Overdue payments can cause challenges for businesses and deeply affect any business’s cash flow. If your incoming cash is unpredictable, it's much harder to manage your outgoing cash. It's essential that you find ways to encourage your clients to pay on time. You can do this by communicating with them regularly via an organised set of polite, yet persistent, overdue invoice reminder emails. If you send payment reminder messages, you will keep a contact line open with your client and ensure you are not forgotten.
The right payment reminder email can solve the issue and is far more beneficial for your business than using a debt collection agency immediately. But to ensure you don't damage your good customer relationship, it's critical to get payment reminder emails right!
Unlike in-person or verbal communications, a payment reminder email can all too often be misinterpreted or misunderstood. What might seem factual and to the point, can for some people seem abrupt or rude. It can be really difficult to get it right, so overdue invoice payment reminder email templates that set the tone for your written communications can be handy. They will help you craft an effective payment reminder email that will push a client to pay an invoice immediately. At the same time, the best reminder message will keep your relationship with a client positive and ensure that they continue to value your business.
Table of Contents
- Email template 1: Payment reminder email template pre-due-date
- Email template 2: Polite overdue invoice reminder email
- Email template 3: When an invoice is early overdue
- Email template 4: Late overdue invoice reminder
- Email template 5: When an invoice is paid
- What to do if you don't succeed?
- The benefits of planning your invoice reminder emails with Chaser
- Let Chaser take your overdue invoice reminder emails further
Email template 1: Pre-Due Date Payment Reminder Email Template
Even before an invoice payment is due, you can send a payment reminder email to the customer with all the required information that is necessary for payment on time. It's a good idea to do this at this point so that you don't get forgotten about. Ask the client to confirm that they have received the invoice, and acknowledge that the invoice is not yet overdue. This is the first payment reminder email that you should send.
You might also use a payment reminder email to enquire about whether there are any known issues that would delay payment. For instance, they could be confused about the payment process or unsure of the payment details. You could even provide them with a link so they can view and pay their invoice online. You should always make sure that the payment terms are clear.
It's helpful for you to know the expected date of payment when an invoice is going to be late before sending a payment reminder email. Here’s one of the best payment reminder email templates you can use when crafting this type of communication
Email template 2: Polite overdue invoice reminder email
If the invoice remains unpaid after a couple of days from sending the first payment reminder message, you should begin to chase the payment with further payment reminder emails. When enquiring about late payments you should always be professional and polite, and it's important not to come across as angry or rude. Let them know it is just a reminder - keeping it friendly will help you gain a timely payment. Also, if your payment terms include charging for late payments, you can include this in your reminder message or follow-up email. That could include details on whether you intend to apply interest fees based on the original due date. Remember, a payment reminder should provide them with the key information they need. Mention of a late fee can spur them into action.
We recommend using your business name and the invoice number on a payment reminder email as it allows the recipient to know precisely who is communicating (in this case, your business' name) and what this email refers to.
In any payment reminder messages, we recommend also stating clearly:
- The amount owed due to outstanding payments
- The invoice number
- The date when the payment was due
- Any payment options that they can use (you could include a payment link)
Email template 3: When an invoice is early overdue
When your original outstanding invoice is still only a few days overdue, your aim should be to ensure that you get a payment date agreed upon as soon as possible, rather than “nudging” your customer.
Remember that when invoice payment is overdue, you are legally entitled to add interest and compensation for it. If you choose to employ these rights for your business, make this clear to the customer in your overdue invoice reminder email.
Email template 4: Late overdue invoice reminder
If you've chased a customer repeatedly for an overdue unpaid invoice without any luck using payment reminders, it's time to change your accounts receivable tactics. After the first three email reminders, you have contacted your client repeatedly to pay their overdue invoice without any success. The email below gives your client one more opportunity to pay in a kind way, whilst still escalating the severity of the late payment. This is also useful if they are ignoring other forms of communication such as SMS messages.
The element of urgency is very literally spelt out in the body of the follow-up payment reminder message with the line “as a matter of urgency,” as well as made very clear with an “OVERDUE” in the subject line. A clear subject line is critical for a high open rate.
For instance, a week late subject line could be “Overdue Payment reminder from (Your Business) - Due (Date Due).
