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Avalara Help Center

Request Documents from Customers

This article applies to:Avalara CertCapture

Store all your customers and their compliance documents in CertCapture.  As part of initial setup, use CertCapture to ask your customers for missing documents. As you maintain CertCapture, run reports to find expiring documents, and use CertCapture to ask for new ones.

Send single certificate requests

When you only need a compliance document from one customer, use CertCapture to send out a single document requestHoverTT.png.

Send a single request

When you only need a compliance document from one customer, use CertCapture to send out a single document requestHoverTT.png.

  1. Use the Search or Quick Search to find a customer. Click a Customer Number and on their customer record, click Send Document Request.
  2. Use the form to configure your request.
    Field name How to configure it
    Client This field is grayed out. You can't change it. It marks the company from the Company Hierarchy where the customer's record is stored.
    Customer # / Name Since you started the request from a customer record, the customer's number is pre-filled.
    Cover Letter When you send your request, your customer receives a cover letter and a set of blank documents to complete and submit. The cover letter should explain what you need from your customer.

    If you already created the cover letter you want to send with this request, use this drop-down to pick the letter.

    If you haven't already written the cover letter, click Requests on the CertCapture toolbar, and then click Email Templates/Cover Letters to start a new one. When it's finished and you save it, choose it from this drop-down.
    Delivery Method Choose how you want your customer to receive this request.
    • Download - When you complete the request, CertCapture creates a PDF of the cover letter and blank document templates. To download the PDF, click the Profile drop-down, and then click Download Center. Find the request, and click Download. Print the PDF, and mail it to your customer.
    • Email - When you complete the request, CertCapture emails your cover letter and blank document templates to an email address you choose. If you pick Email as the delivery method from this drop-down, an Email Address field appears.
    • Fax - When you complete the request, CertCapture faxes your cover letter and blank document templates to a fax number you choose. If you pick Fax as the delivery method from this drop-down, a Fax Number field appears.
    Location If you collect documents in retail locations, this drop-down lists all the locations you've entered. If you're sending this request to a retail customer, pick the location that makes the most sense.
    Return Date Set a date when the document is due back from your customer.
    Custom Message When you create a cover letter for your request, you can enter variables called template tags. A template tag pulls a piece of information from a customer record and puts it in your cover letter. If you included the Custom_Message template tag in your cover letter for this request, enter a message here. 

    When CertCapture sends the request, the cover letter includes the message you enter here.
    Exposure Zones Pick the jurisdiction(s) where you need a document from your customer to cover audit exposure. What you choose here helps CertCapture know which blank documents to recommend for your customer.
    Document Category Pick an exemption reason or another document category. What you choose here helps CertCapture know which blank documents to recommend for your customer.
    Document Templates Based on the exposure zones and document categories you picked, CertCapture recommends blank document templates to send your customer. Place a check in the box next to each document template you want to send. 
  3. Click Generate Request. What happens next depends on the delivery method you picked. If you chose Download, look in your Download Center for a PDF of the request. If you chose Email or Fax, the request is sent to your customer.

Locate a single request after it is sent

Once you have created a single request, locate that request using the Has Requests drop-down menu in the Campaign Criteria search tab.

  1. On the CertCapture dashboard, go to Search and click Customer Search in the drop-down.
  2. On the Customer Search page, click the Advanced search button.
  3. Scroll down and click the Campaign Criteria tab.
  4. In the Has Requests drop-down, choose to search by either exact or relative dates. Then in the Start and End fields type the date range you want to search.
  5. Click the Get Search Results button beneath the tab.
  6. On the Customer Search results page, click a Customer Number to see Customer Details.
  7. On the Customer Details page, click the Requests tab.
  8. On the Requests tab, view details for recent requests submitted to this customer.

Send several document requests simultaneously

When you want to ask several customers for compliance documents, create a campaignHoverTT.png. Campaigns include tracking data so that you can easily view the status of your requests.

Create a campaign to request compliance documents

Request documents by sending an e-mail, letter, or fax to many customers at once. For help with search, see search for certificates and customers.

