In my small business we learnt how to use a friendly reminder email to our best advantage when we were chasing invoices for payment.
We found email could be a really helpful tool. We used it to make things really clear for our customers. Really clear so there was no doubt how much they owed and when it needed to be paid.
The Best Way To Use Email To Chase Payment of Invoices
Although you can use a friendly reminder email to chase invoices without speaking to your customer, I wouldn’t say that was the best way to collect overdue invoices. It can work of course and there’s a couple of templates for basic friendly reminder emails later in this article.
However, we had the greatest success using an email reminder either before or after we’d spoken to our customers. It was especially helpful if we had agreed something with the customer in the conversation.
For example, we always used email when we were sending a credit note to the customer. Generally, we had had a conversation with the customer to discuss and resolve the query or problem so we always addressed the email to that person.
Here’s an example…
An Email To Confirm Balance Due After Credit Note Raised
As you can see, it’s a clear, friendly email and just has the basic facts. It gave us the opportunity to include a ‘customer service’ note at the end. That note then gave us the opening to call the next day just to check if the email was received. Then we had the chance to ask for the payment politely.
The 2 Hot Keys: How To Send Emails that Work
The key when sending any email is to be really clear and precise. Emails need to be really clear because these days’ people are really short of time. It’s now proven that people don’t read blocks of text. They just ‘skim’ the email and hardly ever read down to the end.
So it makes sense to make the email as brief as possible. Be brief while including all the facts the customer needs. It’s a good idea to re-read it when you have finished it and see if you can delete anything to make it even clearer.
Here’s some friendly reminder email templates showing how to set your email up so it gets your customers undivided attention:
A Friendly Reminder Email to Chase Payment of a Single Invoice
If you’re writing about just one invoice give all the details in the subject line of your reminder email:
A Friendly Reminder Email to Chase Payment of a Few Invoices
If you are writing about several invoices, be as clear in a different way, especially in the subject line.
You can use these 2 email templates to remind your customer, in a friendly way, that invoices are due for payment soon.
Then, to get the best results from your friendly reminder emails, make a brief note at the end to let your customer know that you will call them tomorrow. Then just call to confirm they have received the email and that they don’t have any queries on any of the invoices.
If they do raise a query, it’ll give you a chance to use some great customer service skills to resolve the query quickly, before the payment due date, and still get paid on time.
If they don’t have a query then you can remind them of the payment due date and ask if there’s anything else they need from you to be able to pay on time.
A Friendly Reminder Email Is Good Customer Service
The idea here is to always provide your customer with ‘World Class’ service. Instead of thinking about chasing customers for payment, think about providing great follow-up service to your customer.
That’s exactly what we did in my business. Our customers really appreciated our good service. They got to know us and like us. Before we knew it, they were putting our payments to the front of the queue!
My best advice is to use friendly reminder emails for confirming an agreed payment date or to attach a credit note or proof of delivery. Remember to use just one or two short sentences, and use bullet points to try and keep your reader’s attention.
Use email for confirming what’s already been agreed by phone and use for the customers who always do pay on time. Although it’s really good to call them from time to time. Find a reason to call occasionally, and provide them with some outstanding service as well.
Key Points on Friendly Reminder Emails:
Do take extra care with the subject line. David Ogilvy, who was one of the most effective headline writers, once said:
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy”.
Use emails to confirm things: payment dates, credit notes etc
- Be really clear, friendly and as short as possible
- For best results cal your customer before or after
- Chase payments with ‘good customer service’
- Remind customers before the due date
Leave me a note in comments to let me know if friendly reminder emails work well for you too!