A month overdue subject line will be more urgent such as “Urgent Overdue payment notification from (Your business) - Due (Date Due).
Again, remember to attach a copy of the invoice with your reminder email to prevent getting held up by claims of “oh, I never received that…”, should they arise, including a customer statement if emailing about multiple invoices.
Email template 5: When an invoice is paid
Whether it was early, on time, or two weeks late, when a customer pays your invoice, you should send them a “thank you for paying” email once you have received payment to your bank account. It’s crucial to do this regardless of whether the client responded after the first payment reminder message or the fifth. This will undoubtedly have a positive effect, as perhaps they will feel guilty about their late payment from your polite handling of it and endeavour to pay earlier in future. Or they'll appreciate you recognising them paying in a timely manner, reinforcing the relationship and ensuring future payments remain timely. Not only do ‘thanks for the payment' emails help to improve future payment behaviours, they can also be used as an in for converting customers to direct debit or securing further sales.
We recommend the following template for thanking your customers for payments.
What to do if you don’t succeed?
Sometimes, using a debt collection agency is a necessary step to get your invoices paid and one which you'd rather avoid until it is absolutely necessary. This is because it's often seen as having a negative impact on your customer relationships, coming from a perception of aggressive, impersonal collectors that would simply not care about your customers as long as they pay their outstanding invoices. A friendly reminder is always more favourable, particularly for a small business owner who relies on the support of loyal clients.
Send A Final Late Payment Reminder Email
Before you even think about using a collection agency, you should send a final payment reminder email. This final notice is the last chance you provide a client to complete timely payment or include late payment fees and other actions. Depending on when you choose to send this email, you could include the week late subject line included above.
- Remember an effective payment reminder email will include:
- The original payment due date
- Any information on late fees
- The original invoice number
In most cases, a final payment reminder email will result in timely payments for the original invoice.
An Alternative To Standard Debt Collection
You can send payment reminders for as long as you like. However, eventually, it may become clear that your late payment reminder emails are being ignored. At this point, you still don’t need to resort to using a typical debt collection service when payment is due. If an effective payment reminder email has failed, there’s another alternative.
At Chaser, we believe there is room for a better way of doing debt collection instead of using an impersonal collection agency. For this reason, we believe it's essential to provide the service to our customers and do it in a way that does not harm business relationships. Find out more about our debt collection services or download the fact sheet for more information.
The benefits of planning your invoice reminder emails with Chaser
Chasing overdue invoices can drain your energy and take time away from running your business. At Chaser, we advise that you plan out times (schedules) and sequences for when your invoice reminder emails go out, as well as how often you will follow up on invoices after the first reminder so that these become programmed and expected by your customers.
Chasing payments for overdue invoices can drain your energy and time away from running your business. At Chaser, we advise that you plan out times (schedules) and sequences for when your invoice reminder emails go out…
The benefits of set schedules for sending out an overdue payment reminder are twofold:
- Save time! We know how long you spend chasing late payments – too long! Managing your credit control is crucial, which is why we recommend using Chaser to automate your credit control.
- Your customers will expect it and come to respect it. They will likely prioritise your payments in the future. You will encourage positive customer paying habits by sending invoice reminders on the same day and at the same time each week. This will result in them meeting the payment due date.
Using Chaser, email and SMS payment reminders can be scheduled at different intervals throughout the invoicing process and can be tailored to different customer groups, such as good or bad payers, with a unique template that you customise with your own branding.
Having a transparent view of both debtors, payments, and all invoice communications in one centralised system empowers you to spot any potential issues, take action and keep your company's cash in a positive position.
Let Chaser take your overdue invoice reminder emails further
Chaser is committed to creating a world where all businesses have the confidence that they will get paid for their work.
You can access a free 14-day trial of Chaser's credit control software that delivers real-time insights about your most urgent debt and how best to chase it, as well as award-winning automated invoice chasing, that looks like it comes directly from you.
If you want to take it one step further than optimising your overdue invoice payment reminder emails, see our ultimate guide to accounts receivable blog, with free guidance on how to optimise your business' entire receivables function. This guide covers everything from the fundamental cornerstones of your AR procedure, when, how and why to conduct credit checks and how to distinguish good and bad payers.
Alternatively, you can contact our friendly team of experts for more information, or join our webinar for practical advice and insights on how to reduce late payments.