Simply put, email fatigue occurs when customers are tired of receiving your emails. As a result, they start to ignore messages, delete them without reading, unsubscribe, or send your emails to their SPAM folder. While a long-time challenge for marketing teams, email fatigue has begun to impact all teams and departments across the organization. When customers ignore your invoice or collection email, it increases DSO, disrupts your efficiencies, and adds more manual tasks (i.e., phone calls) back into your activity queue.

At time when remote staff are receiving more communications through email, slack, Teams, etc., email fatigue has set in. In a recent survey, 89% of office workers indicated that sorting through an inbox of unopened emails or navigating incoming Slack or Teams messages is one of the most unpleasant parts of working remotely. When your customers get overwhelmed and tired of receiving emails, often thinking they contain the same message or details of previous one, they likely will begin ignoring and deleting them. When new invoices or late payment notices get sent and ignored, your workflows get gummed up in the process. Monitoring and analyzing email metrics can quickly identify email fatigue.

Are customers ignoring your messages completely or opening but not acting? Do you see an increase in the number of unsubscribe notifications? These are clear indications that your customers are feeling email fatigue. No need to panic, however, there are some clear actions that you can take now to avoid email fatigue or re-engage your customers that are already there.

Segmentation and re-engagement

Use your available data to separate those who are already unengaged (unsubscribed or hasn’t opened an email in 3 months) from those who are either still engaged or on the cusp of falling off. This segmentation will allow to send more targeted emails. For those that have been completely unengaged or unsubscribed, a phone call and “reactivation” should be in order. For the others, there are some easy steps that you can take, leveraging your automation tools, to re-engage with customers.

“I started researching what can we do to mitigate email fatigue and started trying to get a better idea of how to even help our customers improve their email templates to try to avoid this,” notes Grace Rivers, Product Manager of Lockstep Applications at Lockstep®. “As email fatigue becomes more prominent, I wanted to make sure that we are building this into that whole implementation plan when we’re rolling out automation.”

Every customer base is unique, and it may take a couple different strategies or combinations to attract eyeballs. Don’t be discouraged if you need to try multiple strategies and don’t be afraid to test and learn what works best.

Personalize Your Communications

By adding personalization, company-specific detail into the email message, including the subject line, you can differentiate your communications and better engage. Personalization tactics like including a first name in the body of the email and the company name in the subject line can increase open rates by 29% and unique click through rates by 41%.

People Read Subject Lines

64% people open emails based on subject line relevance. For the busy AP team, your email has seven seconds or less to catch their attention. Rather than using a generic “First Notice” or “Fourth Notice” in your subject line, leveraging a question or specific details from the invoice may get the email seen sooner, and you paid faster.

As your first point of contact with the customer, using something a little more creative to get their attention can make all the difference in the world. This could be as simple as leveraging invoice numbers and outstanding balances to sharing more relevant tips and tricks about your services. Partner with your marketing team to develop more strategic collection communications. Keep in mind these 5 best practices for eye-catching emails.

  1. Keep your subject line, short and simple
  2. Never use “All Caps” in your emails
  3. Use numbers and values in your subject line
  4. Start with action-oriented verbs, such as: ‘pay online’, ‘reconcile account online’, ‘message us directly’
  5. A/B test subject lines – see what resonates and works best for your customers.

Differentiate Your Communications

“Once customers start receiving AR emails, they know what the emails are and they just start ignoring them, if they look and feel the same,” notes Rivers. “They won’t read or reply to the emails, because they assume, it is a duplicate of an email received already.”

A cousin of email fatigue is “email blindness” where all messages look alike. If every email you send looks and sounds alike, your customers will assume they are all saying the same thing, when in reality, you may be searching for an outstanding payment, providing a new invoice, or for countless other reasons. By differentiating your messages, both in the subject and body copy, your messages will stand apart from each other and help you get paid faster.

In your communications, you can easily promote paperless invoicing through your existing contact channels. This allows customers to sign up for paperless invoicing, while self-registering their email addresses, in a secure way. This not only allows you to update your contact listing to make sure you are connecting with the right person, but also allows your customer direct access to invoices, payment history, and a way to pay their invoice, online.

Award-winning Lockstep® connects the world’s accounting teams to help them work better together. The pioneer in Connected Accounting, Lockstep develops tools and platforms for fintech developers and accounting teams to automate workflows between the accounting systems that are at the heart of all businesses.