What Are Dunning Emails? 7+ Best Practices To Write One in 2023

January 26, 2023
Ammar Mazhar
What Are Dunning Emails? 7+ Best Practices To Write One in 2023

Table of contents

You might have encountered customers to whom you have to remind about their outstanding dues constantly. You don’t like to nag them every now and then, but it’s a part of your job. 

No SaaS company wants to be in a position where they have multiple outstanding dues. So, they send out dunning emails to remind such customers.

But it takes a lot of time and effort to collect all the information about the customers, contact them, and get paid. 

But what if we tell you there is a more efficient way to contact your customers and get paid in quickly? Would you believe us? We are sure you will after you read about how your automated emails can help you send dunning emails quickly and also craft personalized responses for each and every customer. 

But first, let’s talk about what dunning emails are and how you can write them.

What is a dunning email?

Dunning emails are those sent to customers to remind them of unpaid bills or outstanding dues in return for the services or products they’ve purchased. Businesses send out dunning emails to manage their accounts receivable and to ensure that customers pay their bills on time.

Dunning emails typically include information about the amount owed by the recipient, the due date of the payment, and usually instructions on making the pending payment. Frequently sent dunning emails can assist in lowering the frequency of late payments, strengthening the business's overall financial stability.

Businesses and organizations can save time and resources by not having to manually send out reminders because companies typically send automated dunning emails. Also, it can boost the likelihood that consumers will make on-time payments by ensuring they receive reminders promptly.

A few examples of dunning emails include:

  • Past-due invoice Reminders 
  • Subscription renewal reminders
  • Annual/Monthly bill reminders
  • Maintenance invoice reminder etc.

Mostly, automated email templates are a quick solution to create and send out dunning emails to customers in bulk. The more reminder emails you send, the more likely the customer will respond and pay the outstanding bills. 

What to include in your dunning emails?

While sending out dunning emails, it is important to include specific information so customers understand their outstanding debts and can make a payment quickly and easily. Adding an invoice or an account number can help customers identify the typical debt they owe.

Use the customer's name in the email and, if appropriate, mention the specific good or service they bought to personalize it and improve the likelihood that they will reply. Dunning emails are usually written in a professional tone and language. It is not acceptable to use aggressive or confrontational language.

1. State the purpose of your email

Communicating the purpose of the email to ensure that the customer understands why they are receiving it and what action is required from their side is a healthy practice. Use a subject line like "Invoice Reminder" or "Outstanding Balance" to make it appear that the email reminds you of an unpaid bill.

Your email should start with a clear and concise statement describing its purpose, such as "We are writing to notify you of an outstanding invoice" or "This is a reminder of your past due payment."

Headings and formatting play an important role in breaking up the information in the email and making it easy to scan. They make it easy for the customer to find important information and understand the purpose of the email. Some action words can indicate what the customer needs to do, such as "pay," "renew," or "submit,” and can fulfill the purpose of the email. 

2. Add payment options

 Adding a link or button that directs the recipient to a secure payment page can be effective when sending dunning emails. The page you're directing the recipient to should allow the recipient to enter their payment information and process the transaction. You can also include instructions on how to pay via other methods, such as credit or debit cards. 

By clearly mentioning the expiration date for the payment options, you can let the recipients know when they are supposed to pay their outstanding debts. Adding payment options can be helpful, like a call to action button compels the user to take action. Maybe two out of the five people you send emails to make the payment right after getting the payment options. 

3. Add due date

Including a due date in a dunning email creates a clear timeline for when payment is requested, which can improve the likelihood of successful collections. Customers take action immediately if the due date is near, and thus the collection increases. That’s your dunning strategy, which determines how good your collection turnover will be. 

Dunning emails can help customers prioritize their payments and manage their finances more effectively. Successful dunning emails are usually those having a due date mentioned, which alerts the customer of the due debt. 

It also gives the customer a sense of urgency because they know the limited time they have to make the payment. This may encourage them to act and pay the amount owed. 

4. Whom to contact in the case of dispute or errors

Add the name and contact information of the person or department responsible for handling disputes. Include all the relevant information, such as email addresses, contact numbers, and instructions on reporting a conflict. 

In your dunning email, include a clear explanation of the dispute resolution process, including how long it typically takes to resolve disputes and what customers can expect regarding communication and updates. 

For example, here’s a template of how to mention the dispute resolution procedure in your email: 

Please provide [information required] and submit it via [form/email/phone call] to initiate a dispute. Our dispute resolution process usually takes [time frame], and we will keep you informed throughout. Please remember that disputes must be filed within [X] days, or the outstanding balance will be considered valid.

How to write an effective dunning email?

A compelling dunning email is clear, concise, and persuasive, as well as empathetic and respectful of the customer. Here are some pointers on how to write an effective dunning email:

Infographic: How to write an effective dunning email?

