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How do I send an email to my clients from Neoserra and automatically create a counseling session?

There are really two ways to generate emails to clients and have the email message automatically converted to a counseling session:

Both methods have their respective pros and cons. For example, using the Neoserra server you are not limited to the number of people that you can send to, furthermore, the emails are all sent individually which allows you to use substitution variables for more personalized communications. Sending emails from Neoserra is generally speaking ideal for group emails assuming your avoid creating spam-like email. However, you should be aware that Neoserra does not have a traditional Sent Mail folder (although messages sent via Neoserra during the most recent 90 days can be accessed via your Preferences page), nor does it support a Draft folder. Another disadvantage of using the Neoserra mail server, is that you can only send attachments to up to 250 recipients.

There are also pros and cons related to sending the email from your default application (e.g. Outlook/Mac Mail/Google Mail). An advantage to using your own mail server is that everything is logged in your Sent mail folder, which is ideal for one-to-one correspondance with your clients. However, using your 'normal' email application means that you may be limited to the total number of people that you can email at once. Also, to preserve your clients' privacy you need to put all email addresses in the BCC line, which increases the potential for the email to be perceived as spam. As a general rule of thumb, OutreachSystems recommends that you use Neoserra's email functionality for bulk emails, while we recommend that you use your standard, default email application for one-on-one emails. Your standard email application should automatically be invoked if/when you click on an email address in Neoserra.

In this FAQ we will discuss how you can use the Neoserra email capabilities to generate an email and have it automatically be recorded as a counseling session. Since Neoserra will be sending these email message using YOUR email address as the sender, it it important to let your mail server know that OutreachSystems is allowed to send email on behalf of your domain. If you decide to take advantage of the Neoserra email functionality then you should ask your IT staff to update your mail servers per the following FAQ. Please note, that this step is critical to ensure delivery of your messages!

All emails sent from Neoserra will be logged, for 90 days, under the Administration|Email Operations Center menu option. Here you will be able to see all successes as well as all bounce backs. Any email address that is bounced back, will appear in red highlighted text within the Neoserra interface. You can hover over the informational triangle to find out why the message bounced back.

System administrators will have access to the Email Operations Center where they can see all bounced back messages.

Generate an email from Neoserra

You can send emails to all the email addresses found in a grouping of client or contact records. Use Neoserra' various filtering tools to display a grouping of client, contact, or client activity records that is relevant to the topic of your email.

Once the appropriate grouping of records is displayed, click the Email link at the top right hand corner of the screen:

From the dialog presented, first choose the email template that you want to use. Neoserra system administrators can create custom email templates that contain common information frequently sent to your clients. For purposes of this discussion, we will assume you selected the (regular email) option. Secondly, choose which email addresses you want to send to:

  • Use the email addresses of the companies (as found in the top area of the client record - if the client email address field is blank then it will default to the primary contact's email address)
  • Use the email addresses of the primary contact for each company (as found in the primary contact that is associated with the client record)
  • Use email addresses of all contacts of all companies (as found in the contact records for all contacts associated with the client record)

If you are sending to 5 or less people then you can decide whether you want to exclude email addresses that belong to records with the subscribe to emails option deselected. If you are sending to more than 5 people, then this is considered to be an email blast and you cannot uncheck the checkbox, UNLESS your email originates from the Neoserra survey module. Also, if you are sending your email to more than 5 email addresses, then Neoserra will automatically include the "Unsubscribe" link in the email header and in the footer allowing your clients/contacts to unsubscribe from you email correspondance. The unsubscribe link in the email footer can be customized on a global level under the Administration|Configuration|Email Templates and it can be customized for each center record under the More|Email Templates menu option on the center record. The Email Automatic Message Footer includes the ubsubscribe link along with the street address of the center from which the email is initiated as per the requirements under the CAN-SPAM Act, which says that all blast emails must include a valid physical postal address:

This footer is automatically added by Neoserra when your email is sent. It is not shown within the email body editing interface.

It should be noted, that clients whose email addresses have bounced back in the past will automatically be excluded from blast emails. Once you have edited and updated their email address, they can once again be included again in your blast emails.

Optionally, you can decide to use your default email application to send your message, in which case you will want to check the "Generate email address list for export to external email client?" checkbox. Click Continue when you are ready to proceed.

