Are outstanding invoices causing chaos for your business? You're not alone if you're a business owner facing this issue. In fact, in the UK alone, over £23 billion of outstanding payments are due to companies across Britain (Small Business Commissioner), with over 55% of payment requests taking place outside of the working day (QuickBooks).
One of the best ways to follow up on an overdue invoice is to send payment reminder messages. If you schedule an SMS reminder before and after payment is due, you are more likely to encourage clients to pay promptly. SMS messages have an open rate of nearly 100%, with almost all messages being opened in the first 15 minutes (RedEye). This means that your SMS payment requests are more likely to get noticed and result in an invoice payment.
This article will look at the benefits of sending an SMS reminder and outline five polite payment reminder message templates you can use to get your clients to pay on time. We'll also share some hints and tips to accompany these reminder texts. You can also download this extended guide of 20 polite SMS reminders for additional support in timely payments.
SMS messages to reduce delayed invoices
The first step in sending a reminder text is personalisation. Each of your payment reminder text messages is divided into two parts:
■ Normal Text
Normal text is outside of brackets and stays the same across all reminders. Placeholders are within square brackets “[ ]” and signify where adapted text may go, e.g. [Your business name].
You will notice that most text messaging comes with a direct link to a payment portal in these examples. This helps remind customers of an efficient way to pay their monthly bill or any outstanding balance. Payment portals are an excellent way of encouraging customers to pay online and reminding them of their upcoming payments.
Gentle payment reminders before the invoice is due
When you schedule SMS payment reminders, the best time to start is before the invoice is actually due. This will allow your customer to submit payment before any late payment fees or interest charges are accrued.
1 - Early payment reminder sms sample
Dear [FIRST NAME]
Your invoice for [amount] is due by [due date]. Please click [payment link], call us on [your phone number] or email us to pay.
[Your business name]
SMS reminders message advice
This gentle reminder is a polite way to send your customer SMS reminders to encourage early payment, remind them of an upcoming payment and ensure everything is on track. For maximum effectiveness, supplement your SMS reminder text message templates with friendly payment reminder email templates on the due date. Reminding them of the day payment is due with a link to your online payment portal will help encourage invoice payments promptly.
SMS text message examples for overdue invoices
If your friendly reminder and due date payment reminder email templates have yet to result in payment, it's time to be firm and professional in your payment reminder SMS.
2 - Early overdue payment SMS reminder
Your invoice for [amount] is overdue by [overdue days]. Please click [payment link] or call us on [your phone number] to pay.
Thanks, [Your business name]
SMS payment text message advice
As the due date has passed and your invoice is overdue, we suggest following up with an accounts receivables phone call to ensure there are no major factors preventing them from making payment. When sending payment reminders via email, you should follow up with an attached invoice as a visual prompt to encourage payment.
If your invoices are frequently overdue, try persistently following up but always remain polite and personalised in your SMS payment follow-ups. Try these 20 SMS reminder messages in a PDF guide covering every invoice-chasing situation.
Medium overdue invoice reminder text
If your invoice is ten days past due, it is time to increase the urgency while remaining polite. The purpose of this payment reminder message is to remind them there is now an outstanding payment.
3 - Late payment reminder text message sample
Your invoice for [amount] is overdue by [overdue days] days. Please click [payment link] to pay or advise us on [your phone number] when we can expect payment.
What to do if your client does not make a timely payment
If any of your invoices are reaching this stage, you should consider offering early payment discounts to encourage timely payment. You could also discourage late payments with late fees. Late payment fees can also help as a prompt to pay the overdue amount and pay next month's invoice on time.
Late overdue SMS reminder example - payment plan
Once your invoice is over thirty days overdue, you may want to provide alternative payment options, such as payment instalment plans to encourage your customer to pay. Your customer could be experiencing cash flow problems, so this is a good way to offer them support while ensuring you come to a reasonable solution to receive your business's debts without the need for legal action.
4 - Payment plan reminder text message example
Dear [FIRST NAME], your invoice for [amount] was due [due date]. Contact [your phone number] urgently to discuss and agree on a payment plan if required. Thanks, [Your business name]
What can you do if you haven't received payment yet?
If payment reminder texts consistently result in payment plan options, consider updating your payment terms and accounts receivables policy to request down payments or partial payments upfront. This can help ensure you have a certain payment of amount upfront and help manage your client relationship and any cash flow issues. Consider adding late fees to your payment plan to ensure you are being reimbursed for the delayed payment.
Polite reminder SMS - debt collections
You've now sent quite a few reminders, offered different options, and have yet to receive any payment of the amount you are due. This is the point of our business texting when you send your invoice to a debt recovery organisation.
You can remain polite while letting your customer know this step is being taken. Ensure you do your research, understand the dos and don'ts of debt recovery, and select a reputable provider who can recover debts while protecting your client relationships.
5 - Debt collections SMS message example
Your invoice was due [due date] and will be passed to debt collections in [number of days] days. Please contact [your phone number] urgently to discuss. Thanks, [Your business name]
Advice on debt collection text messages
Ensure you follow up on this payment request with an official debt collection letter alongside this sample payment message, so you can provide full details on the action that will be taken if your customer fails to pay. Also, carefully consider the best time to escalate your invoice to debt collections so that you don't jeopardise customer relationships but can protect your business's cash flow.
The benefits of an SMS reminder
An SMS reminder goes beyond just a reminder or sending a payment request. You can also enjoy these additional benefits:
- Encourage faster invoice payments. If you have a payment portal or payment gateway linked in your SMS reminder, clients can make payments in just a few clicks via their SMS message, allowing them to pay you instantly with a handy payments feature.
- Protect customer relationships. If you send payment reminders to a business with cash flow issues, you must offer solutions to avoid jeopardising those customer relationships. Adding payment details or plans to mitigate cash concerns can help protect customer relationships.
- Save time. With automatic SMS reminder scheduling, you won't spend time following up with customers manually. All of your SMS messages can be automated with customisable templates and schedules to ensure you save time without losing the personal touch.
- Improve customer experience. Keep customers informed on what is due easily via SMS, and remove payment friction for clients with an SMS reminder that links directly to their payment gateway. Instantly thank customers for payments received via SMS automatically.
- Immediate delivery - an SMS payment request is likely to be read within just five minutes of being received, making them an immediate form of communication. Instead of relying on emails that may go unseen, SMS provides a more direct line of communication.
- High open rates and response rates - On average, people receive double the number of emails per day than they do SMS messages. When you send SMS payment requests, you are more likely to get an open rate (the rate for SMS is nearly 100%, while email is less than 25%).
Automatically personalize your SMS payment reminder sample messages
The SMS payment reminder samples in this guide cover a variety of invoice-chasing situations whilst remaining polite and professional. These “best practice” templates were developed by Chaser, the market leader in accounts receivables automation, which has been supporting businesses with payment chasing since 2014 and has helped businesses worldwide chase and recover over USD 10 billion in late payments by January 2022.
When you use Chaser's accounts receivables software, the above SMS reminder samples can be pre-loaded onto your account. Placeholder (i.e. [square bracket]) fields are automatically personalised for each recipient. This means every payment reminder looks like it has come directly from you.
You can customise SMS messages with automatic ‘placeholder' personalisation fields (like business name, due date, invoice amount) and use fully editable SMS templates that reflect your normal language and style of communication with customers. View the full benefits and capabilities of SMS reminders in Chaser in this fact sheet, or request access to SMS payment reminders in Chaser.