Five tips to improve your dunning emails

A subscription service is a great way to start a business. It brings ease, convenience and variety to the customer while also providing you with the opportunity to engage them over a longer time period and keep adding value to your brand. When payments go awry, however, it can disrupt your billing process and potentially impinge on your cash flow. As such, you may need to send a Dunning Email to customers whose payments fail.

What are dunning emails?

Dunning is the process of ensuring that outstanding payments are collected in a timely manner. In the context of subscription billing, a Dunning Email may be sent to a customer when their payment has failed or the card / payment you have on file has expired or declined. They can be sent manually, although most businesses choose to automate them.

Needless to say, there’s a balance to be struck in your Dunning Emails. You want to ensure that the customer takes action and returns to a normal billing cycle. At the same time, however, you don’t want to be so aggressive that you sour the customer experience and lead them to churn.

Here are some practical tips to improve your Dunning Emails…

Remind them you’re here to help

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that a missed payment is intentional. There are all kinds of reasons why a customer might miss a payment. Very rarely is the reason wilful negligence. Most of the time an unpaid bill is an accidental result of an expired card, a breached payment limit or a lost or stolen card.

Adopt a friendly, helpful approach. This is a gentle reminder, not a threat. Remind them that you’re there to help and make sure that they have access to a support number or email. Remember that this may be embarrassing for the customer and a little sensitivity can go a long way.

By all means remind them what they’ll be missing out on if this matter isn’t rectified, but approach it in terms of wanting to help them get back to enjoying your services as soon as possible.

Optimize your subject line and preview text

Remember that your customers receive over a hundred emails on average in any given day. As such, they’ll have gotten very good at curating which emails get read and which get ignored. You need to lead with a compelling subject line. “Action Required!” is a good start. Next, tell them succinctly what action you need them to take.

Optimizing the email’s preview text will further convince them that the email needs to be opened quickly.

Give them a name

Nobody wants to talk to a faceless corporate drone. But when they see a name, they’re reminded that they’re doing business with an actual person. Use your name (or the name of someone in your team) and they’ll be more likely to reply or take action. Speaking of which…

Make it easy to take action

The easier it is for customers to take action on your email, the more likely they are to do so in a timely manner. The last thing you want is for them to drag their feet when rectifying any payment issues. Make sure your email has a Call To Action which will take them to a secure payment page as well as quick and easy-to-follow instructions on how to rectify their payment issues.

Time your follow ups

Still nothing? Try sending a follow up email 3 days after your Dunning Email is sent. Send two more over the course of the month. Your customers are busy people and even if they saw your first email they might simply not have found the time to respond yet.