Saving Sales and Staying Personal with eSignatures

FIs can utilize eSignatures to optimize a hybrid model while maintaining a sense of personalization amongst their community. Here's how.

Michael Ball

Michael Ball

Michael is the Senior Vice President of Markets and Strategy for IMM.

Financial institutions (FIs) today face an increasing number of hurdles, including a seemingly ever-growing competitive landscape. Neobanks, sometimes referred to as challenger banks, are making inroads into traditional banking turf, especially with younger generations that value the convenience and ease of digital and personalized platforms.

Bill Gates once stated, “banking is necessary, but banks are not.” With the new wave of banking alternatives entering the market every day, banks and credit unions cannot afford to give up any ground in the hyper-competitive banking arena we live. A key priority for FIs should be making it as easy as possible for consumers to engage with their institution however, and whenever they want. This dilemma can be solved with the introduction of eSignatures.

Our recent white paper draws from over two decades of experience working with more than 1,500 US banks and credit unions, highlighting eSignature best practices that we’ve found to effectively deliver an elevated consumer experience. Let’s consider a few of those opportunities in a condensed form that will allow FIs to personalize services and elevate consumer satisfaction.

Closing the Last (and Hardest) Mile

Businesses across the economic landscape wrestle with the last mile problem- a challenge similar to the one Amazon wants to solve with drones and autonomous delivery robots. And FIs are no different. Whether the problem refers to getting goods to the consumer’s doorstep or securing a signature to clinch a finalized agreement, the final 5% of the journey is usually the hardest.

A distinction of fully digital banking services is the capability to complete the entire process digitally. In today’s world of instant gratification, FIs must be ready to meet a consumer’s needs, whether that be opening a new account or finalizing a loan, the moment that the thought occurs to them. These thoughts are more likely to come to the consumer while they are sitting at home on the couch rather than the moment they are driving to a branch. This occurrence illustrates the importance of convenience within modern banking.

Many banks and credit unions have done a great job enabling product research on their app or website. However, the workflow often breaks down when it’s time to complete and sign a document. Printing, scanning, mailing or even making an unplanned trip to the branch are all steps that introduce friction into the consumer journey. They create the opportunity for a prospect to think, “I’ll do this later,” and never return to the task. Consumers may lose interest in the product they were considering or discover an alternative that catches them at a more convenient time and provides a more user-friendly process.

eSignatures enable consumers to proceed on a real-time basis without unnecessary barriers when a product resonates with them. While eSignatures make it easier on the consumer, the FI benefits as well. eSignatures eliminate the need to log and route incoming paper, allowing FIs to review the application sooner and reduce response time. A quicker answer equates to a higher likelihood of a closed deal and happier customer.

While many enjoy the convenience of a fully digital experience, some consumers still prefer to visit the branch for expert advice and/or high-touch service. Even more will probably opt for a hybrid experience, starting the process at home and finishing in branch, or vice versa. Deploying eSignatures across both settings is an essential step in creating that coveted omnichannel experience that consumers crave. Offering options is crucial when appealing to the modern banking consumer.

Self-Service  Impersonal Service

Community banks and credit unions often regard personalized service as a key competitive advantage over larger institutions and fintech challengers. This valuable strategy can also be entirely compatible with digital self-service. The key to an omnichannel experience is flexibility. The consumer should decide how and when they want to engage with their FI.

Some consumers believe an optimal experience is accessing forms from a website, eSigning and returning them digitally without needing to pick up the phone or visit a branch. For this group, there’s no benefit in forcing someone who prefers self-service simplicity into a high-touch model. For those who like an in-branch concierge interaction, an integrated eSign process will still speed up back-office processing, generating benefits for these individuals as well.

While banks and credit unions face barriers in today’s market, your FI can remain competitive by offering different and personalized experiences that attract consumers on an individual-to-individual basis. 

You’ll find greater detail on these topics and more in our white paper, The Ultimate Guide to eSignatures for Financial Institutions, which offers a straightforward look at several opportunities to turbo-charge your FIs experience to respond to market disruptors.

Download the Ultimate Guide to eSign for FIs


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