Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Emails Sent Tracking

Bill & Pay includes tools to track the delivery of all the emails sent for your business including new invoice notifications, payment due and over due reminders, and payment confirmations.

Email Log


Bill & Pay retains a one month log of all email messages sent to your customers on your behalf. What we log:
  • What customer an email was sent to
  • The customer's email address the email was sent to
  • The date and time and it was sent
  • The subject and content of the email message
  • The invoice file attachment included with the message
Your business may have a need to retain sent email logs for a period of time longer than one month. Please contact customer service to inquire about increasing the duration of email log retention.

View by Customer


To view all of the emails sent to a specific customer go to that customer's page in Bill & Pay and click the "Emails Sent" button.

The Customer Emails Sent page will list all of the emails in your sent email log with the status of the email, the date and time the email was sent, the email address the email was sent to, and the subject of the email.

Click on any of the emails in the Customer Emails Sent list to view the email details. The details page will show you the email message the way it looked to your customer when they received it. If there was an attachment with the email, such as an invoice PDF, then you will also be able to view the file that was attached to the email.

Reporting


You can generate a report of all the emails you have sent in a date range that you specify. Go to Reports and click the "Emails Sent to Customers" report. You can choose the start and end dates for the report along with which email status types you want to include in the report. Possible statuses are sent, opened, and error.

The report that is generated will list all of the emails sent in the selected date range with the email status, date and time sent, the email address it was sent to, the customer the email was sent to, and the email's subject.

A great use for the emails sent report is to generate a report of all the emails you sent in the last month that have a status of "Error". This will give you a list of customers that have email addresses that you are unable to delivery messages to. You can use the report is a list of customers to contact to get an updated email from. Keeping your customer email list up-to-date and accurate will help improve your cash flow.

Email Status


There are three possible email statuses:
  1. Sent - Bill & Pay has sent the email for delivery. If the email can not be delivered it will move from the Sent status to the Error status.
  2. Opened - The customer opened the email. You can use this status to verify that your customer received the email and looked at it. Click on a sent email to view it in detail to see the date and time the customer first opened the email.
  3. Error - The email could not be delivered. Click on an email with an error to view a detailed explanation of why it could not be delivered. The most common reason for this is trying to send an email to an address that is not valid.

How the Opened Status Works


Bill & Pay includes images in the emails we send to your customers. When your customer looks at the email and the images in the email are loaded it notifies our server that they are reading the email message. This makes it possible for us to mark the email as opened and know the date and time when the customer first opened it.

Many email readers, including most email readers on mobile devices, automatically load images when reading email messages. Customers that use one of these email readers will have emails you send them marked as 'Opened' when they read them. Some email readers, such as Outlook, do not load images by default as a privacy protection for the user. Emails to these customers will remain in a "Sent" status unless the customer adds your business email address you send emails from to their "Safe Sender" list or they tell their email reader to load images for the email message they are reading.

This means that an email status of "Opened" indicates your customer has opened your email message. However, a status of "Sent" means it was sent to them and they may or may not have opened it.

Longer Email Retention


Some businesses may be required to keep a record of messages sent to customers for regulatory reasons. If this is the case for your business, contact customer service to increase the sent email log retention period for your business. We retain a record of what your email looked like at the time it was delivered. Even if an invoice is modified at some point after an email is sent, we retain a record of how that invoice appeared at the time the email was sent.

Email Deliverability

Bill & Pay uses email to deliver new invoice notifications, payment due and over due reminders, and payment confirmation to your customers. Knowing your email has been delivered to your customers is key to getting paid on time. Bill & Pay helps improve the delivery success rate of your customer communications in several ways.

Getting Started


When a business starts using Bill & Pay we deliver email to your customers on your behalf. You can customize the email address that these emails are sent from so that if your customer replies you will receive them.

Bill & Pay will initially send all emails from an email address of "notify@billandpay.com" with a special heading on the email called "Reply-To" that instructs your customers email system to send reply emails directly to your email address. Most email programs will show the email as being sent from your email address. It may also show a small note on screen indicating the email was sent on behalf of your address from notify@billandpay.com.

How to Change Your From Address In Bill & Pay


To change what email address Bill & Pay uses as the From address on your emails go to Advanced Options then Letter Templates.

Use Your Own Domain Name


If you have a domain name for your business you should definitely try and use it for your business email, if you aren't already. Using an email address at any of the free email services, such as @gmail.com or @yahoo.com, will hurt the delivery of your emails. If you have a website with your own address, known as a domain name, you can start receiving email at your domain also. You will need to have your own email server for your domain name. Most web hosting companies offer this as part of your web hosting or as optional add-on. Contact your web hosting company for more details about using your domain name for email.

Approve Bill & Pay to Send Email for Your Domain


Once you have started using your own domain name for sending and receiving email and configured Bill & Pay to send email from there, you will need to do one more thing: approve Bill & Pay as a sender of email for your domain name.

In order to help combat spam, or unwanted email messages, many mail servers on the Internet will not accept delivery of an email from one domain name for another domain name unless specific approval has been given to do so.

You can give approval for Bill & Pay to send email on behalf of your domain name by add a few records to your domain's DNS settings. Please contact Bill & Pay Support for instructions on getting this set up. If you are not comfortable modifying the DNS settings for your domain our instructions will also include an offer to perform the necessary changes for you.

Technical Notes


For those curious as to what DNS settings exactly we recommend adding, the instructions we send will tell you how to add SPF and DKIM records to your domain. These records in your domain's DNS settings will instruct other mail servers on the Internet to allow Bill & Pay's email server to send them new email as if it was coming from your own mail server.