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Email templates: Friendly late payment reminders for your customers

Emails are one of the most popular ways to follow up with customers when invoices are unpaid, or paid late. Unlike in-person or verbal communications, written communication 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. 

Also, overdue payments can cause challenges for businesses and deeply affect 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, payment reminder emails.

"...encourage your clients to pay on time. You can do this by communicating with them regularly via an organised set of polite, yet persistent, payment reminder emails."

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Furthermore, to ensure you don’t damage your good customer relationship, it’s critical to “get the payment follow up emails right”!

Chaser is committed to creating a world where all businesses have the confidence that they will get paid for their work. To this end, we offer accounts receivables software, credit control services and debt collections services, as well as an extensive variety of invoice reminder email templates

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Email template 1: Reminder email template pre-due-date 

Even before an invoice payment is due, you can send your customer an email 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.

You might also enquire about whether there are any known issues that would delay payment. It’s helpful for you to know the expected date of payment when an invoice is going to be late.

 

Type of email: Reminder email template pre-due-date

Subject: [Your company’s name] <> [invoice reference number]

Body:

Hello [Recipient's first name],

I hope that you are well. I am contacting you on behalf of [your company] with regard to the following invoice:

[invoice ref number] / [invoice balance]

This invoice is due for payment on [invoice due date]. Please could you kindly confirm receipt of this invoice and advise as to whether payment has been scheduled.

I have attached a copy of the invoice for your reference. If you require any further information, please let me know.

Best regards,

[Sender’s first name]

 

Email template 2: Polite email asking for payment

When invoices are only overdue by a few days, you should begin to chase the payment. When enquiring about late payments you should always be professional and polite, and it’s important not to come across as cross or rude. Also, if your payment terms include charging for late payments, this is the right moment to remind them of such.

"When enquiring about late payments you should always be professional and polite, and it’s important not to come across as cross or rude."

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We recommend using your business name and the invoice reference number as it allows the recipient to know precisely who is communicating (in this case, your business’ name) and what this email refers to. 

In all your chasing emails, we recommend also stating clearly: 

  1. The amount owed
  2. The invoice reference number
  3. The due date

 

Type of email: Polite email asking for payment

Subject: [Your company’s name] <> [invoice reference number]

Body:

Hello [Recipient’s first name],

I hope you are well.

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to remind you that [amount owed on invoice] in respect of our invoice [invoice reference number] is due for payment on [date due].

I have attached a copy of the invoice for your reference. 

I would be really grateful if you could confirm that everything is on track for payment.

Best regards,

[Sender’s first name]

 

Email template 3: When an invoice is early overdue

When your invoice is still only a few days overdue, your aim should be to ensure that you get a payment date agreed as soon as possible, rather than “nudging” your customer. 

Remember that when a 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 in your email letter.

 

Type of email: When an invoice is early overdue

Subject: [Your company’s name] <> [invoice reference number]

Body:

Hi [Recipient’s first name]

I hope you are well.

We have yet to receive payment from yourselves of [amount owed on invoice] in respect of our invoice [invoice reference number] which was due for payment on [date due].

I would be really grateful if you could let me know when we can expect to receive payment.

I have attached a copy of the invoice for your reference. Thank you for your help.

Best regards

[Sender’s first name]

 

Email template 4: Late overdue invoice follow up

If you’ve chased a customer repeatedly for an overdue unpaid invoice without any luck, it’s time to change your accounts receivable tactics. After the first three emails, you have contacted your client repeatedly to pay their overdue payment 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.

The element of urgency is very literally spelled out in the body with the line “as a matter of urgency,” as well as made very clear with an “OVERDUE” in the subject line.

Again, remember to attach a copy of the invoice 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.

Webinar AD-Youve sent the invoice but the customer hasnt paid-now what-100

Type of email: Late overdue invoice follow up

Subject: [Your company’s name] <> [invoice reference number]:OVERDUE

Body:

Hi [Recipient’s first name]

I hope you are well.

We have yet to receive payment from yourselves of [amount owed on invoice] in respect of our invoice [invoice reference number] which was due for payment on [date due].

I would be really grateful if you could let me know when we can expect to receive payment.

I’ve attached the invoice for your reference. 

Best regards,

[Sender’s first name]

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.  This will undoubtedly have a positive effect: 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.

 

Type of email: When an invoice is paid

Subject: [Your company’s name] <> [invoice reference number]

Body:

Hello [Recipient’s first name],

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know that we have received your recent payment in respect of invoice [invoice reference number].

Thank you very much. We really appreciate it.

Best regards,

[Sender’s first name]

 

If you want to take it one step further than optimising your payment reminders, 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.

Why to plan your email schedules 

At Chaser, we advise that you plan out times (schedules) and sequences when your emails go out and 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. Never forget to follow up on an unpaid invoice again. Set up as many reminders as you need in a sophisticated email cadence.

Chasing payments for overdue invoices can drain your energy and time away from running your business. Never forget to follow up on an unpaid invoice again. Set up as many reminders as you need in a sophisticated email cadence.

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There benefits are twofold: 

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.

Using Chaser, 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 debt empowers you to spot any potential issues, take action and keep the company’s cash in a positive position.

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.

At Chaser, we believe there is room for a better way of doing debt collection. 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.

Templates are great… but what about automating your invoice chasing for free? 

Get access to 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.

[Try Chaser for free]




Topics:
Credit Control
Email Templates
Accounts receivable