  1. On the CertCapture dashboard, on the Search menu, click Customer Search.
  2. On the Customer Search page, select the search criteria for customers you'd like to include in a campaign, and then click Get Search Results. When search results are returned, use the Perform Action On Results drop-down, and select New Campaign.
  3. In the Prepare Customer exemption certificate Campaign page, type a Campaign Title.
  4. To specify which customers from your search receive a document request, select any of the following fields:
    • Include Customers already in another campaign: Click to include any customers who are part of an existing campaign. CertCapture will send a document request to a customer even if that customer received a request in another campaign.
    • Omit Customers already in another campaign: Click to exclude any customers who are part of an existing campaign. CertCapture will not send multiple requests to the same customer.
    • Missing Certificate Exposures: Click to generate requests for exposure zones in which customer are missing certificates.
    • Invalid Certificate Exposures: Click to generate requests for exposure zones in which customers have invalid certificates.
    • Expired Certificate Exposures: Click to generate requests for exposure zones in which customers have expired certificates.
    • Include Soon To Expire Exposures: Click to generate requests for certificates that are currently valid but will expire within the specified number of days.
    • Taxable Exposures: Click to generate requests for customers who are classified as taxable or who have a taxable certificate.
    • Good Certificates (Non-exposures): Click to generate requests for customers with a valid certificate on file.
    • Billing Customers: Click to include all billing customers in the campaign. This is the most common selection.
    • Shipping Customers: Click to include all shipping customers in the campaign.
    • Exclude Same-As Relationships: Click to exclude from the campaign all customer records that are the same as the customers you selected for this mailing so that you don’t generate duplicate requests.
    • Expand Bill-to-Ship Addresses: Click to show both the bill-to and ship-to address in the cover letter
  5. At the bottom, choose Exempt Reasons, and then click Prepare exemption certificate Campaign.
  6. In the Edit Customer Certificate Campaign page, in the Round 1 tab, select the following fields:
    • Send Date: Specify the date when you expect to send the requests. This date is merged into the cover letter if you use the correct tag in the cover letter template.
    • Requested Return Date: Specify the deadline for customers to send the certificate to you. This date is merged into the cover letter if you use the correct tag in the cover letter template.
    • Generate Date: Specify the date you want CertCapture to generate the request files for email, print, or tax delivery. This field defaults to the day prior to the Send Date.
    • Method: This specifies how you request certificates from customers. You have three choices:
      • Postal Mail: Select to print a PDF for you to send requests to customers by postal mail. Contact your Customer Account Manager (CAM) to add Managed Services to your account where we mail the requests for you via USPS.
      • Email: Select to send requests to customers by email
      • Fax: Select to send requests to customers via fax
    • Cover Letter: Select the cover letter that you want to use for this request campaign. For help with cover letters, see create a cover letter template.
    • Cover Letters Only: Click to generate only cover letters without any exemption certificate templates.
    • Include Most Recent Invalid: Click to include with the requests a copy of the most recent invalid certificate that you have from each customer.
    • Include CertExpress access: Click to send an invitation to customers to use the online form submission tool to create certificates.
    • Automatically Send Round: Click to automatically send the request campaign on the Send Date you entered. If this option is not selected, you will have to manually launch the campaign by clicking the Send Emails tab on the bottom of the page.
    • Notes: Add notes about the request campaign. Customers will not see these notes.
  7. You may not be able to access all of the tabs. Access to the tabs depends on your campaign selections. And some tabs can't be accessed until you save your campaign changes. On the lower half of the page, click any of the following tabs.
    • View Cover Letter: Click to see the cover letter selected for the campaign.
    • View Email: Click to edit the campaign email. Some content of the email is automatically generated and cannot be edited.
    • Select Customers: Click to see which customers are included in the campaign. To manually remove any customer from the campaign, click the checkbox next to the customer number to remove the checkmark. If your customer has a checkmark next to their name, they're included in the certificate request.
  8. If you want to add another round to your campaign, click the + next to the Round 1 tab, and then repeat steps 7 and 8. You can add multiple rounds to a campaign. For example, create an email campaign for the first round then follow that with a mailing campaign several weeks later. Each round can be customized.
  9. When you are finished editing your campaign, click Save Campaign Changes.
  10. To initiate your request campaign, on the lower half of the page, click one of the following tabs:
    • Print: Click this tab, and then click Create Printable File to create a printable file of the campaign documents.
    • Send Emails: Click this tab, and then click Send Certificate Requests to send the campaign email to the email address on file for each customer.
    • Send Faxes: Click this tab, and then click Send Certificate Requests to send the campaign letters using the fax number on file for each customer.

Request documents by retail location

When creating a campaign to request certificates from your customers in CertCapture, you have the option to filter your campaign by retail location.

  1. On the CertCapture dashboard, click Search, and then click Certificate Search.
  2. On the Certificate Search page, click Advanced.
  3. Scroll to the Retail Location section, click to expand it, and type the criteria for your search.
  4. Click the Get Search Results Button.
  5. On the Certificate Search results page, click Export Report.
  6. In the Export Results dialog box, type a name for your results file and click Export Results.
  7. Click your name in the upper right corner of the Dashboard and select Download Center from the drop-down to retrieve the exported search results.
  8. In the Actions column for the search results file you'd like to view, click Download.
  9. Open your results file and locate the Customer Number column in the spreadsheet. Copy the column of numbers.
  10. On the CertCapture dashboard, click Search, and then click Customer Search.
  11. On the Customer Search page, in the Customer Criteria section, paste your column of customer numbers into the Customer Numbers field. Then click the Get Search Results button.
  12. Continue creating your campaign.

