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How To Use Email To Improve Collections & The Invoicing Process

“Did you get my email?”

Such a simple sentence, yet the meaning or reason why someone didn’t get it can vary wildly. We use email today for everything from delivering invoices, confirmation of online account creation, medical prescriptions that are ready to pick up at the pharmacy, alternatives to traditional mail and even connections to people in your social media network.

So let’s look into what the reasons might be, how we improved our internal processes with our invoicing practices and how we ate our own cooking in using DynECT Email Delivery in improving all of it.


There are many reasons why someone may not get your email, ranging from:

  • Message being flagged as SPAM
  • Destination email server is down
  • Destination user’s email box is at quota
  • Destination user’s email address doesn’t exist (as they no longer work there or the address changed)
  • Your company’s SMTP server’s IP address has been blacklisted

Our Customers Weren’t Getting Our Invoices

As our customers know, Dyn sends all invoices via email, done partially to control postage costs and because we aim to be environmentally conscious and don’t want to needlessly kill trees. However, relying solely on email as a delivery mechanism has its challenges. We noticed that we could go months without successfully reaching someone regarding billing inquiries which was obviously problematic.

So, we asked ourselves a few questions:

  • Why are our invoices not being delivered?
  • How can we improve the likelihood that our invoices actually reach the intended destination?
  • Can we get more insight into the “undeliverable” default bounce messages we get sent?

As we reached out to other contacts at our customers, we noticed they were saying a few things over and over again:

  • “We never got that invoice.”
  • “Jane Doe no longer works here. Please update your contact information to ap@example.com.”
  • “Our apologies: your invoices got marked as SPAM so we didn’t see it.”
  • “Sorry, my email inbox was full and rejected your invoices so I never saw it.”

What We Did To Fix It

As we thought about these customer responses, we realized the solution was simple. We updated our billing system to send all emails through our own DynECT Email Delivery system. Our billing system was created and set up prior to our acquisition of SendLabs (now Mill33) which was the underlying technology in DynECT Email Delivery. It was quite easy to change the SMTP email gateway to allow this functionality.

After we made the update, we immediately had very powerful information from a billing and collections standpoint. As you can see in the images below, we could see how many emails we sent and how many were bounced.

This first image shows total email sends and high level statistics:

This next image shows a list of email addresses that bounced and the reasons why (email addresses masked):

Armed with this information, we are able to reach out to alternate contacts at our customers and get better / new contact addresses to send invoices to or have our billing email address whitelisted with.

When drilling into a reason, the code shows why that email bounced:

Results

We have noticed the use of this tool is extremely effective for billing and collections management. We are proactive in reaching out to our customers who we know didn’t get the invoices instead of waiting 30 days or more and wondering why payment wasn’t sent yet. It has improved our cash flow as more of our invoices are getting to the intended recipients and alerts us to those customers who might have turnover in the department.

If your business relies on electronic invoicing, I would strongly recommend you look at integrating the DynECT Email Delivery platform in your billing process. Need an education? Let’s talk!


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Whois: David DePiano

David DePiano is a Sr. Business Systems Analyst for Dyn, the world leader in Internet performance solutions. Follow him on Twitter: @DDepiano and @Dyn.