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Thanking your customers for paying their invoices is an incredibly powerful manoeuvre. We’re big believers in it here at Chaser. An almost-panacea in your credit control arsenal, a cleverly crafted ‘Thanks for Paying’ email can have positive impacts in a range of areas. From encouraging future timely payment through to eliciting further sales, the thank you for the payment email is a tool every elite finance team today is leveraging to beef up their credit control.
We’re about to blitz through four ways you can use ‘Thanks for Paying’ emails as a means to achieve your ends. Strap in and prep yourself, it’s that time of the week again - time to tune up your credit control.Case 1: The bare minimum
By now you know the value of ‘Thanks for Paying’ emails - we’ve touched on it more than once. In case you need a quick refresher, we’ve got you sorted.
Whenever your customers make payment, whether it was on time or not, you should be thanking them for the payment. The benefits are deceptively simple - it bolsters the customer relationship and encourages timely payment in future. In no way can it harm, so make sure you’re at least emailing off a quick thank you every time an invoice is paid.
Thanking customers for multiple payments at once? You can view our best practise templates PDF guide, ready made to be copied and pasted into your emails here.
One very important thing to note is that ‘Thanks for Paying’ emails are largely effective in consistency. If your finance team is still running outdated, manual credit control practices, you open yourself up to the huge risks of forgetting to send them within 24 hours of payment being received, or forgetting to send them entirely. The benefits gleaned from sending ‘Thanks for Paying’ emails can be entirely undone by an inconsistent send rate. Thankfully, automated ‘Thanks for Paying’ emails are just one of many benefits automated credit control offers your business - something you should be looking into immediately. All finance teams should be automating credit control by now.
You might’ve read Case 1 above and thought “Why should I thank the bastards that just paid me late?” A well-asked, if not vulgar, question. We’ve actually written an entire post on this.
If your business is regularly struggling with late paying customers, it may be worthwhile distinguishing your good and bay payers using our framework. As follow ups can be adjusted accordingly for each type of payer, to maximise your chance of future prompt payments.
The long and short of this is; if the customer in question very rarely pays you late, they’re not a bad payer. No good can come of harassing them for a late payment here or there. Anything could have happened on their end, potentially out of their control, and they’re not so poorly self-aware that they don’t know they messed up. Thanking them in this situation goes a long way in showing them good faith - you’re showing them that you recognise they’re a good and valued customer, and this can only come back to reward you, whether it’s prompt payment in future or continued business loyalty.
If the customer in question regularly pays you late, they’ll be thrown off guard by your thank you. With their walls down and their guilt at an all-time high, you can positively influence them to pay more promptly in the future. If they have no further outstanding invoices with you, close out your email with something like:
“... really excited to continue doing business with you, but I noticed we weren’t quite able to get there with this invoice being paid on time. Is there anything we can do in future that will help?”
The positive framing of excitement to continue doing business, coupled with the light touch on the issue (notice we’re not accusing them), goes a long way in getting the message across without them throwing their defences back up.
If they do have further unpaid overdue invoices with you, you can instead opt to push for them being paid soon with something like:
“Thank you for the payment of invoice X! Where are we with invoice Y?”
This provides you a natural conversational segue so that you can broach the topic of further unpaid invoices without turning accusatory, which will do little to help you as they throw their defences up.
Join our 30-minute webinar to learn how you can automate your credit control process and put an end to poor payment behaviour, whilst maintaining great customer relationships with Chaser's credit control software.
It’s no secret - direct debit can often be a far superior option to selling on payment terms. For the seller offering it as a payment method, they can benefit from healthier cash flow (payments always made on time), time savings and happier customers (less admin time spent on payments on both sides).
But, like any payment method, it does have its limitations. If you want to best leverage direct debit, our quick and dirty rules are offer it when your customer:
Basically, these criteria identify situations where the friction of paying invoices will outweigh your customer’s potential benefit of increased cash flow flexibility (from them retaining control of when payment is made).
If a customer you sell to on payment terms is suitable for direct debit, tack on a line at the end of your ‘Thanks for Paying’ email explaining:
GoCardless (a fantastic direct debit app that we included in our recent essential apps roundup for finance teams) has a couple of great guides you should read first - how to encourage customers to pay by direct debit, and how to assuage any concerns they may have.
One of our innovative customers, who is kindly letting us share their template below, closes out their ‘Thanks for Paying’ emails with a soft push for further sales. If your customer is coming to the end of a positive buying experience with you (something your ‘Thanks for Paying’ email will help with), innocuously offering up the option for further sales can work wonders in securing future business.
Note that anything inside the italicised [square brackets] is a placeholder that is replaced with the appropriate information for the specific customer and invoice in question.
For best results, make the experience as frictionless as possible, offering the easiest and most direct path to ordering (in the above case, a phone number and email address).
When you're making repeat sales or taking on new customers, check you have received these 4 key pieces of information, to ensure any future invoice chasing if both as effective and efficient as possible.
Those are our four best ways to take advantage of ‘Thanks for Paying’ emails. For every invoice, you should at the very least be following Case 1. This will give you a solid baseline, one that every elite finance team today is on.
But, you should always be keeping an eye out for suitable situations in which to employ Cases 2 through 4. With those, over time you’ll see healthier cash flow, fewer bad payers, less wasted admin time, and potentially increased sales.
Not bad for one quick email, right?
To improve your credit control even further, download our full PDF of the 8 most effective templates for getting invoices paid on time. Tried and tested by Chaser, and purpose-made to be copied and pasted into your emails, just click here.
For best practice guidance on how to optimise your business' credit control function, including thanks for paying messages, see our Ultimate Guide to Accounts Receivable blog. Covering everything from the key cornerstones of your accounts receivable procedure, when, how and why to conduct credit checks on your customers and distinguishing good and bad payers.