Clone a campaign

Cloning mimics the details from a previous campaign. Use cloning to speed up the campaign process and expedite sending a new solicitation, following-up on a previous request, or delivering a thank you note to your customers.

  1. From the CertCapture toolbar, click Requests, and then click Campaigns.
  2. On the Campaigns page, choose either the In-Progress Campaigns or Closed Campaigns tab to find the campaign you want to clone. Then click Manage to open that campaign.
  3. On the Edit Customer Certificate Campaign page, select the tab for the campaign round you want to clone. Then under the Actions column to the right, click Clone.
  4. A new tab appears named for the tab you chose + "clone." Rename the tab for your new campaign round and click Save Campaign Changes.
  5.  Follow the instructions in create a campaign to request certificates to complete setting up this new campaign round.

Track a campaign

After creating a campaign, track its progress to see which customers have responded to your document requests.

  1. From the CertCapture Toolbar, click Requests and select Campaigns.
  2. On the Campaigns page, view a list of your In-Progress Campaigns. The Progress column illustrates what type of solicitation was included in a campaign, how many solicitations have been sent, and details if there are multiple rounds . Next to the campaign you want to track, click Manage to open that campaign for more details.
  3. On the Edit Customer Campaign page, click the Overview tab.
  4. The Overview tab provides a number of details about your campaign:
    • In the data table, each Customer Number and Name is listed along with their Completed Exposures percentage (i.e. how many requests they've returned certificates for)
    • Click the + symbol next to a Customer Number to open an expanded view of the Exposure Zone(s) that your customer is responsible for, their Exempt Reason, and the Status of your campaign request to them. Status indicates which round a request was sent in for each exposure zone.
    • Hover over sections of the pie chart to display the specific number of customers represented by that section of the chart. The pie chart displays the following statuses:
      • Pending Validation: We've received a certificate from your customer included in the campaign, but it is currently in data entry awaiting validation.
      • Valid Document in Round ‘x’: A valid document was received from your customer in a given round.
      • Invalid Document in Round ‘x’: An invalid document was received from your customer in a given round.
    • Campaign data updates every time a new certificate is received via the online form submission tool or uploaded in data entry.
  5. To manually add or remove customers from future campaign rounds, click the checkbox next to their customer number before that round is sent. Then click Save Campaign Changes.

Create a cover letter template

Create a letter with customizable tags, like a mail merge. Then, use it each time you send out a similar request. 

  1. On the CertCapture dashboard, click Requests and select Email Templates/Cover Letters.
  2. On the Email Templates/Cover Letters page, click Add Cover Letter.
  3. On the Add New Cover Letter Template page, type the following:
    • Title: A title to quickly identify which template this is
    • Subject: A subject to provide a brief overview of the template
    • Description: A description that shows the difference between this template and another so you don't have to compare them directly
  4. Under Body, type your cover letter, and use the formatting toolbar to add elements to your cover letter. This works like the toolbar of any web-based word processing program such as Microsoft Word web app. Use the Paste as Plain Text button to paste in text from Microsoft Word. This will strip out any unusual characters that Microsoft Word might otherwise paste into the cover letter.
  5. Use Template Tags to insert variables into your cover letter. Your company logo is automatically imported into all your cover letters.  You can move, remove or replace this logo. Cover letters with template tags personalize details for each recipient when you send a request or campaign. To insert a template tag into your cover letter, place your cursor where you’d like to insert the tag, and then click the plus sign (+) next to the tag. Or just click and hold the tag while dragging it onto your cover letter. These are the kinds of template tags you can include:
    • Customer Data: These tags import details about your customers and begin with CUST or CUSTOMER.
    • CertExpress Data: These tags import data about CertExpress. These tags previously inserted web portal instructions. They were recently updated.
    • Date Reference: These tags import data about when you sent a certificate request or expect to receive a certificate.
    • Certificate Data: These tags import details about certificates.
    • Your CertCapture Account: These tags import details from your CertCapture user account and begin with USER.
    • Your Company Data: These tags import details about your company begin with FROM.
  6. When you’re finished customizing your cover letter, at the bottom, click any of the following:
    • Update Cover Letter Template to save changes to your cover letter template.
    • Preview to download a copy of the cover letter in portable document format (PDF) so that you can see what it looks like before you print or email it.
    • Reset to reject all changes that you made to your cover letter template during this session so that it will appear just as it did before you began working on it.

Clone a cover letter

Start with one of your old templates, then clone and modify it to create a new version.

  1. On the CertCapture toolbar, on the Requests menu, click Cover Letters.
  2. Next to any cover letter, under Actions, click Preview.
  3. On the Preview Cover Letter Template page, on the right, click Clone Template.
  4. On the Add New Cover Letter Template page, in the Title text box, type a title for the new template.
  5. Edit the cloned template so it's appropriate for your new cover letter.
  6. At the bottom of the page, click Add New Cover Letter Template.