Digitize Liability Waivers for a Better Customer Experience

Businesses around the U.S. have begun to reopen with the lessening of social distancing measures in many areas. However, concerns over a COVID-19 resurgence are very real, making it daunting for businesses to safely reopen locations to customers and other visitors. Many companies have been circulating or posting COVID-19 risk disclaimers, asking visitors to complete symptom screening questionnaires, or requiring patrons to sign liability waivers before entering their physical premises.

Under the right conditions, waivers help to limit the claims or damages that a visitor could pursue against a business in the future. Waivers are being used to ensure customers know businesses are putting safeguards in place, while acknowledging customers are assuming risks inherently related to COVID-19 by participating in certain activities. For example, salons might require customers to sign a waiver that acknowledges they will be in close proximity to others which might increase exposure to the virus. An automotive retailer might require customers entering their dealerships to sign a waiver before shopping. Or a real estate agency might expect buyers and sellers to sign acknowledgement of risk forms before showing a property. 

Liability waivers are considered contracts and under certain circumstances are enforceable.

Manual processes create hassle for customers

Sending policy updates and forms to have an agreement of liability with visitors can be costly to the business, requiring repetitive document generation, as well as a method of tracking completion. This costs teams considerable time and resources to send, manage, and track agreements. What’s worse: emailing a static document to customers to be printed, signed, scanned and sent back is a tedious process for customers in the digital age who expect a seamless online experience.

While businesses like event venues and gyms mostly know which visitors will be attending in advance through ticketing systems or scheduling appointments, companies in retail or restaurant industries face the difficulties of distributing liability waivers or screening questionnaires to customers in real time on the premises. Asking visitors to review a hard copy checklist of symptoms or similar at the door is an untenable solution, especially given the CDC’s recommendations on limiting contact, that may cause customers to avoid that business. 

Digitized waivers simplify and improve the process

Digitized workflows and documents are a potential vehicle for supporting contactless waivers and screening questionnaires and providing an improved online customer experience. 

The bulk send functionality in DocuSign eSignature is the easiest way to send out agreements to a high volume of customers or members to complete and sign remotely. Simply import a customer loyalty or membership list, and each receives a unique, personalized copy of the waiver to sign – eliminating the need to create and send separate envelopes or emails. Reusable templates let you standardize your agreements and automate end-to-end data gathering with common fields and a clear click-to-sign signature box. You can also include freeform fields or add an attachment.

DocuSign PowerForms are the perfect method for pre-screening clients and visitors. Customers can easily access an online, self-assessment questionnaire, that can be completed at any time. A custom form is generated from their answers; the customer then can sign the waiver remotely from their own personal device (PC, tablet, phone). Powerforms are the most efficient way to create on-demand, self-serve documents for signature – and protect everyone who comes into your business, whether in advance of a visit or at the door.

DocuSign Click makes it easy to capture consent to liability waivers with a single click, creating a seamless customer experience while reducing business risk. Consent can be digitally captured "at the door,” via a tablet or a kiosk, or in advance online via a company’s website or apps. Easily update the terms in a waiver at any time, manage changes, and ensure customers have accepted the latest version of those terms with Click.

DocuSign’s solutions provide a detailed audit trail, so businesses can document evidence of liability waivers or consent forms with date, time, and other critical information in the Certificate of Completion, helping protect businesses in case of a future customer dispute (see “Are Electronic Signatures Admissible in Court”). Storage in our secure, encrypted cloud based environment allows businesses to manage and track completed forms across multiple, disperse locations, and track compliance with company policy at each store. 

Here to help

DocuSign is here to help as businesses navigate the challenges of reopening among the COVID-19 pandemic. Our solutions make it easy to send and sign visitor liability waivers and related forms for contactless screening and acknowledgement. 

To learn more about the admissibility of electronic signatures for liability waivers and other agreements or to learn more about how DocuSign is supporting businesses in the midst of the pandemic, please contact us.

This blog post is offered for general information purposes only. It does not constitute, and is not a substitute for, legal advice.

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