Four Steps for Building an Email Recovery Strategy

Mar 22, 2024

Consumers are increasingly indicating a preference for digital communications. Adding emails to your collection strategy can significantly improve your recovery efforts. Emails offer a cost-effective, scalable, and personable way to reach out to consumers. Here’s how you can make emails part of your recovery strategy.

Understand the Legal Framework

Before embarking on an email communication strategy, it’s important to understand the legalities around electronic communications. The FDCPA and Reg F set clear guidelines on how and when you can communicate with consumers. Ensure your strategy complies with these regulations to avoid legal pitfalls.

For instance, each communication must include a clear and easy way for consumers to opt-out of future communications.

Verify Consent to Email

Make sure the email addresses on your list are accurate and that you have permission to email those consumers. Reg F outlines how agencies can obtain consumer email addresses. Generally the consumer must have:

  • provided the email address to or used the email address to communicate with the collector or the original creditor,
  • the consumer hasn’t opt-out or withdrawn consent to email,
  • before a collector uses the email address, the creditor informs the consumer of the debt being transferred and their email address being shared with the collector.

See Section 1006.6 Communications in connection with debt collection of Reg F for a detailed description of email procedures.

Develop Internal Policies and Procedures

Establish clear internal policies and procedures for email communication and ensure all staff are trained and understand these policies. Ideally, your policies will cover all aspects of email use to ensure effective, professional, and legally compliant practices Here are a few elements to consider as you design your email strategy:

  • Data privacy and collection:  Detail measures for protecting the privacy and security of debtor information in emails and procedures for handling sensitive information and ensuring that email communications do not inadvertently disclose debtor information to unauthorized parties.
  • Audience segmentation and personalization: Create guidelines for segmenting the email list based on debtor information, such as debt amount, communication preferences, and response history, to tailor communication strategies effectively.
  • Email content guidelines: Develop standards for the tone, language, and content of email messages, ensuring they are professional, respectful, and clear.
  • Opt-out management: Describe procedures for including a clear and straightforward opt-out mechanism in every email, as required by law. Be sure to include steps to efficiently process opt-out requests to ensure compliance and maintain email list integrity.
  • Frequency and timing: Decide the ideal frequency of emails to stay in compliance with Reg F and to avoid over-communication and potential harassment. For email timing, take into account different time zones and potentially sensitive times.

Design Email Messages

Fortunately, you won’t have to start from scratch with crafting emails. You can use your existing letters as a reference for the kinds of emails you’ll send consumers. For instance, demand notice, settlement offer, upcoming payment reminder, and payment confirmation are a few examples of emails you might send.

  • Personalize emails: Consumer’s name and reference specific details about their account to make the message feel more personal and less like a generic reminder.
  • Create reusable templates: Email templates using dynamic placeholders allow you to efficiently tailor messages to individual consumers while maintaining consistency and professionalism across communications. Consider having email templates reviewed and approved by a compliance manager or another resource familiar with the legal requirements for digital communications.
  • Optimize your subject lines: Your email’s subject line often determines whether your email gets opened or ignored. Use clear, concise, action-oriented, and non-misleading language. Avoid using caps or exclamation marks as they can trigger spam filters.
  • Provide clear call-to-actions: Whether it’s a link to make a payment, a request to contact your agency, or an offer to discuss payment options, the CTA should be unmistakable and easy to find. Make sure the process is as frictionless as possible to encourage immediate action.
  • Ensure mobile-friendliness: This means short paragraphs, large and clear fonts, and buttons that are easy to click on a small screen. Emails that are difficult to read can discourage engagement and result in missed opportunities for payment.

The emails you send are a representation of your professionalism and credibility. Review emails before sending to make sure they’re grammatically correct and error-free.

Monitor and Adapt

Finally, continually monitor the performance of your email campaigns. Use this data to refine your approach, experimenting with different messages, subject lines, and send times to maximize your recovery rates. Here are some metics to help you understand what’s working and what’s not:

  • open rate: the percentage of recipients who open an email.
  • click-through rates: the percentage of recipients who clicked on one or more links contained in the email
  • conversion rates: the conversion rate could measure actions such as making a payment, contacting the agency, or setting up a payment plan after clicking a link in the email
  • bounce rate: the percentage of emails that could not be delivered to the recipient’s inbox


Emails can be a powerful tool for reaching consumers and improving recovery rates. Using emails to communicate with consumers often meets consumer preferences, reduces employee workloads and operating costs, and improves the effectiveness of your communications.

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