Collecting payments from clients can be a hassle, and small businesses often have to chase these up. This can lead to a lot of wasted time and resources that could be better used elsewhere.
SMS payment reminders are a great way to give your clients a gentle nudge in the right direction. They’re also cost-effective and easy to set up.
Here’s the small business guide to using them.
SMS payment reminders are sent to clients’ phones via text. These mobile alerts can be automated and sent at any stage in the payment process. This includes before the payment is due, when it’s due, and after the payment is already late.
You can customize these messages using any wording you like and can even use emojis to keep the tone light and friendly.
SMS reminders are a handy way to keep in touch with your customers and avoid late payments. Messages should be short and clear and, above all, encourage the client to settle their bill. Therefore, your word choices are key.
Late payments can cost a business significant amounts of time and money. In a 2021 survey, QuickBooks found that 65% of U.S medium-sized businesses spend around 14 hours a week chasing and collecting them. Hence, as you scale your small business, late payments will likely have a larger impact on it.
Bearing this in mind, it’s easy to see the benefits of payment reminders. Not only are they a quick and easy form of communication, but texts are more likely to be read than emails and other types of messages.
Before you begin using texts as payment prompts, be sure to read up on compliance. Just as businesses need permission to email their customers monthly newsletters or promotions, they also need permission to send SMS reminders.
This means your clients have to opt-in to this service.
Don’t worry: we don’t mean you need to get them to sign using electronic signature for small business software—it’s just that consent must be clear. This means you can’t hide these terms somewhere clients are unlikely to see them. In other words, they must know what they’re agreeing to.
There are lots of different types of payment reminders that small businesses can use. Here, we’ll go through some of the most popular. Plus, we’ll add some examples for you to use as inspiration.
While not technically a payment reminder, it’s always nice for customers to receive a welcome message.
When your clients opt into receiving reminders, send an automated text welcoming them to the club. This will serve as confirmation for the recipient and help them understand what they’ve agreed to.
Hi [Name]. Thanks for signing up to receive payment reminders! We’ll send you a monthly message the week before your payment is due. If you have any questions about this service, please call [phone number].
Welcome [Name]. It’s great to have you onboard. We’ll be in touch when it’s time to make a payment. In the meantime, you can log into your account to manage your service.
As you can see, these examples clearly and concisely describe what the client can expect from you. They also give them the option of calling if they have any questions or queries.
Reminders can be scheduled to be sent automatically before payment is due. You can set the time for this yourself. It could be a day before or even a week—it’s entirely up to you.
Make sure you keep the tone light at this stage, as this text should simply serve as a reminder, helping clients to avoid any late payment fees they may incur.
Hi [name]. [Company name] here. Just a quick reminder that your payment of [amount] is due on the [date]. Thanks again for your business.
This message provides all the essential information the client needs. Here is another example of a Before Payment is Due message:
Hi [name]. Your payment of [amount] is nearly due. Please pay by [date]. You are receiving this text because you signed up to receive SMS payment reminders.
You could also suggest they add a reminder to their smartphone calendar if they’re not planning on making the payment right away. For example:
Hey [name]. Your payment for [service] is due soon. Click here to add a reminder to your calendar.
These reminders are typically sent out on the day they need to be made to encourage customers to pay as soon as possible. If you send a payment reminder a week before it’s due, your client is more likely to close the message and forget about it, because they still have plenty of time left to do it.
“Payment is due” reminders should convey a slightly more urgent message. Rather than waiting until later, you want clients to pay when they receive the text and while it’s fresh in their minds. You might send an email at the same time to cover all your bases.
Hi [name]. Your payment is due. Please pay [amount] by the end of the day to avoid any late fees.
Although this message is friendly enough, it gives your client a specific time frame in which to pay their bill. It also gently reminds them of the consequence of not paying i.e. late fees.
A suggestion for this message is to add a short sentence encouraging the client to call if they can’t pay on the day. Such as:
“Having trouble paying? Give us a call on [number] and we’ll talk through your options.
This is slightly different from the above reminder, as invoices aren’t necessarily due on receipt. It’s simply a prompt for clients to access their accounts to view their invoices (you can link to this in the text).
Hi [name]. [Business name] here. Your invoice is ready. We’ve emailed a copy for you to view and download for your records. Please read it and pay by [date].
The example above is professional but friendly. It prompts the client to read the email from you and take action. Alternatively, you might include a link in the text for the customer to access the invoice right away:
Hi [name]. Here’s your latest invoice from [company name] is ready. Download it here. Let us know if you have any questions.
As annoying as late payments are, your first contact should nonetheless be polite. There are many genuine reasons why a payment might be late. Your client may be facing financial difficulty, for example. The important thing is to remain approachable.
Another reason for late payment might be that your client simply forgot. If this is the case, a polite reminder may be all that’s needed to prompt them to settle their bill.
Hey [name]. Did you forget about us? This is a friendly reminder that your payment is now overdue. Please log in to your account and make a payment today.
This example makes it clear that a payment needs to be made that day—but it also keeps things genial and upbeat. You could also go with something like:
Hi [name]. Your payment is now overdue. Please make a payment today or give us a call if you need to discuss your account.
This example gives the recipient an option to call you in case they’re having difficulty paying. While I’m sure you’d rather the customer pay up, this encourages communication and may help recover fees easier in the long run.
Now we get to the trickier stuff. Although you want to create a sense of urgency with your urgent late payment notices, you don’t want to intimidate your clients.
This type of message should only be sent after one or two polite reminders. If you have a PandaDoc bill of sale, this text can even be paired with a formal letter in the mail reminding the client of their obligation to pay.
Hi [name]. Your payment is now [number] days overdue. Despite multiple attempts to contact you, we’re yet to receive a payment. Please pay your balance by [date] to avoid further action.
The example message above communicates the efforts your company has made to enable your client to pay and makes it clear that you’ve given them multiple opportunities to do so. Therefore, the mention of further action is justified.
You might also briefly remind the recipient of any contracts they’ve signed or agreements they’ve made at this point. For example:
Dear [name]. Your payment to [company name] is overdue. May we take this opportunity to remind you of your commitment to pay [amount] per month for the duration of your contract. Pay today to avoid penalties.
When your client makes a payment, send them a thank you message via your automated text message system. This confirms that their payment has gone through.
You have made a payment of [amount]. Thank you for your business. See you again next month!
Big thanks for your payment! Until next time.
The above message shows you appreciate your client’s custom and payment. It also keeps the lines of communication open by suggesting this is an ongoing arrangement.
Sending these little SMS gems is really simple with Mobile Text Alerts. There are just three steps involved:
And that’s it. Just remember to continue promoting SMS payment reminders as a solution you offer. Mobile Text Alerts have multiple ways your customers can subscribe to the service. For example, they can simply text a free phone number to be automatically added to your list. Or, they can scan a QR code to sign up.
Most people will appreciate the small nudge in the right direction, as long as you remain compliant.
SMS payment reminders are a fantastic tool for encouraging clients to pay what they owe you. They’re far more convenient than mailing reminders and more effective than emails. Just be sure to remain friendly at all times and make each text personal by including the client’s name.
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