Are you following the etiquette for digital workflows?

It’s the digital equivalent of reading the instructions…when learning how to use new software, how many of us take the time to watch or read tutorials while taking notes and then applying what we’ve learned by diligently following step-by-step? In a world where our attention spans are rapidly decreasing, our guess is: not many.

However, learning the functions of a new technology or online tool is one thing. Another important element that has recently gained attention is how we interact with others when using these solutions, in other words: the etiquette.

What online etiquette means and why it’s important

When exciting new digital tools are presented that solve a pain point, it’s not uncommon for businesses and individuals to launch straight into using them.

But with tech like with many things in life, changes and advancements in the digital world affect how we interact with one another. Even with easy-to-use solutions, there are things to consider that often mirror how we would handle the same situation in an analog environment.

For example, with company digital transformations continuing to happen more rapidly than ever, handling of documentation such as contracts and onboarding has gone digital. Everything from sharing drafts to collecting verified electronic signatures is now possible online. So what does that mean for eSigning etiquette?

Electronic signatures and online etiquette

Online tools often help us skip a few steps of a process by allowing it to be more easily tailored and streamlined. But when it comes to contracts and signatures, similar steps should be taken into consideration as when working with a paper document.

How you start the process, follow up if needed, and ensure compliance for documents that need to follow regulation are all aspects of eSigning that require just a bit of forethought and preparation - as they would in the physical world.

Cultivating positive business relationships online is just as important today as the in-person equivalent, and often running a business involves documentation on many levels; from customers to partners, even to onboarding new employees.

Taktikal tips for eSignature etiquette

In building solutions around digital contracts and electronic signatures, we’ve come across a few…tactical ways to best manage workflows to foster positive business relationships in an online environment.

From the creation and handling of the document itself, to sharing it, to the follow up and final signatures, there are a few steps that can be taken that can easily become a simple habit when working with digital documents.

Creating the document:

  • Use clear, consistent language. This might seem like a given, but with habits tending towards more casual phrasing in our personal lives in the online space, this can trickle over into the professional space. It’s important that any important documents still retain the clarity and officiality used in paper documents.
  • Check drafts before sharing. Especially if working with legal documents or those concerning higher-risk content, having a lawyer read over the draft before sharing can prevent potential complications or costly corrections later on. Non-legal documents should, of course, also merit a second look before sharing.

Sharing the document:

  • Send the final draft to signees. You wouldn’t invite someone over for coffee and throw a finalized contract on the table. It’s often more appropriate to consult with them on the final draft and make any appropriate adjustments before the final version is sent for electronic signatures.
  • Use email to share the document. With access to our work and personal emails readily available on mobile devices, email is the easiest and most professional way to share a document that requires certain actions from the recipient such as eSigning. Sharing via SMS is also an option, however…see our tips on this below.

Following up after sharing the document:

  • Follow up via email or SMS. While it can be convenient, avoid sharing initially via SMS. It’s a less professional means to share and request signatures on important documents and can more easily be overlooked or discarded (as compared to an email). The smaller screen on a smartphone can also make it difficult to properly read over an important document.
  • However, using SMS messaging is a great way to communicate about time-sensitive topics. Brief reminders are a good example of a more strategic use of SMS.

While there are no rules around how we conduct ourselves online, there are still expectations of managing processes with respect and consideration for all involved. This is especially true in a fast-changing online business environment with exciting new solutions.

Working with software such as Taktikal to build online forms, share important documents, and collect authenticated digital signatures is a simple way to not only accelerate your company’s digital transformation, it also helps simplify previously tedious paper-based workflows.

Even with a faster, more streamlined solution, there are still professional guidelines to keep in mind - but with the time saving benefits and increased efficiency brought with digital solutions, the etiquette becomes just as fast and simple as getting a contract electronically signed in moments.