An element of admin for both parties, a requirement if you’re a RICS surveyor and something that is sensible to have in place even if you aren’t required to have them. It provides value to both sides – a clear understanding of what service you will deliver and what the customer can expect to get. There is nothing better than a clear and simple contract that puts both parties on the same page. Setting expectations from the start reduces the chance of disappointment, confusion and disputes later on in the process. Neither party wants to end up in the position and both parties want to be confident in what is happening.
The question then becomes, how do we best confirm that the customer has read them and understands what is being provided? A tick box on a website means they could read them and confirm straight away.. But as well all know, a box gets ticked on a website with the T&Cs rarely ever opened. An easy way to just ignore them and get moved on quicker to whatever comes next. Even if that was fine from a compliance perspective, you lose out on the value that terms bring.
Getting them signed makes sense then (considering how important they are). The customer has to open the terms up and make their way to the end to sign on that dotted line! If they then get a report that doesn’t include what they thought they were getting it’s really their fault (assuming your terms are clear, not all small print and you sold the service correctly over the phone).
Practically, providing terms mean this:
- You investing time personalising them for each customer
- Composing an email (and remembering to attach the terms!)
- The customer downloading them (we’ll assume we avoided the spam filter)
- Printing them out, reading and signing
- Scanning them back in to send back (avoiding your spam filter)
In other words… a lot of effort for both parties.
Signing documents electronically
I’m not suggesting you can make this something you and your customer enjoy, but you can take a lot of the aggravation out of the process. E-signing documents makes life much easier. The statistics prove it… E-signing documents can offer an 85% productivity improvement and 80% average error reduction (Forrester, eSignlive). Why? If integrated with your CRM, data can be automatically filled in your terms document removing unnecessary data entry and with that the chance of errors.
Your customer can sign your terms from their phone on a commute instead of having to get their printer working (a job that inevitably gets put off – we know ours is used so infrequently the cartridges have normally dried up). And importantly, like printed terms, they are legally binding. E-terms can be automatically emailed out to your customer after payment is made and signed copies can be emailed directly to both parties as soon as the sign button is pressed.
A smoother and quicker process, increased compliance and less time spent filling in forms and chasing them up. What are you waiting for? Hopefully not signed terms!