1. Subject line

Keep a short and to-the-point subject line. Use a maximum of 50 characters to ensure that the entire subject line is visible in the preview.

Using words like "reminder," "overdue," "past due," and "urgent" to emphasize the urgency, action-oriented words, such as "pay," "resolve," and "act now can” can help you get better conversions on your collection. 

Some good examples of compelling subject lines are as follows: 

  • [Customer name], Invoice [invoice number] is Overdue
  • Urgent Payment Reminder: Invoice [invoice number]
  • Past Due: Invoice [invoice number] – [amount]

2. Email body

An effective dunning email includes clear and specific information about the outstanding balance and a call to action to encourage the customer to take action and pay their due balance as soon as possible. 

The body of your dunning email should be concise, to the point, and deliver your email's purpose. Extra information that has nothing to do with the fact should be avoided. 

Necessary information should be added, such as the payment details, bank account details, and the payment due date. Highlight the consequences of not making the payment on time, such as late fees or interest. 

An excellent example of how the body of a dunning email should be like: 

“We hope this email finds you in good health. We wanted to remind you that payment of *** on your account is now past due. This payment had a due date of **/**/****.

We strongly recommend you make a payment as soon as possible to avoid service disruptions. You can do so by visiting the following website.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.”

Timely payments are essential for you and your company. Rather than sending many emails to the customers, you can effectively communicate the value of timely payment while ensuring that your customers feel respected and valued by making your dunning emails straightforward, professional, and customer-focused. 

3. Conclusion

Finally, when you are done conveying the purpose of the email and now want the customer to act as a result of the email, remember to conclude your dunning email properly. 

You can add a final reminder by adding a date at the end of the email. Also, adding a call to action, such as the bank account details, will promptly nurture some payments. To keep a friendly and fair tone, add a thank you note, thanking him for being a customer that adds a sense of value and it doesn't seem like you’re just there for payment. 

Email formats may vary from business to business depending upon the niche and industry. The example below is a fair depiction of how dunning emails should be concluded: 

“This payment's deadline was (date)

Your patronage is valued, and we appreciate your prompt payments. If you have any questions or issues, you can always get in touch with us at (contact information). We want to be certain that you have all the data required to submit a payment.

(Insert Bank Account Details)

If you require any support, let us know, and we would be pleased to provide it. We anticipate receiving your timely payment and continuing to provide for you.”

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Best regards,

8 Best practices for dunning emails

Now that you are familiar with how to write a dunning email, it's time for you to learn about what best practices you can incoporate to make your dunning emails more effective.

Infographic: 8 Best practices for dunning emails

1. Keep it short and simple

It is recommended to send emails with clear language and simple information. Take care not to use any jargon or technical phrases. Make it simple for the client to comprehend the message and act. 

The only purpose of a dunning email is to remind the customer about the payment, and the ultimate goal is to recover the debt from the customer; since customers only have a little time to read long paragraphs in emails, short and straightforward emails do the job. 

2. Keep a professional tone

While striking a balance between being polite and professional, you must also be clear about the outstanding payments. Since it is an official matter and not yours, you need to sound like a professional rightly demanding an outstanding debt. 

Showing empathy and sounding understanding develop a sense of trust between the customer and the company. This is a metric to study while studying the customer lifecycle journey. Mentioning due dates is a healthy practice, but giving ultimatums is offensive and sounds bossy. 

3. Enable replies

Enabling replies for dunning emails allows for customer communication and can help resolve any issues causing the customer to fall behind on payments. You can ask for suggestions in your dunning emails; enabling replies can improve the rate of suggestions used to improve the processes and create a sense of value for the customer. 

Another plus of enabling replies is that you can get instant responses from some of the customers from your list. This will confirm their payment status, for example, if one has to pay today or request an extension on the expiry date. Clients can instantly contact you if the replies are enabled in case of any discrepancy. 

4. Send multiple emails

Customers are usually busy with their daily tasks, and most don't use their computers daily and don't check their emails frequently, but sending one dunning email will not do the job in every client's case. 

You can categorize your customers based on the time they submit their payments and send out multiple emails frequently until they reply or show up through another channel. 

5. Include and optimize CTA

Including a CTA is not big a job as optimizing it is. Optimized CTA performs better. Thus, it is better to optimize the CTA while adding it. To optimize it, you can add action-oriented words like “Clear your balance, " “Take Me To The Payment Page,” etc. 

Creating a sense of urgency by offering something in return for a timely payment increases the likelihood of costs landing in your account before time. Make sure the CTA button is visible without much scrolling down. 

It is a good idea to test various placements and iterations of the CTA button to discover which performs the best. This will reveal the CTA button with the highest rate of response.

Use clear and specific action verbs that clarify what will happen when the button is clicked.

