, resulting in agents chasing them for signatures and losing more precious time.
Another issue uncovered by the survey is low eSignature completion rate. 17% of executives report a dismal 60-79% customer completion rate. Another 49% report an 80-99% completion rate — which sounds good, until you realize that even a relatively small proportion of ignored eSignature requests represents lost deals or lost customers. Only 20% of executives say eSignatures are returned 100% of the time.
Traditional eSignatures Aren’t Cutting It
A majority of executives (66%) use Docusign to send eSignature requests. While Docusign has a newly added mobile offering, it comes at an extra cost and isn’t widely used. Therefore most Docusign users are still using slower, email-centric eSignature requests — resulting in the slow turnaround time and subpar completion rates previously discussed.
Another 18% of executives use AdobeSign, which is PDF-based and not mobile-friendly. It’s likely that usage of this provider is behind much of lag time and failure to receive signed documents.
The Bottom Line
Businesses that work exclusively with other businesses (B2B) might be able to get away with using a PDF or email-centric eSignature platform. Even pen-and-paper signatures might be acceptable if there is a limited volume of transactions. But companies that are consumer-facing (B2C) cannot afford to rely on wet signatures or legacy eSignatures. Today’s consumers demand rapid and easy transactions — their expectations have been heavily shaped by the likes of Amazon, Netflix, and other consumer platforms.
To avoid losing deals and existing customers, B2C companies need to find a better alternative. Lightico’s Digital Completion platform allows agents to capture customer consent from any location through a text-message, web-based interface. eSignatures also fit into a greater workflow including eForms, document collection, ID verification, and more, ensuring speed and completion. To learn more, visit Lightico.com.
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