6 FAQs About Unpaid Invoices

The experts from Cash Protection Agency give some handy tips on chasing payment.

Credit control emails are a useful way to remind your customers that payment is due, without paying postage and printing costs, and with the knowledge that – all being well – they will receive their reminder almost instantly.

However, there are some things you should remember when sending out credit control emails, if you want them to have the best chance of success.

These are five of CPAs top tips for credit control emails:

1. Tone of voice

To some people, an email is always ‘informal’, especially if it’s costing them money rather than making it. Judge your tone of voice carefully – you want to sound civil, but not overly friendly, while still staying firm on the fact that payment is due and delays are unacceptable.

2. Docs and data

Include all of the documents and information the client needs to settle their account, without them delving through their inbox for old emails. A PDF of the original invoice, along with your bank details, leaves no excuse for non-payment – so don’t make the mistake of assuming the client already has this information.

3. Terms and conditions

You should also resend your terms and conditions so the client can see the potential ramifications of non-payment. As always, it’s too late at this stage to enforce new Ts & Cs that have not already been discussed, so make sure you agree payment terms at the outset, and that the version you resend later matches the original.

4. Read receipts

Like a bad radio advertisement, read receipts are annoying but get you noticed – and many people will go to some lengths to avoid receiving another one. These are the pop-ups that prompt the recipient of an email to confirm that they have seen it. Best-case scenario, you get confirmation that your reminder has been delivered. Worst-case scenario (assuming the email is read at all) is you force the recipient to recognise your email and interact with it, helping to lodge it in their mind.

5. What happens next?

It’s all very well saying ‘payment is due’, but for maximum effect you should spell out what’s coming if the client doesn’t pay. Provide totals of penalty fees and interest charges, to hammer home the financial case for prompt payment, with warnings of legal action to trigger a positive response from those who want to avoid a day in court.