Overcoming Collection Email Hurdles: Part 3

It may not seem like a big deal what you write when you send a collection email, but it could mean the difference between a customer paying or not paying. Yes, you’ve gotten it in their inbox and at least they’ve opened it, but if they haven’t read the email then they won’t know to pay. Issues with getting customers to read the email all start with how wordy you have been and what type of tone you take. Below, you can find some tips on how to ensure your customers are reading the email all the way through.

Tips for a Short, Sweet, and Effective Invoice Collection Email

1. Stick to the point

To make following the conversation easier for you and your customer, limit your email to one topic (or in this case, one invoice). That way there is no confusion and you can easily search your inbox/outbox to check up on conversations about an invoice. If another topic of conversation pops up, begin a new email chain with a subject line that reflects the new topic.

Looking for emails can be time consuming and you may not always be able to find what you’re looking for. You can make tracking, organizing, and finding customer conversations faster and easier by using A/R software that automatically stores incoming and outgoing emails for you. Learn more here.

2. Stay away from CAPS and be polite

No matter how frustrated you are, never use capital letters in a professional email. This can be easily interpreted to the customer as aggressive, like you’re yelling at them via email. Because collecting invoices is as much a customer service and sales task as it is an accounting function, keeping your cool is crucial to maintaining customer relationships and future business.

3. Don’t say more than you need to

Keeping your email concise and to the point is important to ensure the customer understands what you are saying and asking of them. In the case of a collection email, you want to convey to them that they are late on a payment, they need to pay you, and lay out instructions on how to send payment- everything beyond that is just filler in which your real message can get lost.

If a longer conversation or message must be sent, you may be better off picking up the phone.

4. Plan for possible responses

Think about the customer’s response or any questions that may arise after reading your email and include your answer in the email you send. This will help reduce the need for follow-up questions on the customer’s part and get you closer to payment. This is when an “if…then…” statement can come in quite handy. For example:

  • “If you have already submitted payment, please disregard this email.”
  •  “If you have a question or concern about this invoice, please call me at 440-123-4567.”
  • “If you’re unable to pay at this time, please contact me so we can work out a payment plan.”

 5. Think about layout.

Just like this blog article is being split into sections with numbers, bullets, and paragraphs, use multiple paragraphs and bullet points in your email. This will help you clearly convey your message and keep the email short and easy to read. Use a simple and easy to read font, as well.

6. Review and edit

As mentioned earlier, it’s easy to get carried away and write too much, so don’t hit “send” before you’ve gone over the email and removed any unnecessary words and sentences. You also want to double check spelling, grammar, invoice information, and make sure there is nothing in the email that can be misinterpreted by the customer. When you look at your email ask yourself:

  •  Is the message clear?
  •  Could there be any misunderstandings?
  •  If I were the customer, would I read this email fully?
  • Does the customer have what they need to complete the action I am asking them to take- meaning in your case invoice information, contact information, and instructions for payment.

These tips are not difficult to start implementing in your email writing. By simply rereading your emails before sending them, you can find places where you may have been too wordy, where the tone has become too harsh or find simple mistakes. All of these mistakes can lose your customer’s attention and you will find yourself waiting longer to get paid.

Stay tuned for our next blog post on overcoming collection email hurdles, getting your customer to pay.


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