6. Use a different sender for dunning emails

Recipients will be less likely to misinterpret dunning emails for other forms of communication, including marketing or customer service emails, if the emails come from a different sender. Using a different sender for dunning emails makes it more likely that the recipient will pay attention to the message and the dunning email's call to action. 

Using a sender linked explicitly to the dunning procedure can help to boost the email's trustworthiness. For instance, using "Accounts Receivable" or "Collections" as the sender's name can create a feeling of authority and severity. Using a different sender can personalize the email and make it feel more like a one-to-one conversation, which can be more effective in getting the recipient to take action.

7. Put your company logo in the email

Brand recognition is essential for all businesses. A company's logo can establish brand identification and boost the email's trustworthiness. Add your company logo to a prominent place in the email to make your email sound more authentic. 

By being consistent with other company communications, such as invoices or statements, using a logo in an email can assist the receiver in gaining confidence in and regard for the sender. Use a high-resolution image to make sure the logo is sharp and clear. The email can contain the logo as an image file.

Also, ensure the logo is linked to the company's website or landing page. When you send transactional details such as billing, subscription emails, or customer account information, your logo confirms that an authentic source has sent the details. All your pre-dunning emails should also have your company’s logo, so the client has an idea about all the documents you’ve sent. It is easy to sort out emails with the same logos. 

8. Do A/B testing

While running an A/B test for dunning emails, two slightly different versions of the email, say version A and version B, are sent to a small sample of recipients, and the performance of each version in terms of conversion rate is then evaluated (e.g., payment, response rate). You can distribute that version to the remaining recipients after determining which version performed better.

A/B tests are essential for dunning emails because small changes in the subject line, layout, or language can greatly impact how recipients respond. We can optimize the message and increase the chances of getting a positive response by testing two slightly different versions of the same email

Some examples of how you can perform A/B testing for our dunning emails are as follows: 

  • The subject line of email version A reads, "Reminder: Your Payment is Overdue."
  • The subject line of email version B reads, "Urgent: Your Payment is Overdue."
  • You send each version to a sample of 100 recipients and discover that Version B converts to payments more frequently.
  • To the remaining recipients, you send version B.

In the above example, there is a slight change of a single word only, but the impact it creates is enormous. Remember to test your dunning emails for better conversions. 

How to improve the dunning email recovery rate?

Multiple factors can be tweaked to improve the recovery rate of your dunning emails. The more emails are converted, the more revenue you generate. Focusing on the formatting of your dunning email is necessary, but evaluating the metrics such as your dunning email recovery rate, churn rate, and conversion is even more critical. 

Let’s have a glance at some of the ways to improve your dunning email recovery rate: 

  • Instead of sending the same message to every recipient, personalize the message to increase the likelihood that the dunning email will be recovered. Mention the consumer by name and mention their prior transactions or relationships with the business. This can facilitate a connection and increase the likelihood that the customer will respond favorably.
  • Segmenting your customer base and tailoring your dunning emails is another useful strategy. For instance, a friendly reminder email may be more appropriate than a harshly worded letter if the customer has a history of making payments on time. 
  • A clear call to action button, such as a link to update their billing information or a phone number in case of any discrepancy, can also increase the chances of a successful recovery and help reduce the churn rate
  • Being honest and transparent in your dunning emails can help you in better conversions. Let the customers know the consequences of not paying, such as termination of services or suspension of account, but also assure them that they are in good standing and that you value their business and wish to have a mutually beneficial business relationship. 
  • Tracking the performance of your dunning emails and making adjustments as necessary can help you analyze whether your dunning emails are performing well.  You can evaluate your click-through rates, as well as the recovery rate, to determine which strategies are most effective. An increased churn rate can be an alarming situation. Evaluating such metrics and making changes to your emails, such as adjusting the language or timing, A/B testing, and tweaking the tone of your email 

In a nutshell, improving the recovery rate of dunning emails can significantly impact your conversions. All the changes discussed, such as personalizing the messages, segmenting the customer base, timing the emails correctly, and others, can help you achieve the goal of improving the recovery rate. 

7 Dunning email templates and eexamples

Here are nine dunning email examples that can help you improve your dunning email overall, from the subject line to the conclusion: 

1. Invoice due reminder

Subject line:Reminder, Payment Due on Invoice [invoice number]

Dear (Customer Name),

We have noticed that your [invoice/account] still needs to be paid. Please let us know if there is an issue, and we will be happy to assist you in resolving it.

*Insert necessary information regarding the invoice.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Kind Regards,
[Your Name]
Example: Invoice due reminder

2. Overdue account email 

Subject line: [Account Number] Overdue Account

Greetings, [customer name]

We genuinely hope you are thriving. We are writing to inform you that your [account number] is past due. We have seen that your most recent payment should have been made on time.

We acknowledge that occasionally there can be problems or delays that impede prompt payment, and we want to work with you to find solutions to any challenges that might arise. If there is a problem, kindly let us know so we can help you fix it as soon as possible.

