The automotive sector is poised for a revolution: on-demand mobility services such as car-sharing and e-hailing are rapidly gaining ground, and autonomous driving is beckoning on the horizon. In the face of these disruptive trends, traditional industry players are having to get smarter about how they market and sell to customers.
One of the UK’s leading automotive financing companies is rising to the challenge, embracing innovative digital technologies to pave the way to more efficient operations and a smoother sales experience.
The company’s Head of Infrastructure Services explained, “Every year, we help tens of thousands of people to lease and insure vehicles—and with that comes a great deal of paperwork to complete. For instance, loan contracts often span 20 pages on average. In the past, customers had to sign each page of the contract, and then staff at the dealership would scan or fax the document to our team, along with a copy of the customer’s driving license. Our underwriters would then review the submission and decide whether to approve the loan.
“The process was time-consuming and tedious for dealers and customers alike. What’s more, we often ran into issues with the quality of the faxes we received, meaning that staff at the dealership would have to re-submit documents, which created frustration and further delays. We wanted to find a solution that could help us manage vehicle financing documentation in a way that was fast, accurate and secure. This would make life easier for our dealers and improve the sales experience for customers—boosting their satisfaction and loyalty.”
The firm decided to cut paper from the vehicle financing process, and instead introduce a new, fully digital approach to capturing contract and customer information. The new solution is an electronic document identification and signature solution, powered by Kofax SignDoc technology.
“We evaluated several e-signature solutions and Kofax SignDoc just blew away the competition,” said the Head of Infrastructure Services. “First and foremost, the electronic signature quality was exceptional—it really looks and feels just like a wet signature. And beyond the technology, we connected well with the team from Kofax.”
Initially, the automotive financing firm used SignDoc in combination with signature pads. Customers would review the contract—either on a computer screen at a dealership or on paper—and then provide their electronic signature. In 2016, the company went mobile, deploying SignDoc on tablet devices at dealerships.
The Head of Infrastructure Services noted, “While our original solution dramatically cut down on the amount of paper involved in vehicle financing, the process still wasn’t as seamless as we would have liked. Some dealers were still printing out copies of contracts for customers to review, and we wanted to make it possible to complete the end-to-end process on a single device.”
Working with Kofax, the company developed an iPad app, which dealers use to log in securely to a website and bring up the electronic contract. Customers then scroll through the entire document and sign the relevant parts, straight from the iPad. The company has configured the solution so that customers cannot skip pages—it is only possible to submit the contract once every page has been scrolled through and every relevant part of the contract has been signed. Finally, the dealer takes a photo of the customer’s driving license using the iPad, attaches it to the contract and uploads everything to back-end systems for processing.
The company has chosen to deploy the Kofax software on-premises, as the Head of Infrastructure Services explained: “We felt that an on-premises deployment was the best fit for our needs. For us, there are still potential data security and compliance risks with the cloud hosting model, and we felt more confident and in control running SignDoc behind our firewall, on our own servers and hosted in our own data center.”
Embracing e-signature technology has already helped the automotive financing firm to accelerate processes and boost efficiency—and the company expects to extend these benefits even further with its new mobile capabilities.
The Head of Infrastructure Services said: “Going digital has enabled us to cut the time taken to capture customer contracts and supporting documentation from 20 to 30 minutes to just 2 to 3 minutes—a 90% improvement. Employees at dealerships have been freed from the burden of handling paper, and have more time to focus on interacting with their customers. Reducing reliance on paper is also helping dealerships drive down costs and operate in a much more environmentally friendly way.
“What’s more, the boost to productivity has enabled us to take on a significant increase in business volumes. Whereas we previously handled around 50,000 contracts annually, we are now processing upwards of 100,000 contracts a year. We have been able to do so while maintaining lean staff levels, so the extra business delivers major improvements to our bottom-line.”
Crucially, the new approach is helping dealerships shape a more convenient sales experience, providing an efficient and secure way for customers to complete contracts. Additionally, making the most of cutting-edge digital services and mobile technology helps the firm and its partners strengthen their image as innovators, enhancing competitiveness.
The Head of Infrastructure Services concluded, “We are making it quicker and easier for customers to apply for new contracts, all while bolstering the security of the process. There’s no need to worry about paper getting lost in the shuffle, and e-signatures are highly secure and trustworthy, as they’re much more difficult to forge or tamper with than wet signatures.
“The new approach also helps our dealers appear more professional and up-to-date; it looks much better to present a customer with a slick tablet instead of a stack of paperwork. By investing in leading technology like Kofax SignDoc, we can set ourselves apart from competitors as a forward-looking company that is ready to meet the needs of modern consumers. That is helping our company and our partners to remain relevant and successful in a fast-changing world.”