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11 Reminder of Payment Ideas That Actually Work
11 Reminder of Payment Ideas That Actually Work
From asking if they got your email to being on the customer’s side, here are 11 answers to the question, “How can you politely remind a client to make a payment?” These aren't payment reminder email templates. These are proven strategies that have helped countless businesses collect overdue payments.
- Ask if They Got Your Email
- Use a Passive Tone to Make Firm but Polite Payment Reminders
- Reach out With Empathy and Kindness
- Send a Thankyou
- Offer Flexible Payment Options
- Send an Automated Payment Reminder Email
- Send a Short on-Point Email With the Invoice
- Follow up With a Friendly Phone Call
- Send a Handwritten Card
- Remove Superfluous Language and Stick to the Facts
- Be on the Customer’s Side
Ask if They Got Your Email
We have some long-time customers that’ll have an outstanding balance with us. Sometimes they’ll not pay right away, and I need to politely remind them about payment. What I will do is send an invoice over email, then wait a day or so before I call them up and ask if they’ve received my email.
It's a gentle way to ask for invoice payment. Most of the time, I’ll get payments within minutes after I conclude the call. Sometimes, I'll have to do this again and will mention that I’m just making sure that email didn't end up in their spam folder. Most times people plan on paying, but simply forget.
When sending invoice payment reminder emails, you don't need to send one with every interaction. Instead, simply remind your customers of your previous attempts. Be sure to include the invoice number in your reminder.
Use a Passive Tone to Make Firm but Polite Reminders
Use a passive voice to remind customers or stakeholders when their bill is due. Business is clearly transactional where payment is due after services are rendered; however, the tone you set in finalizing these transactions becomes part of your branding strategy and customer service reputation. Using a passive tone to say, “your bill of XYZ is due on the first of next month,” is friendlier than stating, “you must pay us XYZ as soon as possible.”
Both parties should unambiguously understand the terms of the transaction beforehand, but businesses must generally attempt to hold customers to these terms without assuming any wrongdoing. The passive voice is perfect for these situations to remain polite, firm, and friendly.
Remember to maintain your tone throughout your communications, from the subject line to the sign-off. Consistent messaging help create a more effective payment reminder email that will capture more late payments.
Reach out With Empathy and Kindness
I personally use empathy and try to be as kind as possible when reminding someone to make their payment. If it’s in a professional setting, I’ll definitely write or call them with the invoice that I sent earlier just to say that I understand that they might have missed it, and being late isn’t a big deal for me. However, I also make sure to say it would be great for me to be paid on time so I can keep delivering great work for them.
If this scenario is in a more personal setting, let's say with a friend who forgot to pay me back, I’ll use humor. For example, I’ll first remind my friend of the situation where they borrowed money and tell them that I’ll need that for something important coming up, therefore it would be great if they could at least pay a part of what's owed. That way, I don’t come across as too aggressive when asking for what’s owed.
Remember that your customers have their own woes which can affect their ability to pay on time. When you send payment reminder messages from a place of empathy and kindness, you create a space for their overdue payment to feel less onerous.
Send a Thankyou
When reminding someone about payment, thank them for their business first. For example, if you chase after a payment too strongly, you risk losing repeat business from the customer. As long as payment isn't long overdue—it's best to keep things light and positive by offering appreciation first.
Timely payments are only part of the equation. The relationship you've built with your customer is valuable as well. Ensure that when you send a payment reminder letter you don't damage the relationship unless absolutely necessary.
Offer Flexible Payment Options
Clients often delay payments when they’re waiting for enough capital to settle their invoice. In such cases, offer flexible payment options where they can send partial payments and spread out the rest. This makes it easier for them to manage their finances effectively and still pay you on time.
You should also offer multiple payment options, such as credit or debit cards, or even PayPal. This makes payment more convenient for customers and encourages them to do so promptly.
Send an Automated Reminder
I've always felt uncomfortable reminding people to pay their invoices. Mainly because it felt impolite somehow. I ended up changing the settings in my invoice software, so it would automatically remind people about their invoices. So now, if my clients still need to pay, they receive a reminder two days before the payment date, two days after, and another after seven days of no payment.
After making that change, I rarely have to personally reach out to clients regarding payment. Though it might seem counter-intuitive, people don't get offended when they receive an automated reminder, which they sometimes get when I have to send them a reminder myself.
Send a Short on-Point Email With the Invoice
Sending a short and on-point reminder email with your invoice is the politest way to remind someone to make a payment because it’s direct and to the point, without being overly aggressive or confrontational. This approach allows the recipient to easily understand the purpose of the reminder and take action on it, without feeling annoyed or offended by the request.
Additionally, by including the invoice with the reminder, you’re providing the recipient with all the necessary information and documents to make the payment, which can help to expedite the process and avoid any confusion or misunderstandings.
Follow up With a Friendly Phone Call
Although emails are common ways to remind clients of payment owed, they can get missed by the receivers. So, you can make a direct phone call to them. While talking, ensure that your voice and tone are friendly. First, start the conversation off by introducing yourself. There’s no guarantee that the person picking up the call remembers you or has your name on the call list. So, it's better to tell them about your identity.
Before asking about the payment, let them know about the work details. Tell them what and how much work you’ve done for them. Then remind them of your contract details. After that, you can come to the topic of payment. You can hint about the late payment, but avoid saying it directly. After that, you can offer various payment options.
Send a Handwritten Card
Small businesses tend to have the ability to send polite reminders in more personal ways than larger companies. For those looking for a way to politely remind someone they haven't made a payment, send a handwritten note card. People respond positively to handwritten notes. It's almost a lost art these days. By sending a small note card with a courteous reminder, businesses are likely to receive payment.
For example, a small notecard with your company logo or even generic cards that say “Reminder” on the front are perfect. Quickly jot a handwritten note stating something along the lines of, “Hello Jill, I just noticed we haven’t yet received your payment for xxx. I'm sure it slipped your mind! I just wanted to give you a quick reminder. I look forward to talking with you soon.” This polite reminder should help you to receive a prompt payment.
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Remove Superfluous Language and Stick to the Facts
Stick to the facts. When reminding someone to make a payment, make sure you’re polite, but direct. If the due date is coming up, gently let them know that payment is due on “x” day per their contract.
If the due date has already passed, you can be a little more firm. Remind them that the due date has passed, and there will be consequences if it's not paid ASAP. Keep it professional, but don't feel like you need to back down. Everyone deserves to be paid on time.
Be on the Customer’s Side
I've found the best way to encourage on-time payments is to treat the customer as if they're a friend. Rather than explaining how missing payment will result in a late fee, frame it from the opposite perspective; you want to save them money, so you're reminding them to make an on-time payment to avoid the late fee.
In addition to resulting in prompt payments, this also helps to build a closer relationship with your customers since they feel you're on their side.
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