10 Mar Understanding automated email reminders
There are a few things you need to understand about automated email reminders, because after all, they are essential to parent communication. It is my pleasure to point those things out. Once you decide how you’d like things set up in your account, you can, as we like to say, “set it and forget it.”
Types of reminder emails
These emails are triggered when a student is missing information, AKA, their account is incomplete. This email is based off of the tracker deadline, so that date will be uniform across a tracker.
2) Next action
This email is triggered when further action is required. Example: A physical expires and needs to be updated. This email is based off of a requirement’s next action date, meaning these emails will vary from requirement to requirement, and student to student.
As a school, you can choose to turn on one, both, or neither of these reminder email types. If both types are turned on, the information is combined into a single email so you’re not overwhelming parents. It’s worth noting that parents get one email per student. So, even if a child is missing 10 items, the parent is not going to get 10 separate emails. On the other hand, if they have 10 children with outstanding accounts, they will receive 10 emails.
When to send emails
You also determine the window of time in which these emails are sent. Hypothetically, you can send emails to parents every single week of the year. We do not encourage that practice, but the reality is, you can stay in touch with parents as much as you want. Generally, schools choose to send “incomplete” emails 12 weeks before and after the information is due. The logic here is that within 12 weeks before, parents should be completing the information, or making plans/appointments to complete the information. Twelve weeks after the information is due, if the parent still has not completed the information, a heavier conversation should happen between the school and the parent.
For “next action” emails, schools frequently choose to start sending reminder emails four weeks before the next action is due, and up until eight weeks after it is due. Again, the four weeks prior gives parents time to take action. The eight weeks after gives some wiggle room, and if the information is still incomplete at that point, the school and parent need to have a conversation.
Remember, email reminders must be assigned to a tracker in order for them to be sent. This is to ensure that the email parents receive is customized and specific to their child so they can take the appropriate action. We’ve found parents are most responsive on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so those are your options when sending emails. You can elect to send emails Tuesdays, Thursdays, or both.
Who does receive emails?
There are a few reasons why parents might receive reminder emails.
1) Requirement is incomplete.
If the requirement has not been answered (is incomplete), and reminders are turned on, the parent will receive a reminder email during the chosen window of time.
2) Requirement requires a next action.
If the requirement has been answered but requires a next action (generally in subsequent school years), and reminders are turned on, the parent will receive a reminder email during the chosen window of time.
3) Requirement was rejected.
If a parent submits information and you reject it, it will be regarded as incomplete, and an email will be sent during the chosen window of time.
Who does not receive emails?
There are a few reasons why parents might not receive reminder emails.
1) Requirements are pending.
If a parent has submitted the information, and they’re just waiting for the requirements to be approved or rejected, the system will not send an email. The system is smart enough to know the parent has done all they can do at that point.
2) Requirement is approved and outside of the next action window.
Once a requirement is approved, the requirement may be complete and not require any further action, ever. If that is the case, an email will not be sent. If the requirement is complete until a next action date (usually the next school year), a reminder will not be sent until that window of time arrives.
3) Emails are turned off.
If your school does not turn email reminders on, nobody will receive emails.
You can customize the body of all your emails. The only items you cannot alter are the requirements themselves, because that information is system-generated. However, you can change the body text at any time. You can use the same text across all email reminders, or you can change it up for some trackers. If perhaps the senior class cannot graduate without all items submitted, that may be something to include in their reminder emails, but not in the email for all other trackers.