Please dismiss this message if you have already paid, and accept our apologies for any inconvenience. However, we request that you do so if payment has yet to be made.

Waiting for your reply.
Kind regards,
[Your Name]
Dunning email example: Overdue account email

3. Notice of default: 

Subject line:Notice of Default: [invoice/account] [invoice/account number]

Dear (Customer Name),

We regret to inform you that your [invoice/account], [invoice/account number], is now in default. We have yet to receive payment for the [invoice/account], which has been overdue for an extended period.

We strongly advise you to make the payment as soon as possible to avoid any issues with your service. Please take immediate action to make the payment.

Kind Regards,
[Your Name]
Dunning email example: Notice of default

4. Final notice email

Subject line:Final Notice: Unpaid Invoice [invoice number]

Greetings, (customer)

The [invoice number] is a final reminder that your invoice is past due. Since this invoice has yet to be paid for and the due date has passed, we would like to remind you to do so immediately to avoid late fees and additional collection efforts.

The information about our bank account and your outstanding debts is attached.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

5. Annual/monthly bill reminder

Subject line:Annual/Monthly Bill Reminder - [Account Number]

Dear (Customer Name)

We are writing to remind you that your annual/monthly bill for [account number] is due. The due date for this bill is quickly approaching, so we can deposit the payment in our account.

Please submit the dues so we can continue a mutually beneficial business relationship.

Kind Regards,
[Your Name]
Dunning email example: Annual/monthly bill reminder

6. Subscription renewal reminder

Subject line:Reminder to renew your subscription - [subscription number]

Dear [User Name],

We hope this message finds you in good health. As a valued subscriber, we wanted to remind you that your subscription, [subscription number], is up for renewal.

Renewing your subscription is simple; you can do so online or through the mobile app.

Thank you for your continued patronage and for selecting our service.
Best wishes,
[Your Name]
Dunning email example: Subscription renewal reminder

7. Initial payment reminder for service activation

Subject line:Initial Payment for service activation (Account Number)

Dear (Customer Name),

We hope this message finds you well. We want to remind you that an initial payment is required to activate your new service, [service activation number]. The payment is due on [due date], and we want to ensure that your service is activated as soon as possible.

Please consider that if your payment is received after the due date, your service may be delayed or canceled.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. We appreciate your prompt attention to this matter and appreciate your decision to use our services.

Best wishes,
[Your Name]
Dunning email example: Initial payment reminder for service activation

When to send dunning emails?

Dunning emails should be sent appropriately to encourage customers to make timely payments. The timing of dunning emails can vary depending on the type of business and the agreed-upon payment terms.

If your business operates on a monthly billing cycle, the first dunning email should be sent after the invoice has been unpaid for 7-10 days. This gives customers enough time to receive and process the invoice before the due date. After the first dunning email, you should send a dunning email every 5-7 days of the last email 

Contrary to it, sending the first dunning email 45-60 days before the renewal date is recommended if you are running a business that operates on an annual billing cycle. This gives customers ample time to review their subscriptions and make payment arrangements. Additional dunning emails can be sent every 7-10 days until payment is received.

Remember, sending too many dunning emails can be disturbing and annoying sometimes. Make sure you devise a time strategy before sending out dunning emails. Segment the customers based on your previous experiences and send them dunning emails when you think they are primarily not working or are free. 

How to automate dunning emails?

Sending out dunning emails to your client base is a hectic and time-taking process. To cater to this, you can easily automate your dunning email process using email automation software like AppFlows. Here’s how you can automate your behavioral emails with AppFlows:

To start crafting your dunning email workflows, you first need to choose your campaign type. 

Choose campaign type

Choose automations from the new pop-up window. 

Choose automation

After selecting automations, you can start creating your automation by choosing the“Create from scratch” option. 

Create automation from scratch

Next, you will be taken to the automation builder, where you can assign triggers and timers and design email sequences for every new action the recipient takes.

AppFlows automation builder

With automated dunning emails, you can remain on top of your customers' minds by reminding them now and again of their unpaid dues. Moreover, you don’t have to spend hours personalizing each and every email for your recipients - just a few changes here and there, and your dunning emails are ready to go. 


Dunning emails are a necessary part of every business. So, it’s necessary to get them right to elicit a response from your customers. With the advent of automation, sending out dunning emails is becoming easier. 

So, we recommend that you automate your dunning emails so that you get your payments cleared in due time.

We hope that you find the information helpful. Please feel free to reach out in case of any queries.

Author Bio

Ammar Mazhar

Ammar Mazhar

Content writer by day and a book nerd by night, Ammar Mazhar has been writing for 3 years for B2B and B2C businesses. As a wordsmith, Ammar knows how to write SEO-optimized content that your users will find insightful, igniting results for your business.

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