Here are the things to consider for sending the validation notice through email.
1. Is there an Email address? - Check if the consumer has email address on file. Sometimes there might be one associated with the account and just that it was not provided by the creditor or missed out while transferring the account. Since sending communication through email has become a very common thing, so go forward request clients to provide the email addresses for all consumers (at least those who have it).
2. Get the Consent - Make sure you have the necessary consent from the consumers to send them communications through email. Most of the time this consent is collected by the original creditor (client) while taking the consumers’ contact details and the third-party agency should be able to go by that.
3. Avoid tracking – It is important to remember that these are not marketing or sales email to track every interaction or action by consumer. So, if possible, stop adding those tracking codes (embedding the HTML codes) on these emails. While these codes can track and let you know open rates, click rates, etc and this data might be helpful in tracking, the true way to measure the success is with the number of actual responses received from consumers.
Fact: Almost all email engines (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, Outlook, etc) sniff these HTML scripts/codes and the first thing they do, put the mails in Junk or Spam.
Simply adding these trackers is not worth it!
4. Expect responses – You might be skeptical about consumers responding back to these email communications. According to experts, the average response rate on emails is between 10 and 30% depending on the type of mail. But keep in mind, these are not marketing mails so, consumers those who really care about taking care of their debt will reply back or at least dispute. Remember with Millennials and GenZ's are making up close to 30-40% of the consumer population, the response percentage is only going to increase and not decrease.
5. Keep it genuine – Simply don’t create a generic email address (E.g., info@, contact@, notice@). There is a good chance of these ending up in Junk folder and likely consumers might not reply back to such emails. It is important to keep these genuine enough to actively engage with consumers who prefer to communicate through email, so think about the email address that you want to use to send these communications. Keep in mind, it is important to build a positive reputation with the domain or the sub-domain you are using to send these communications.
6. Add the option to ‘Opt-out’ – Though you might have the necessary consent from these consumers to communicate through email, adding the opt-out language is not only needed from the legal stand point but also to be compliant with the CAN-SPAM act and GDPR. Make sure these are included in the body of every email transmitted from the agency and stay compliant.
7. Get started, it’s never too late – If you are still deliberating about sending the notice through email vs print mail, its high time to consider email as a viable channel for communication and get started. Not only to save those 70 cents per postal mail (a lot of money saved!) but also adopt technology since consumer prefer digital comm channels and these are going to increase the recovery rate.
Do you know you can automate sending these emails internally? Yes, all using your email platform, Microsoft 365 or Outlook.
Note: These are not legal advise but some of the best practice adopted from industry wide and shared here for the benefit of all. Please consult with your legal advisory team about sending validation notices through email in a compliant manner.