The 4 Most Effective Email Templates To Get Your Invoices Paid

7 min read

Email is an incredibly effective tool for credit control. Here at Chaser, we’ve seen that approximately 80% of invoices can be successfully collected through email chasing alone. As powerful as that is, a shocking number of finance teams don’t keep their email sword sharpened, and are likely to see drastically subpar success with their credit control.

Common email aberrations include unfriendly tone, appearance of automation / lack of humanity, an aggressive or judgemental approach to overdue invoices, and even chasing the wrong person entirely.

We get that writing emails from scratch is time-consuming and difficult, or that existing templates are ineffective or no longer have impact due to overuse. We understand that some customers reply venomously, ambiguously, or simply not at all. Then you have your PITA Customers who are always paying late no matter what (until you read this guide, of course).

Forget that - those problems are a thing of the past. Today we’re sharing our 4 most effective email templates to get your invoices paid. These are our own tried and tested, best practice email templates, which are the default for our Chaser users. Please feel free to save these in your email client of choice and give them a try - you’ll be pleased with the results.

Before an invoice is due

Before an invoice is due, there’s only one job you need to focus on doing - ensuring the conditions are right for your customer to be able to make payment. Outside of raising and issuing invoices as close as possible to the sale date (one of many key tips you should know from this infographic), the only other task you need undertake is politely inquiring if everything is on track for the customer to make payment by the due date.

This not only ensures your invoice is fresh in their mind and harder to “forget” to pay, it also goes a long way in building and maintaining a great working relationship.

Our best practice email template for this situation is as follows.

Note that anything inside the italicised [square brackets] is a placeholder that you should replace with the appropriate information for your specific case.

Subject:

[Your business’ name]: invoice [invoice reference number]

Body:

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

Best regards

[Sender’s first name]

A clear and concise subject line works wonders. With most inboxes limiting the subject line to just a few words, it’s imperative that you say as much as you can with as little text as possible. Couple this with the consideration of how many emails your recipient receives per day, you’re fighting a battle to get your email noticed and actioned.

Our testing has found the combination of your business name and the invoice reference number to hit the sweet spot. It lets the recipient know precisely who (in this case, your business’ name) and what this email refers to.

In the body of the email, an opening line of well wishes is a nice way for both you and your recipient to check yourselves and remember that you’re both fellow humans just trying to do their jobs. As a bonus, it’ll help lower any defensive guard they might have in place and help you towards achieving a mutually agreeable outcome.

The rest of the email is clear and concise, much like the subject line. Framing the inquiry as casual (here, “just wanted to drop you a quick note”) goes a long way to dial down the formality and defuse any potential to be interpreted as harassing them about payment. Remember to cover off:

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

Finally, just as the email was topped with well wishes, it’s equally nice to tail it with a polite inquiry about the progress of the invoice’s processing (here, “I would be really grateful”). Articulating your inquiry as such works wonders in building a friendly rapport with your customer and helping future invoices get paid quickly and easily.

Before you send this, don’t forget to attach a copy of the invoice. If they already have it readily on hand, no harm done, but it prevents getting held up by claims of “oh, I never received that invoice…”, should they arise. Of course, if you’re emailing them about multiple invoices, attach a customer statement as well.

When an invoice is early overdue

In the early days after an invoice is overdue, you no longer just want to politely nudge your customer to see if payment is on track. You should still be polite, of course, but your goal is now to get a payment date agreed as soon as possible.

Here at Chaser, we offer the following template.

Subject:

[Your business’ name]: invoice [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.

Best regards

[Sender’s first name]

It follows many of the principles outlined for our Before Due template. One key difference is the ask for when payment can be expected. This puts the (light) pressure on them to reply to you, as you’ve asked for a piece of information rather than just expressed the problem of payment being overdue. It also pushes them to define a timeframe within which they will pay, creating another “promise” (beyond the original invoice) that they will be inclined not to break, lest they want to develop a reputation for being unreliable.

As with Before Due, remember to attach a copy of the invoice to again prevent getting held up by claims of “oh, I never received that…” (remembering to include a customer statement if emailing about multiple invoices).

We recommend Early Overdue emails are sent at a frequency of once every 1-2 weeks so that you project credit control competence to your customer but without harassing them.

When an invoice is late overdue

If you’ve chased a customer repeatedly for payment on an overdue invoice without any luck, it’s time to change tactics. How you should handle this depends on whether they’re a Superstar Customer or a PITA Customer. Either way, the best practice email template remains the same and continues to try and achieve the goal of Early Overdue (getting a payment date agreed). The differentiators are letting the customer know late payment is not okay, and adding an element of urgency to payment.

Subject:

[Your business’ name]: invoice [invoice reference number] OVERDUE

Body:

Hi [Recipient’s first name]

I hope you are well.

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

This invoice is now [number of days overdue] days overdue and is becoming really problematic for us. Please could you let us know about when payment will be made as a matter of urgency.

Best regards

[Sender’s first name]

You can see that along with the other templates so far, this still shares the core principles of clearness, conciseness, and politeness. Letting the customer know late payment is not okay is achieved with the line describing the late payment as “becoming really problematic for us.” This taps into your customer’s guilt about paying late but without getting aggressive or attacking them. Doing the latter will only put them on the defensive and not help you achieve a mutually agreeable outcome at all, not to mention sour the relationship.

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 prevents getting held up by claims of “oh, I never received that…”, should they arise, including a customer statement if emailing about multiple invoices.

When an invoice is paid

Whether it was early, on time, or two weeks late, when a customer pays an invoice you should be sending them “thanks for paying” emails. The impact can only be positive - they’ll either 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.

We recommend the following template for thanking your customers.

Subject:

[Your business’ name]: invoice [invoice reference number]

Body:

Hi [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.

Thanks

[Sender’s first name]

As with all our above templates, the Thanks For Paying template follows many of the same core principles, such as clearness, conciseness, and politeness. This goes an enormously long way to building a great relationship with your customers and helping you get paid sooner in future.

Enjoyed this post?

Go on, give it a share on social media and spread the knowledge.

Share on Twitter
Share on Facebook
Share on LinkedIn

Want more?

Every week we bring you practical advice on how to make your credit control amazing. Sign up below so you don’t miss out on essential content to improve your finance function.


By clicking Subscribe, you agree to our Privacy Policy.

Related Posts
Brad Ewin -

What I Learned About Credit Control From: How To Win Friends & Influence People (Part 2)

6 min read Amazing credit control advice can be garnered from a great deal of sources. In this post I’ve taken a look at the world-famous se...

Brad Ewin -

What I Learned About Credit Control From: How To Win Friends & Influence People (Part 1)

4 min read Amazing credit control advice can be garnered from a great deal of sources. In this post I’ve taken a look at the world-famous se...

Brad Ewin -

4 Ways To Make The Most Of 'Thanks For Paying' Emails

6 min read Thanking your customers for paying their invoices is an incredibly powerful manoeuvre. We’re big believers in it here at Chaser H...