Trust, a paperless concept?

Nine in ten business leaders say that building and maintaining customer trust will provide the competitive advantage of the future. However, as we move away from using paper and in-person transactions to digital is trust increasing? According to the Edelman Trust Barometer for 2021 which was conducted with 33,000 respondents from over 27 countries, consumer trust in technology has actually declined. The overall barometer is still one of trust, with 70% trust in the technology sector overall - a drop of 6 percentage points since the 2020 survey. 

Consumer Trust in Technology 

Trust in technology actually reached an all-time low in 17 countries which included the UK, France and Germany - and tech is no longer the most trusted sector in the UK, France, Netherlands or Germany. In the UK and France respondents had a neutral barometer reading on trust in technology at 56% and 57%. German respondents still trust technology with a trust percentage of 60%. Consumers have a complicated relationship with technology and trust in tech does seem to have declined as a result of the pandemic. The Edelman Barometer report suggests that the biggest fears and concerns centre around job losses, hackers and cyber attacks. 53% worry that the pandemic will accelerate the rate at which companies replace human workers with AI and robots. There was an increase in worry across France, the UK and Germany.

The 2020 PWC Consumer Intelligence Series Trusted Tech Survey also suggests there is a mismatch between tech companies view of consumer trust and the consumer view. Only 12% of consumers said their trust in tech companies to proactively protect their information has increased in the last two years, whereas businesses said consumer trust has increased by 55%. However, there clearly are opportunities to increase trust for consumers - when responders to the survey were asked what companies should do to build or rebuild their trust in technology - the result was clear - be transparent and show that you are:

  • Pro-actively integrating privacy and security into products and services (39%)
  • Are including security experts in the design of each product (36%)
  • Encrypting consumer information and company databases (38%) 

Forward-thinking companies can give consumers the ability to ‘go paperless’ if they provide them with the privacy, security, transparency and control they need. Cybersecurity is an increasingly important part of building trust. 

Building Trust through secure Digital Tools

The use of electronic signatures grew exponentially during the pandemic because physical distancing made in-person wet signatures difficult, and many were transitioning to remote work without access to printers at home. In addition to basic signatures, which use encrypted two-factor authentication security measures and verifiable electronic audit trails, many e-signature platforms can facilitate more electronically secure forms of digital signatures, such as advanced or qualified electronic signatures. The increase in the use of electronic signatures suggests that trust is increasing as people are becoming used to adopting the technology. According to a study by Neopost France, over 74% of respondents have already used electronic signatures. 58% of those responding said that electronic signatures are just as legal as wet signatures, and 2 out of 3 say they trust electronic signatures. 65% of respondents said that using electronic signatures would save time.

Learn more about the importance of trust, data protection and privacy

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Introducing Electronic Signature into your Company

With DocuSign eSignature, organisations can complete contracts, approvals, and other agreements in minutes rather than days. It allows you to send and sign agreements securely from virtually any device. Up to 80% of agreements are completed in less than a day, and 44% in less than 15 minutes. 

Rolling out electronic signatures should be a collaborative process between key business stakeholders, legal and IT. You can start by defining the business requirements and the use cases for electronic signatures. Electronic signature platforms like DocuSign eSignature integrate with systems your organisation might already be using, like Salesforce, Google or SAP

Security and compliance are taken very seriously for electronic signature solutions, and the security that is in place can be communicated to customers to build trust. You can test electronic signatures on a smaller use case before rolling it out to the rest of the organisation.

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