The “Customer Spotlight” series shines a light on DocuSign customers who are benefiting from improving their business processes with digital signatures.
Over the last two years, A2Dominion has sped up the signing of tenancy agreements with DocuSign. Area manager, Paul Thomas, talked to us about how digital signatures have become part of the furniture in the private rental sector.
Paul, can you provide a bit of background on A2Dominion and your role?
A2Dominion is what we would call a residential property group with a social purpose. We have almost 37,000 properties in management. That ranges from properties that we rent out at as social housing, those we build and sell on the open market, student and NHS accommodation, and, the area I’m involved in, the private rental sector.
What was the motivation behind deploying DocuSign?
We’ve always worked in private rent and, as our portfolio grew, we realised that some of our internal processes could be better in terms of the way we handled paper, the speed, and double-handling involved with paperwork.
We were waiting for tenants to email documents back and had to chase, which is obviously time-consuming. I felt that if we introduced a service where documents go out electronically, then we could see where tenants were at any given point in that process, from viewing to signing them.
Internally, we went to the IT team and put a business case forward. It was accepted but limited to my part of the business. Going forward, it’s part of a much bigger two to four-year change programme.
How are you using DocuSign at A2Dominion?
In terms of DocuSign, it’s used within the private rental properties that we both own and manage. It’s being used for correspondence in relation to tenancy agreements, management, set-up, and supplementary documents such as right-to-rent information. At the moment, we use two or three templates. Sometimes there is information that must be read and a corresponding record that the recipient has read it so that we have evidence should it go to court, for example.
During your search for a digital signature solution, what made DocuSign stand out?
To be honest, it was partly because I knew other companies in the sector were using DocuSign and partly because you can take a free trial and road-test it. It seemed the easiest to navigate and to use.
Can you describe the types of Return on Investment (ROI) you’ve seen using DocuSign, compared to what you were doing previously?
Most documents come back within 24 hours, whereas before we would have had to chase over email and phone. Sometimes things happen very last minute; someone decides they want to rent a property, then referencing starts and that can take a while, and then the tenancy start date can be looming and they haven’t signed any paperwork, so we need to get that out quickly. We can say to someone, “Wherever you are, we can get it to you straight away. All you have to do is look at it, click a button and send it back.”
What do you value most about your experience so far using DocuSign? Are there any particular features that stand out?
The supplementary documents feature is great. Having uploaded documents into templates, for me what’s also really good is the version control. I know that’s not particularly a DocuSign feature, but it allows me to manage the forms that people are using. Whereas there used to be ten different versions of tenancy agreements in circulation, now the latest version within DocuSign is the one we use.
Also from an input point of view, it’s really good that we’re able to auto-populate data fields. That reduces time.
What has the user and customer feedback been like?
We have had people say the sign-up process is very smooth and quick and that would, in part, be a reflection that people can sign documents electronically. It can go out and come back quickly and it’s not onerous.
Internally, we hear the same. Anecdotal feedback from people is that DocuSign is really good. It does what we want it to do. It’s set up and ready to go. All people have to do is input small amounts of data and then send it off, whereas before it required manual configuration.
Finally, what advice would you offer to other businesses considering integrating digital signatures?
I would say that we should have done it sooner. For what you pay for the service, the payback is really good. It’s just become a part of what we do. The sooner that people look at it and look at the benefits, the better.