Have you ever read an email that has nothing to do with the subject line? Or perhaps you’ve started to read the first paragraph, and then the second, only to find you’re lost in the high grass – only one-tenth of the way through the “dissertation” – and have absolutely no idea what the email means?
We all have a lot on our plate at work. This means it’s paramount that you write and structure your emails that get to the point quickly, yet provide the critical information needed to elicit an informed opinion or response. Clear and concise emails are even more critical when speed is of the essence.
Accounts receivable collectors use email as their primary form of communication. Unlike phone calls, which for many years were the only way to communicate with customers, today’s collectors must be masters of email communication.
To this end, there are four important components that can help you write and structure effective collection emails:
Use a specific subject line
- Include an informative topic – such as “Help needed,” “Account status,” or simply “Credit request,” and always include the account name and number
- Be logical – to avoid any confusion, make sure your subject line relates to the actual content of the email
Create brief yet descriptive email content
- Always be professional and polite – as it’s difficult to convey tone in text, especially when you’re being concise, don’t put anything in an email that you would not say to a room full of people
- Consider the receiver – shorter paragraphs of 1–3 sentences makes it easier for someone reading and responding on their phone
- Include key facts – such as issue, brief background with attempts made and to whom, and resolution needed
- Create emphasis with bullets or bolding – don’t use all capital letters, and if in doubt, ask your social media savvy teenager to bring you up to speed on capitalization and other digital “no-nos”
- Check your spelling – make sure to proofread your own work, there’s nothing worse than an autocorrect fail in an important email. If in doubt, ask a colleague
- Request a realistic response time – this is typically 24–48 hours. If you need an answer sooner, it might be best to call.
Include appropriate attachments
- Be aware of the attachment size – consider compressing extremely large files with a ZIP program
- Use clear naming – name the attachment appropriately, especially if including multiple attachments.
Use a professional email signature
- Use a formal email signature – this should include the following – full name, position, company name, phone number, email address – unless you know the recipient well
- Don’t include a quote – unless it relates to the company tag line.
Following these guidelines to send a professional email message will increase the likelihood of receiving a prompt and decisive response. And if there’s one piece I’d advice you should always remember – make sure to write to someone in exactly the same way you like to be written to. Now, where did I put my pen!
Read other blogs in this series to learn more about the simple ways to:
- Learn about three steps to improve your collections function
- Improve your order-to-cash process in a few simple steps
- Learn about successful accounts receivable collections in ten easy steps
- Pipefy – transform your collections email & processes
Learn more about how Capgemini’s Finance Powered by Intelligent Automation offering helps you navigate the myriad of products, tools and services, enabling your business to benefit from an intelligent solution that combines automation, digital platforms, know-how and insight.
This blog was written by Nancy Salter – a member of Caroline Schneider’s team. Nancy focuses on improving the overall quality of service we deliver to our clients by leveraging Capgemini’s transformative credit-to-cash (C2C) solutions to streamline and reimagine processes and technologies for enhanced efficiency, while building strong customer relationships and partnerships.
Caroline Schneider has been delivering and designing O2C solutions for clients for over 20 years. She is passionate about delivering solutions to clients to maximize their working capital through technology, automation, and industrialized process design.