The business models of retail banks have changed. As a rule, they now have digital technology at the heart of all their products and sales channels.

We’ve witnessed the development of multi-channel services as a response to the demand of ever-changing customers who no longer want to go their local branch for minor services. The customer experience has moved online as a result and, therefore, the branches have become supplementary.

Jumping the Final Hurdle

Until recently, many of the major banks still used physical documents for the final and, arguably, most critical part of process when it comes acquiring new customers and keeping current ones: the creation and the signing of documents.

This is important considering customers, especially in the banking sector, are once more growing less satisfied with the service they are receiving. But things are starting to change.

Now, the last link in the customer relationship chain – the paperless transaction – is finally possible across all channels. The customer experience is 100% paperless and unhindered.

One of the first paperless customer experiences goes back to 2006 with the online subscription of loyalty cards and customer credit insurance. This was offered by the French bank, Credit Agricole Consumer Finance, these products incurred no legal or business risk. However, they allowed the company to test the technical concepts, legality, and of course the customer experience related to digital signatures. Today at Credit Agricole, every product on every channel is fully digital.

Swapping Paper for Pixels

Facing high branch costs, many major banks endeavor to generate new concepts that will reduce administrative costs in order to keep pace with their nimble challengers. In seeking to optimise their business processes, tablets have emerged in-branch with the objective to streamline financial services products.

Thus, during the transaction, customers can sign their contracts via a tablet instead of signing on a printed form. The electronic document is automatically sent to their personal online account for a quick, easy and secure transaction.

This ambitious initiative has been implemented by several banking groups in Europe. The objectives are to:

  • Ensure secure transactions
  • Reduce administrative and archiving costs
  • Integrate with back office applications
  • Streamline the customer experience

This phenomenon is intensifying, as the banks begin to experience success. More and more projects are being lead by smart devices as a digitisation tool for supporting documents, with the goal of replacing printers and scanners in branches.

While this aspect is crucial to the future success of the larger, more established banks, it is the tip of the iceberg in terms of digitisation within their businesses as a whole. The key differentiators separating the challenger banks such as Metro and Atom and their businesses is that they are digital-first for everything.

While there are processes in place for the larger banks to embrace digital technologies, it is imperative that this advancement spreads across the different departments. As competition in the sector intensifies, pertinent and measured disposition of technology will be vital to improving levels of customer satisfaction and, consequently, retaining and growing market share.

Be Boundless: Drive Global Business with eSignatures

The eIDAS regulation, effective 1st July 2016, opens the door for businesses operating in continental Europe to realise the speed, transparency, security and financial benefit of digital services with a simplified and standardised approach to electronic signature. Join Richard Oliphant, DocuSign General Counsel EMEA, as he explains how you can best capitalise on this new opportunity and what the new regulation means for your business, whether in the UK, or the EU.