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.
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.