The Neoserra email interface will appear:

  1. Assuming that you selected the (regular email) template then the sender name and email address will always be the name and email address as associated with your login account. Neoserra, by default, will send the emails from you. Your systems administrator can create custom templates if this is not desired.
  2. Assuming your email is addressed to less than 250 email addresses then you can individually delete email addresses found in the "List" field, but you are not able to add or edit the email addresses from this interface. Because Neoserra supports substitution variables it is important that the email addresses found in this field correspond to a client record in the database.

    Note: Even though Neoserra places all recipient email addresses into the List field, it's reassuring to know that, under the hood, the email is being delivered individually—one per email address. Upon receipt, your clients will only see their email address in the To field.

  3. As discussed in this FAQ, Neoserra will send a separate email to each recipient in the "List" field, which means that multiple emails are potentially sent. Including your name in the CC or BCC line would normally cause you to receive a copy of every email sent, Neoserra, however, has special CC/BCC handling and it will only send ONE copy of the email to the CC and BCC recipient(s). When you receive a CC/BCC copy, keep in mind that the substitution variables will not be expanded for for the email addresses listed in the CC/BCC lines. For this reason, Neoserra will also limit the number of email addresses that you can add to the CC/BCC line. In total these lines will allow up to 80 characters each.
  4. You can add attachments to your email but each attachment may not be more than 5MB in size. Furthermore, the attachment option is not offered when emailing more than 250 recipients as discussed in more detail in the FAQ titled: Can I include an attachment in my email message sent from Neoserra?
  5. The message can contain HTML formatting, if so desired. You can also include an image in your message text. However, you can not merely paste an image into the message. You will need to use a full URL that refers to the image somewhere on the internet. The Neoserra application does not allow you to include the actual image file. To insert an image, follow these steps:

    • Place your cursor where you want to insert the image.
    • Click Insert|Insert Image.
    • In the source field, put the full public URL to your image file. The URL should look something similar to:

    • Click OK to save the image.
  6. Enter your message text as appropriate. If you are crafting a message from scratch then it is important to set your preferred font. By default, Neoserra will not specify a font, and unless the user sets a font, it will be the recipient's email application to determine the font to be displayed.

    Keep in mind that your message should follow email best practices. If you decide to add substitution variables in your message body, be sure to enter them exactly as found here. Do not change the capitalization, brackets or wording of the variables. The substitution variables must be entered exactly as shown. And keep in mind that if you reference a substitution variable that does not exist in the client record, then Neoserra will not be able to resolve it. For example, if you use [CONTACT_SALUTATION] but your contact record does not include a salutation then Neoserra will leave the space blank.

  7. A signature will automatically be placed in the message body if you have one configured under your preferences.
  8. While the CC and BCC option will only send you one copy of the email, you can send yourself a copy of every message (up to 250), if you want by checking the "Send a copy of each delivery to myself?" checkbox. This option is not available if the recipient list exceeds 250 recipients.
  9. You can save the email message, generated from Neoserra, as a counseling session by checking the: "Save message as a counseling session?" checkbox. However, since mass emails are not considered to be reportable counseling sessions you will only be able to record your blast email as a non-reportable administrative session.

    Be aware that Neoserra will create a counseling session for each and every recipient in the "List" field. Thus, if you are sending an email to 10 recipients, then 10 separate counseling sessions will be created. If you should need to delete these counseling sessions afterwards, then you will need to delete them 10 times.

  10. Upon clicking "Send" Neoserra will send your email messages in the background. Upon returning to the filter view you will see that the message is being processed:

    You can either click away and continue to work within Neoserra, or you can click "View" to see the messages queued up ready to be sent. Notice, in the screenshot below, that the "Result" column is still blank. As each message is delivered, the "Result" column will be updated either with a "Success" or "Failure" status:

    Once all the messages have been processed and delivered you will be notified via the Message Center:

    As noted in the screenshot above, you can "Dismiss" the Message Center notification or your can "Review" the delivery details. A review of the deliveries will show all successful and failed deliveries.

How can I send an email message to a single client or contact?

The Neoserra email functionality is ideal for sending mass emails to multiple clients, while it can also be used to email a single client, this generally speaking isn't the preferred method. When emailing a single client, it is recommended that you use your default email application such as Microsoft Outlook/Mac Mail/Google Mail as discussed in the FAQ titled: How do I send an email to my clients from my default email application and automatically create a counseling session?

If you do want to email a single client using the Neoserra email feature you can go to that client record and click More|Email. This will invoke the same email interface as discussed above, however, now you can record the email as a reportable counseling session.

Want more? Browse our extensive list of Neoserra FAQs.