Why do Emails Bounce? How Businesses Can Beat Bounced Emails.

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love statistics! Here’s an interesting statistic on the topic of email communications:

  • InfoTrends’ Future of Multi-Channel Transactional Communications 2014 report forecasted a 45% adoption rate for paperless delivery by 2017, based on the total for transactional communications by volume. The report projected that in 2015, the adoption rate would be at a healthy 32% (2015 survey results will be released September 2015).

With paperless delivery on the rise, businesses are having to manage larger customer email databases than ever before. For those of you managing these lists, this next statistic will probably come as no surprise:

  • Each year, approximately 30% of a company’s customers will close their email account, causing emails to become undeliverable.

This statistic is referring to what is known as a bounced email. An email becomes classified as a bounced email after your email server contacts your customer’s email server and it’s determined the email address does not have a mailbox on their system. This is called a “hard bounce,” meaning it wasn’t delivered and won’t ever be delivered.

So, you may be asking yourself, why would customers change the email address they gave to your business as the address they wanted to receive their transactional customer communications, such as eStatements or bills through? There may be many reasons for a change in email address, but from my experience, the most common is that customers start a new mailbox as a way to get organized. We’ve all experienced it at one point or another, an inbox becomes overwhelming, so rather than spending time cleaning up what is more unwanted than wanted emails, the email account is closed and a new one is started. The problem is, many people forget about the important messages they were receiving, such as eStatements and bills, and forget to update their new email address with businesses, so they no longer receive these communications. Missing out on these important communications can have many negative impacts, such as missing payment dates and not receiving important statement information to name a few.

There’s not much a business can do to prevent their customers from closing an email account, but there are things you can do with this bounce information to lessen the potential negative impacts a closed account can have, including the following:

  • Update Records – Upon notice of a bounced email, immediately work to update your customers’ records on your systems. Keeping your CRM system or your corporate database up-to-date is crucial for your customer service team to have the most current and accurate information and it’s also crucial for your clients should you have a preference center for a self-service option.
  • Train Staff – Train customer service staff on how to explain hard bounces and how to overcome them so customers understand the importance of keeping their contact information current with your business and to ensure they continue receiving your communications.
  • Enlist Help – Managing an email list and ensuring customers continue receiving your communications can be a daunting task, especially for large organizations, so you may want to enlist the help of a vendor to help with these responsibilities. When looking for a vendor, search for a company who can not only help you manage the hard bounced emails, but can also offer an alternative, so your customers will still receive your communications even in the event of a hard bounce. Some vendors can offer a solution that automatically moves your customers to a “communicate by traditional mail” list at the time of a bounced email. Messaging can be included in this mail communication which explains to your customers that the email address was no longer valid and also instructs them how to update their communication preferences. This way, customers still receive your important communications and it helps to prevent a missed payment.

Remember, even if a customer chose to close an email account, they still expect your communications to reach them. By following the tips discussed in this post, your business can help reinforce to your customers that they are doing business with the best company.

To learn more about eSolutions and how Venture Solutions can help your company manage email lists and customer preferences, visit venturesolutions.com.

About the author

Director of eCommunications Solutions

Bonnie has nearly 20 years of experience in information technology, with a focus in the areas of email delivery systems and front-to-back-end support of eSolutions. As director of eCommunication solutions, Bonnie is responsible for the management of Venture’s mobile messaging systems including email and SMS. She is passionate about educating businesses on software capabilities and helping them achieve their mobile communication goals. Prior to joining Venture in 2014, Bonnie ran her own consulting company in which she helped companies use email to establish or improve customer communications.