As an organization using Submittable to collect submissions, it's important to maintain effective and efficient communication with your submitters throughout the submission life cycle. We often receive support requests from submitters who aren't sure how to reach the organizations that they've submitted work to - or are hoping to submit to - and who have questions that only organizations would be able to answer. While we're happy to help submitters with any technical aspects of setting up an account and making submissions, we've found that it's extremely helpful for organizations to make themselves available for important communications that can't be answered by Submittable's Customer Support.
When submitters ask us questions that we're unable to answer (such as those around eligibility, guidelines, etc.), we suggest either messaging organizations directly through the Submittable platform, or if Messaging is not enabled, searching for contact information on an organization's website. This can be confusing and doesn't always result in finding the correct contact information.
Below please find our suggestions for optimizing communications between you and your submitters.
Enable Submittable's internal Messaging feature. This will allow a submitter to send messages directly to your site administrator's email address from within the platform. With Messaging, submitters and organizations have a means of communicating with each other that is conveniently tracked within Submittable. Submitters can either initiate or respond to a message. The messaging feature ties all correspondence to a particular submission, keeping it well organized for both organizations and submitters.
Note: If your organization doesn't want to enable in-platform messaging, we strongly suggest including a contact email in your individual form guidelines, so that submitters can get in touch with the appropriate person at your organization to ask any questions that Submittable's support team may not be able to answer.
Be sure your form guidelines are clear and thorough. The more clear and comprehensive your guidelines are, the fewer questions your submitters and potential submitters will have. We recommend making sure that all information regarding your submission requirements (e.g., formatting rules, deadlines) matches any related information shown on your organization's website. Submitters will often check an organization's website in addition to reading guidelines on the Submittable platform. If there are discrepancies, they may try to get in touch to determine which guidelines they should follow.
Enable the Edit Request feature. Submitters will often attempt to get in touch with organizations after completing a submission because they made an error on their submission or would like to otherwise change something about the completed submission. We strongly recommend enabling this feature, provided it doesn't interfere with your editorial process. Allowing submitters to request edits provides an efficient way for submitters to make simple and often necessary changes without much more than a single click from administrators. If organizations do not enable the Edit Request feature, submitters will likely try to contact organizations outside the Submittable platform to ask about editing, which takes up valuable time and creates unwanted email inbox clutter.
Keep submission statuses current, and make it clear when submitters can expect to know outcomes. Often submitters want to get in touch with organizations to know why their submission status has not changed, despite an indication in an organization's guidelines that the results of a call will be announced by a particular date. If your organization has unexpected delays in a posted response time, we suggest announcing a delay in your Submittable form guidelines, messaging your submitters en masse, and posting information about timing changes on your organization's website. We also encourage you to use the Submittable platform to complete the life cycle of the submission by putting submissions into a terminal status (Accepted, Declined, or Completed) once decisions have been made. We frequently hear from submitters who are frustrated because a submission's status remains In-Progress even after they know that an organization's process is complete. Updating statuses promptly helps submitters keep their submissions list up to date and encourages future submissions. Keeping submitters informed of the status of their submitted work is also a great way to proactively reduce the number of inquiries you receive about outcomes.
Please reach out to us in Customer Support to discuss these and other ways to best optimize communications with your submitters. We're always happy to help you have the best experience with Submittable.