Dunning emails are the emails you send to remind clients about overdue payments. They are usually responded-to in 1 of four ways:
- Clients claim they have not received the invoice.
- They confirm they received the invoice and have scheduled a payment.
- They say that they cannot pay the invoice.
- They state the invoice has been paid.
Most businesses will receive each of these responses at some point. What do you do next?
The clients claim they have not received the invoice
This might sound like an excuse, but there are situations where this could be true. The email invoice/reminder could have landed in spam or the client may have updated his email domain without your knowledge.
The best way to respond is to reach out and verify all invoice details with the client. Don’t be accusatory. But do be proactive and show you’re eager to keep doing business with them. You’ll need to strike a balance here between firm and rude; in many cases, you’ll need to nudge them multiple times before they fix the issue. Persistence is key here.
They state the invoice has been paid
If they say they’ve already paid, set a reminder for yourself to verify the payment. If they have paid; you’re good to go, but some clients may use this as an excuse to buy time or delay their payments. And while good customer service is important, you can’t afford to let clients dictate their own payment schedules or continue to request extensions.
Good service providers don’t act as debt collectors; they act as partners. If you have reason to believe this is just an excuse from the client, provide clear direction on how you can help and what steps they will need to take to resolve the situation. Outline your payment options and consider suggesting payment plans for overdue accounts. If your client is struggling with cash flow issues, this type of approach might be welcome.
They say they cannot pay the invoice
If a client can’t pay, the first step is to contact the client and understand the issue. It may be the client is uncomfortable sharing their current financial status and inability to pay the invoice. In this situation, offer your client a unique payment plan and work with them on a strategy that fits their financial ability. Or perhaps your client has run into technical difficulties with their bank and cannot make the payment on time. Try and work with your client to see how you can keep your business relationship even in these situations. By asking your client why they cannot pay an invoice and working to uncover the issue, you’re better able to tailor your services to the situation.
They ignore your communications
In this case, you’ll need to be firmer with payment demands. You can send emails warning them about impending service cancellations. If they remain delinquent, you have the right to cut them off. This may signal an end to your business relationship, but it’s a necessary step when funds are owed. Delinquent accounts like these are then passed over and handled by debt collectors whose job it is to chase these clients until they finally pay.
How Automation Makes Dunning Management Easier
Automated A/R collections software can dramatically improve your dunning process by streamlining manual tasks. An automated dunning and billing system can not only send dunning notices to customers when their payments are due but also alert customers when payments are declined. Automated receivables collection management tools can also be set to remind customers to adjust their preferred payment methods if they haven’t yet.
Improving A/R Processes for On-Time Payments
Improving your dunning process by leveraging automated A/R tools is the best way to streamline accounts receivables collections. If your clients are routinely coming up short, put some thought into how you’re managing collections and how much time you’re spending keeping things moving. If you find yourself spending too long corralling delinquent customers with manual processes, an automated A/R collections management solution like Gaviti might be just the thing you need. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of automated A/R for your business.