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Seven of the most important credit control emails to send to customers

19/06/2023

Emails provide an efficient and effective means of communication when it comes to credit control efforts, both to encourage timely payment and to strengthen customer relationships.

In this article, we explore the most important emails to send to customers as part of your credit control strategy.

Receipt of invoice confirmation

Subject: Your invoice [Invoice Number]

Particularly where invoices are sent via post or a third party invoicing system, it is advisable to email your customer soon after the invoice is sent to confirm receipt. Not only will this eliminate the ‘we never received your invoice’ excuse, it also provides an opportunity to:

As well as the benefits to each of these points, it also demonstrates that you have a robust credit control process in place and could deter customers from delaying payment.

Advance reminder

Subject: Your invoice [Invoice Number] is due soon

Wherever possible, send a polite reminder email a few days before your invoice is due for payment. This should ensure that any genuine processing mistakes which would have delayed payment can be addressed, whilst also giving your customer the opportunity to advise you whether payment is likely to be delayed for any reason.

Again, it’s also another example of how professional and organised your credit control team is, providing an extra deterrent to paying late.

Payment reminder

Subject: Your invoice [Invoice Number] is overdue

If payment isn’t made on time, send an email to politely remind your customer about the outstanding invoice, including relevant details such as the invoice number, amount owed and due date. It could also be worthwhile to remind them of your T&Cs and reference your right to charge statutory late payment compensation and interest.

Do this as soon as the due date passes, or as soon after as possible, and be sure to provide clear instructions on how and where to make the payment.

Overdue notice

Subject: Urgent action required: Overdue payment notice [Invoice Number]

If the initial reminder goes unanswered and no payment arrives within a certain period (you’ll know best how long you’d like to wait, taking into account your customer relationships and the importance of that payment for your cash flow), it’s time to escalate the communication and use a stronger tone.

In this email, express your concern regarding the unpaid balance and explain the potential consequences of continued non-payment, such as their account being put on hold, as well as your right to charge statutory late payment compensation and interest. Reiterate the importance of settling the amount promptly and provide a clear deadline.

Urgent action required

Subject: Urgent: Final notice before further action [Invoice Number]

If previous attempts have been unsuccessful, send a more forceful email that makes clear the urgency of the situation. This email should convey a serious tone, indicating that you will pass their details across to your debt collection partner in the event payment isn’t made within a certain period.

Should payment still not arrive, be sure to follow through and instruct a debt collection agency. Whilst operating on a success-fee basis, debt collection agencies can bring further authority to negotiations and expertise in delivering successful outcomes. Once instructed they will notify your customer of their involvement and commence their debt recovery activity, keeping you updated at all times.

Dispute resolution

Subject: Invoice dispute [Invoice Number]

In the event customers dispute an invoice or claim there’s been an error, address their concerns promptly.

Acknowledge their dispute in an email and, where appropriate, assure them that their concern is being investigated. If their dispute only relates to part of the invoice value, request payment is made for the undisputed part in line with your terms of payment.

Provide a timeline for resolution and keep them informed throughout the process. Effective communication during disputes helps in preserving customer relationships.

Thank you for payment

Subject: Thank you for your payment

Whether your customer pays on time or late, send a thank you email (even if you have different templates depending on the timeliness of their payment!).

Not only will the email go a long way in fostering goodwill and loyalty, it also provides an opportunity to pitch for further work, upsell or cross-sell additional products and services, or request a positive review.

Do you utilise any other emails in your credit control efforts which you find are successful? Please share your examples in the comments below.

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