Adopting eSignatures is one of the easiest and most powerful ways companies drive their digital transformation goals. The term digital transformation is very broad and often overwhelming to organizations, even those that are committed to innovation.
Everyone wants to know which technologies will bring the highest ROI in the most cost-effective manner. The good news is that many eSignature providers offer a bundle of scalable and turnkey solutions that help support customer-facing interactions. By bypassing paperwork-heavy processes and allowing customers to provide their eSignature remotely, companies reduce turnaround times, improve agent productivity, increase conversions, and boost their NPS.
What makes eSignatures different?
The most obvious (and tautological) difference between electronic signatures and wet signatures is that eSignatures allow companies to collect customer consent through digital means. Whereas a wet signature requires agents and customers to print, fill out, and sign forms, eSignatures do away with the physical aspects of the transaction.
According to the ESIGN Act of 2000, a signature cannot be invalidated merely on the grounds that it was signed electronically. In other words, this Act made eSignatures and wet signatures carry equal legal weight. Since then, the vast majority of transactions can be completed through eSignature without any legal repercussions or compliance issues. In fact, as we will soon see, eSignatures often have a distinct advantage when it comes to compliance.
On the technological side, eSignatures are different because they don’t rely merely on a person’s handwriting to determine the authenticity of a signer’s identity. The most advanced category of eSignatures, called digital signatures, use cryptography to ensure the integrity and authenticity of the signature.
When a person provides an eSignature, two mathematically connected keys are generated: a private key, which belongs to the signer, and a public key, which is shared with the person who needs to open the electronic document.
When the recipient receives the digital document, they use the signer’s public key in an attempt to decrypt the digital signature. If the decryption process fails, that’s a sign that the signature did not come from the person who was supposed to sign.
The next thing the receiver of the document will do is check the integrity of the document. If the formula generated, called a hash, is the same as the one the sender used, this provides assurance that the document wasn’t tampered with during the delivery process.
Finally, documents containing eSignatures are all time-stamped and come with a paper trail, ensuring no tampering is possible even once the transaction is complete. The document is then safely stored in the company’s CRM.
In comparison, wet signatures simply rely on the appearance of a person’s signature to confirm a match. In a court of law, it can sometimes be challenging to prove the authenticity of a signature, particularly in cases where the signature is simple or otherwise easy to imitate. This is not possible when it comes to eSignatures, which rely on additional security measures to ensure the integrity and authenticity of the consent.
How eSignatures help promote digital transformation
As we’ve seen, eSignatures have equal legal weight and are far superior to wet signatures when it comes to ensuring compliance and security. Now let’s discuss what makes eSignatures the clear choice where digital transformation is concerned.
Here are some of the biggest advantages eSignatures have when it comes to digitization:
- Promotes remote services: One of the hallmarks of digital transformation is that customers are able to buy products or be served regardless of their location. It doesn’t matter if customers are at home, on the train, or waiting in line somewhere. If they want to receive service from a company, they don’t need to worry about showing up at a specific location at a specific time. With a simple and intuitive signing process on their smartphones that’s submitted to the company, the transaction is finalized.
- Improves agent productivity: Far too often, call center agents spend more time processing paperwork and dealing with administrative aspects of their jobs, and not enough time on higher-order activities, such as providing guidance and advice to customers. With eSignatures, agents can move past the logistical stuff faster, freeing up their time for activities that can’t simply be automated.
- Makes adoption of other frontend tools a no-brainer: eSignatures go along with other closely related frontend tools, such as eForms, eDocuments, digital payments, and photo ID verification. By committing to using eSignatures, adopting other tools will only make logical sense. Digital transformation is most effective when it’s applied to the entire customer journey — eSignatures can often be a good first step. Once their value is proven, it’s much easier to take on other digitization initiatives.
- Suits all digital channels: Traditionally, eSignatures were provided on documents sent via email. However, this is no longer the case. Next-generation eSignature solutions are optimized for both web and mobile. Customers who prefer to sign on the computer can still do so, but many will prefer to sign on their mobile phone as the latest eSignature solutions are mobile optimized and no longer rely on clunky PDFs. All a customer needs is a smartphone that receives SMS, and they can provide their signature effortlessly.
The bottom line
eSignatures have held the same legal standing as wet signatures for 20 years now, and their security capabilities are now superior to that of wet signatures. This makes them a no-brainer choice for businesses that are committed to promoting a digital transformation.
Lightico offers a next-generation eSignature solution that allows agents to collect customer consent from the comfort of their mobile phone, all in a mobile-optimized environment. The eSignature capability is part of a wider turnkey solution that includes eForms, eDocuments, digital payments, and ID verification. Learn more at Lightico.com.