No one likes to be the bearer of bad news, especially when money is involved. However, ignoring customers’ failed payments or their exceeding of plan limits can negatively impact your business. When it comes to payment issues, it’s best to take control over the situation as soon as possible or you may find yourself losing existing customers. Sending well-crafted and well-timed dunning emails can help you keep things on track.

What is a dunning email?

Dunning emails are account-related messages that businesses send to their customers in order to remind them about credit card expirations, failed payments, or overdue invoices. Their main purpose is to provide a resolution for them such as the means to update their billing information and apply a payment so that they can proceed to use the service or product. Dunning emails are a powerful technique used to reduce customer churn and increase retention.

Dunning email best practices:

1. Write a compelling subject line

The first step to achieving a successful dunning email is writing a compelling subject line that will prompt customers to open it. Use a straightforward subject line that informs recipients that an action is required.

For example:

  • Action required: Update your payment information to keep using Mailer To Go
  • Notice: Your credit card has been declined
  • Hello <name>, we couldn't process your payment

2. Use clear from & reply-to addresses

Help customers verify your email’s authenticity by including your brand’s name in your email address and sending your email from the same sender that is signed at the end of your message. In addition, don’t send your message from a no-reply address, as it may leave your customers frustrated in case they have any questions or require further assistance.

3. Keep things brief and straightforward

Your ultimate purpose is to have your customers’ updated payment information, so don’t write a lengthy email that might confuse them. Your dunning emails should explain what the exact problem is that led you to send them, what actions are required in order to fix that problem and what will happen in case that the problem persists.

For example:

  • We were unable to charge your Visa ending in 0000 for your ACME dynamite payment. Please update your payment information to complete your purchase.
Beep Beep, better update your payment information.

4. Add a deadline

To obtain customers’ updated information and for them to take action, you must establish a sense of urgency. Set up a deadline for them to meet and let them know what will happen if they miss it.

For example:

  • If we are unable to charge your credit card within a week (that is, before May 19), we may have to pause your account until you fix the issues.

5. Provide support team contact information

When dealing with payment issues, it’s important to let your customers know that they have someone to reach out to. Your dunning emails should provide accessible support team contact information so that customers will be able to easily reach you in case of dispute or if they need assistance.

6. Remind customers what they may lose

Motivate customers to act as soon as possible by reminding them what they will lose in case they fail to update their payment method, upgrade their plan, etc. (for instance, losing account access, having service interruption, and so on).

7. Add a clear call to action

It’s not enough to solely inform your customers of an issue they might be having with their payment. It is important that you explain to them how to fix it and make it easy for them to do so by guiding them through the necessary steps. Add a clear CTA button or a link to help customers settle their payment issues with minimal effort, proving that you value their time.

8. Send a dunning email sequence

One dunning email is usually not enough. It’s possible that your customer may have missed your email, or decided to “deal with it later” and simply forgot about it, or even decided to check just how serious you were. The reason is not important, but what’s important is making sure that the customer is aware of the payment issue and providing them with the opportunity to make a payment, even if it means ‘nagging them’ with a series of emails. Additionally, In order to prevent involuntary churn due to payment and billing issues, you should establish a properly timed automated dunning communication.

9. Use a reliable email service provider

If you're looking for the most efficient route, ensure that your dunning emails reach your customer’s inbox with the help of our simple, secure, scalable, and automated email delivery service, Mailer To Go.

Click here to find out more and give it a try.