By Phil Dawsey, Senior Product Marketing Manager
In retail today, customer experience is everything. Customers expect fast, convenient, technology-based experiences, but delivering that can be hard. According to Gartner, only 22% of retailers think they’re meeting these expectations. A big challenge is prioritizing what actions to take, because there’s a myriad of ways to improve the customer experience, such as building an efficient back office, introducing tech gadgets into stores, modernizing checkout, upgrading e-commerce sites, and offering options like BOPIS. The list goes on and on.
The problem is that many of these improvements carry significant risk and require long implementations before they’re ready for prime time. But…there’s one big area that’s easy to change, comes with low risk, and builds serious happy points with customers: contracts.
In this second installment of a four-part retail blog series, I dive into five ways to modernize your agreement process and customer experience.
#1 Service contracts
No one enjoys going through a manual service agreement process. Not the customer, and not the employee. So, creating a more convenient, more technology-forward experience—especially for a technology purchase—just makes sense. And that’s exactly what T-Mobile did.
They created a digital experience that untethered their associates from the kiosks and let them engage with customers anywhere in the store using an iPad. In real time and a couple of clicks, they automatically customize and build the right contract that the customer then signs using the same iPad. No printing. No scanning. No long waits.
If you’re a service-based business that requires contracts, this is an easy way to transform your customer experience. And if you take T-Mobile’s approach of testing it in a few stores first, and then slowly rolling it out to more locations and adding more capabilities, the risk is low.
CX benefit: Simpler signup process and immediate delivery of service.
#2 Finance agreements
At Kubota Tractor, many of the transactions are for large ticket items (like a tractor mower, smaller construction equipment, and home machines), and quite often customers finance the purchases. Prior to implementing DocuSign eSignature, that account opening process took 16 days. Now, it takes just four days.
So dramatic was the improvement, dealers were signing up to use it. There’s often resistance to digital processes especially in rural areas where many Kubota dealerships are located, but digital account opening was so much easier and faster that 99% of the dealers are now using the new process.
CX benefit: Faster signup and greater adoption.
When you have a nice watch that needs repairs, you go to a jeweler. But you’re not going to leave your $10,000 watch there without documentation that outlines the cost of repairs and the timeline. Using a paper-based workflow for this process is time consuming and can lead to incomplete information and lost papers—not the type of experience a high-end jewelry store wants to deliver.
One global jewelry brand transformed this customer experience by moving to digital. Not only are in-store estimates easier to process, customers can fill out the information and get a repair estimate online, reducing the time at drop off significantly. It also ensures customers sign repair contracts prior to work beginning, so everyone is clear on the process.
CX benefit: A more streamlined customer experience and the ability to offer omnichannel repair capabilities.
Prior to digitizing their process, installations at a leading residential solar company, often required multiple visits to a customer’s home and a lot of manual leg work and mailing of documents. Now, they go onsite one time to evaluate, build the quote, present what the installation will look like, and obtain the customer signature. This includes the utility documents necessary for connecting the installation to the utility grid.
In addition to a smoother customer experience, it’s also easier to comply with CPUC regulations for communicating with customers, and the company has a full audit trail of the entire transaction, further enhancing compliance.
CX benefit: Reduce high-cost field visits, speed up the sales process, and improve transparency and compliance.
Gym membership renewals are a great example of another way to improve the customer experience. Most of us aren’t consistent about going to the gym, which means it’s easy for us to forget when it’s time to renew. If that happens, we have to spend 20 minutes (or more) completing all the paperwork after we get to the gym and realize we don’t have a live membership, when all we really want to do is workout. Definitely a less-than-ideal customer experience.
Instead, automate that process, so reminders are sent via email, and members can renew online, streamlining the process for everyone and giving managers full visibility into turnovers and upsell opportunities. Several of the largest US gym chains (and other retailers like warehouse clubs) have already taken this step.
CX benefit: No lengthy renewals, no missed workouts for your customers, and no lost revenue for the gym when customers aren’t paying fees between live memberships.
For more information, check out the following resources:
- The 5 critical digital transformation initiatives retailers miss
- The Retail Makeover: New Systems for a Changing Retail Landscape
- The DocuSign Agreement Cloud for Retail
- T-Mobile delivers a simple subscription process with the DocuSign Agreement Cloud
- Kubota conducts a fast and convenient financing process with DocuSign
Also make sure to read my blog on Why digital contracting is a must-have for retailers during a trade war.