It’s almost sounds oxymoronic. How can dunning, a demand for payment, be an opportunity?
In its simplest form, dunning is a communication. What you do with that communication is up to you. More often, enterprises are looking at dunning as opportunity to do more than just get the bill paid. They are leveraging this communication as a way to better engage with their customers: to remind them of an overlooked payment, offer them support, suggest new payment options or inform them of new products.
Viewed under this lens, there are many ways that you can turn this potentially dreaded experience into a positive outcome—for both your customer and your company. Here are some tips to help do just that:
- Tone matters. The goal is not only to get paid but to build customer loyalty over the long haul. Make your communications personal. Recently, my telephone company sent me dunning notice that didn’t demand payment but instead provided a helpful “reminder” that my bill was overdue. The subject line in the email was “A personal note to be opened by Parker Trewin.” Not only did I appreciate the heads up, the subject line made the email more intriguing.
- Offer value. Different terms or different plans might make payment easier for the customer while maximizing their dollars spent with you. Nonprofits learned this long ago. To encourage people to give more, they allow donors to pay in a single, smaller payment or over time. They also leverage the communication to ask if you’d like to cover the transaction fee. And paying my biggest monthly bill has gotten easier, too. My mortgage company allows me to select that date of monthly payment so I can pay them as I get paid. They also let me pay in advance, effectively reducing my total interest.
- Upsell and cross-sell. Your customer might not only want a different plan, they might also want to consider at add-ons. While renegotiating my cable bill, the service rep informed me of a promotion they were running on select premium channels. Now, I don’t have to go to the neighbor’s to keep up with Westworld and the good folks at Xfinity got a higher value customer.
- Timeliness counts. You are more likely to collect if you send out communications close to the payment due date. Companies like Aria can help you automate the process, reducing your workload and increasing your responsiveness. With triggers in workflows, you can remind customers of upcoming due dates, detect outdated credit cards and suggest that customers update their account so services can continue uninterrupted. In fact, Behavioral Insights out of the UK showed that prompting customers with a text message ten days before sending out late fees doubled the value of payments received.
- Don’t forget to say thank you. A simple “thank you” to remind customers how important their business is not only serves to confirm that their payment was received but it provides yet another touchpoint to build brand loyalty.
By using this list, you can help ensure that all your communications, dunning or otherwise, are inviting customers to further engage with your brand. If handled correctly, dunning can put the customer’s interests first, which almost always leads to net positive returns.