3 Reasons You Should Ask for Payment of Invoices By Email

3 Reasons You Should Ask for Payment of Invoices By Email

Not long after I started my small business, I noticed that monthly payment of invoices differed from customer to customer. There were customers that paid on time and customers that didn’t.

When I looked carefully, I saw that the customers that paid by the due date had a stronger business relationship with us.

When I realized the reason why those customers paid on time, I thought “well, all we have to do is build positive relationships with ALL our customers. Then everyone will pay on time!”

From then on, we got into the habit of building a positive relationship with our customers at every opportunity, including making emails clear and precise to save them time and energy.

Good service builds strong relationships with customers

We made a point of really servicing our customers well. For example, before we reminded our customer that an invoice was due, we made sure that it was correct, with the right person and that our customer wasn’t waiting for anything further from us.

Here’s where email can be really effective to get an invoice paid:

Best times to ask for payment of invoices by email

Where email worked well, was to confirm something that had already been agreed with our customer. For example:

  1. If our customer had requested a copy of an invoice
  2. To confirm the customer’s promise to pay after a credit note had been sent.

The key when sending any email is that it needs to be very clear and precise because these days, people are always short of time.

It’s been proven that people don’t read blocks of text and they hardly ever read down to the bottom of an email, they just ‘skim’, so emails should be as brief as possible while including all the facts the customer needs.

Address emails correctly

To make sure they get to the person who can pay your bill, emails should always be addressed correctly. 49% of invoices are unpaid because they go astray, don’t let yours be one of those!

You can let your customer know that you’ll be sending them an email, so they can look out for it, especially if your email involves resolving a query they had raised.

If you’ve just issued a credit note after resolving a query, it makes things really clear for your customer if you send an email and attach the credit note. You can finalize the due amount on the email too.

How to get your customer’s attention

The purpose of sending an email to confirm an agreement is to clearly reaffirm your agreement with the customer. Let’s take the example of sending a credit note.

#1: Email a CR. note that makes payment of invoices due now

  • Make the subject line really clear with a summary of what’s attached
  • Greet your customer politely
  • Consider if you should include any of the customers reference numbers
  • List and total the invoices and corresponding credit note and their values
  • Let your customer know what will happen next
  • Include your contact details in case they have a question
  • Sign off politely

Writing an email like this makes things super-clear for your customer, then they’ll be clear about what they need to pay and when.

#2: Just one invoice due?

  • Make the subject line really clear with the invoice details
  • Write a short, polite note asking the customer to get in touch if they have a query
  • Let the customer know what they can expect from you as a follow-up
  • Include your contact details in case they have a question
  • Sign off politely.

#3:  More than one invoice due?

  • Total all the invoice totals in the subject line
  • List each individual invoice with correct details
  • Add the total amount due for payment
  • Add a short message regarding what they can expect from you following this email
  • Include your contact details in case they have a question
  • Politely sign off

After we sent these sort of emails, we called out customer to confirm they’d received it and to make sure there were no queries.

When we called, we got the opportunity to gently remind the customer the date that the invoice(s)were due for payment. It was just another valuable ‘service’ call – another opportunity to build a strong working relationship with our customer. After all, the payment of invoices (and payment on time) was a stake.

What we learnt was that if we provided our customers with outstanding service they got to know and like us and then they put our invoices to the front of the payment queue.

Chasing payment using email is perfect for:

  • Confirming an agreed payment date
  • What’s already been agreed
  • Interacting with customers who always do pay on time (we love those) or
  • To attach a credit note or proof of delivery.

Remember to keep it clear and short and use bullet points to try and keep your readers’ attention.

To your business success!

6 thoughts on “3 Reasons You Should Ask for Payment of Invoices By Email

    • Jan Reeves says:

      Not forward at all Sam – your customer has already had the benefit of your goods or service (and actually expects to pay!)

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