A self-service experience is one for which your business doesn’t have to do a lot of hand-holding for the end-user, but rather empowers them to complete a seamless buyer journey. Increasingly, consumers are doing their research online and evaluating solutions as they go along. They now want to be able to assess a product on their own and complete as much as of the buyer’s journey as possible without talking to someone else. It is your team’s job to ensure that these goods and services can be accessed without friction.
As a developer, it is your job to ensure that the user experience remains seamless and that the user can easily access the information or products that they need from your business. More importantly, you need to ensure that the contracts that users must agree to can be easily seen, accessed, agreed to, and stored for compliance needs. This can be a heavy lift as you design an excellent user experience design that doesn’t impede legal requirements (and vice versa).
Contracts present one of the more annoying hiccups in enabling a self-service flow, especially since legal isn’t your core competency. But there are ways to think about and activate specific agreements within user flow. How will you present terms with different clauses to meet specific regulations? How will you store these agreements should the need to enforce them arrive?
Here are some ways to enable a self-service experience in your app:
Becoming Self-Service: Contracts
Contracts are often a major pain point and reason for avoiding self-service flows. Typically manual and paper-based, traditional contracting takes too long and costs too much and has no place in self-service flows. Often, legal teams draft the different agreements, then hand them over to the technical team who is responsible for implementing these terms at different instances in the user flow. Additionally, accurate acceptance records and version control updates will need to be maintained which is a point of trouble for most homegrown solutions.
The key to enabling efficient self-service experiences is ensuring that the terms and other agreements set a solid foundation that keep them both secure and keep your platform easy to use. It seems impossible, but it isn’t.
Using Clickwrap to Present Contracts
Paper and pen are not feasible, and traditional eSignature doesn’t scale well with high-volume, fast-paced businesses. Presenting contracts using clickwrap allows you to move fast, and if implemented correctly, to maintain secure, court-ready records. A clickwrap is an online contract that you agree to by clicking a button or checking a box that says “I Agree.”
While clickwraps are most often used to present terms of service and other user agreements, they can present and store any standardized agreement that needs to be signed by multiple parties. Clickwrap agreements are as simple as a literal click of a button, and allow you to present standardized agreements to a large user base and manage acceptance events from customers.
Enabling standardization of documents and terms presented to customers while accounting for variable terms improves contracting efficiency. After working with legal on pre-structured terms, you can render data dynamically based on what the customer is buying. If, for example, the same agreement has to be signed by customers with different applicable terms, state-based legal requirements, or product needs, you would then dynamically present the agreement based on the unique needs of each user. This eliminates the need for constant back and forth that introduces friction into the buying process.
Seventy-two percent of B2B buyers want a self-service option to manage their online purchases. A cumbersome and unwieldy check out process can make the buyer abandon cart and look elsewhere.
Ease of use should always be your number one consideration, and contracts can often introduce fiction into the check-out flow. Online agreements need to be presented to a large user base in a way that allows them to accept it quickly and allows you to store key acceptance data. This means ensuring that the right types of contracts within your ecosystem are being activated
It is important for developers and technical teams to remember these best practices when enabling a self-service experience. When designing the experience, use clickwrap to present online agreements seamlessly and maintain recordkeeping. Using dynamic contracting to present variable terms is an efficient way to enable self-service. Doing this will allow your app or product to maintain its business flow and remain secure.