Actually getting the customer to pay is one of the greatest hurdles to overcome in collection emails. You can lead them down the right path but there is no way to force them to open their wallet and pay on the invoice. The only way to be successful is to follow the best practices and give them all the resources they need to make payment immediately.
So far we’ve discussed how to ensure the email is in their inbox, how to get them to open it, how to get them to read it, and now is the moment of truth on whether you can get them to pay. Make the email specific to the situation.
If this is your first email to the customer about payment you don’t want to send them the same exact email you’re sending to another customer who is 90 days late on their invoice. If you are doing that then you are either being too harsh on your customer who is only a day late which can impact your relationship with them, or you are being too soft on your customer who is significantly past due and the message will likely continue to be ineffective in helping you get paid. We have built templates to help you tailor your message for each stage of the collection process, click here to get your templates and feel free to edit and use them for your business.
Choose your words strategically
There are some common-sense words to stay away from when writing a collection email, but there are many more every-day words that can be extremely powerful and may subconsciously inspire your customer to follow your instructions. Studies show that words such as “best”, “convenient”, “easy”, “fast”, “quickly”, “save,” and “time” are among some of the most persuasive words in the English language; so when you pair them together in a sentence, you may actually be able to trigger the desired behavior, such as submitting payment or calling you directly.
Here is a quick example of how to transform a sentence with these powerful words:
- Instead of: “I have attached your invoice to this message”
- Try: “For your convenience, I have attached your invoice to this message.”
- Instead of: “Please call me to resolve this matter”
- Try: “Please call me so we can quickly resolve this matter”
- Instead of: “Please send a check to the address below or submit payment online”
- Try: “Please send a check to the address below, or, to save time, you can submit payment online”
Give the customer what they need
If you’re asking your customer to take action, make sure they have everything they need right at their fingertips to do so. For example:
- If you want them to go pay their bill online, provide a direct link to the invoice or to where they login to manage their account.
- If you want them to call you and submit credit card information over the phone, be sure you clearly give them your phone number and direct extension.
- If you are asking them to mail a check in then be sure you give them a correct mailing address and ask that they send the check to your attention. That way it won’t wind up on the wrong person’s desk or sitting in the mail room of your office.
You simply can’t expect customers to take the time out of their day to pay the invoice if they don’t have the tools necessary to do it quickly. You need to make paying invoices an easy and painless process for customers. By making sure that they are receiving your emails, that the email is easy to read and that they have the tools necessary to pay it, you can be sure that you will receive payment as quickly as possible.