How to Make Dunning a Positive Customer Experience

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Last updated
May 12, 2020

Dealing with credit card issues is a hassle for your business and for your customers. So dunning can inherently feel like a negative customer experience. It can interrupt your customers’ day, fill their inbox with reminders, and create a sense of urgency and anxiety. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

What if there was a way to not only make dunning painless, but find ways to delight your customers along the way? Modern technology and professional dunning providers have made it possible to create a positive dunning experience for your customers.

Here are some proven ways to make dunning a positive customer experience:

1. Stop Pre-Dunning

Pre-dunning, or sending warning emails to customers before their payment fails, is obsolete and unnecessary. Not to mention it can feel very aggressive and spammy to your customers.

With automatic card update technology and custom retry campaigns, you don’t need to bug your customers about an impending failed payment. On average, 21% of failed payments can be solved simply by retrying the same card multiple times.

Temporary issues like daily spending limits, expired cards, and account detail issues can be solved without ever hassling your customer.

Don’t bug them about a problem that’s not a problem. Handle things behind the scenes and skip out on the dunning experience all together.

2. Focus on your Messaging

So you didn’t pre-bug your customers about an impending failed payment, but automatic retries couldn’t solve the issue. You need a new card on file from your customer. This is where the experience can quickly go south.

Simple dunning emails tend to lack a certain human element that makes customers comfortable with trusting them. From sketchy send names like “” to off-brand messaging, customers can quickly be uneasy about these emails, leading to less recovery.

Instead, treat dunning emails they way you would any marketing campaign. Ensure the messaging matches your company tone so your customers feel more comfortable.

Include branding elements like logos, brand colors, and html assets to ease any customer mistrust. Send emails from recognizable names in your company and make sure replies are routed to a real person.

Keeping your brand tone front and center throughout your recovery efforts will make the process more human and enjoyable for your customers.

3. Pace your Campaigns

Your customer are humans just like you. They are busy with life, work, and everything in between. Just because you want their payment info ASAP, doesn’t mean they will be ready ASAP. Give them a break by pacing out your campaigns.

Space your emails at intervals that give your customers ample time to take action before you increase urgency and start to threaten cancellation. Consider adding in extra retries between emails.

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Simply put: Understand the busy nature of your customers’ lives and respect it with customizable campaign schedules (available on Churn Buster’s Grow and Optimize plans).

4. Provide Loginless Card Capture

We’ve talked about maintaining a positive customer experience through retries and email campaigns, but it doesn’t stop there. Dunning is a long process. From the initial failed payment to getting updated information, there are so many points where the experience can fall short. Card updating is one of these high-risk moments.

If retries cannot solve the billing issue and you need customers to take action, you want to make it as easy as possible. Your dunning emails should link to loginless card update pages where new credit card information can be plugged in with one quick step.

Most customers won’t necessarily expect this level of simplicity, but it makes their end of the process so much easier and faster. Going above and beyond for your customers like this makes the entire dunning process seem less like a chore and more like a quick update for a service they love.

5. Make Card Updating Seamless

If you’re building a SaaS or software product, giving your customers the option to update their card information within your platform is a great trick for improving the customer experience. It’s all about making it as easy as possible for them, so you want to be where they are.

dunning and dunning emails

Don't gamble at your point of recovery — ensure customers have an easy, secure way to update their credit card info, even while they’re in your app.

70% of people update card information on their phones, so ensure your forms are optimized for mobile and instantly verify payment methods to avoid a second round of issues with the customer.

These may sound like small tweaks, but the difference is in the details. Every action you take to improve the customer experience will have a big impact on recovery.

Take the Hassle out of Dunning

Every time you engage with your customers, you have a chance to give them a positive experience with your brand and your product, and dunning is no exception. It’s easily overlooked as something that can be solved with a simple solution and left to its own devices. This is a risky game to play with real money on the table.

Any conversation around billing and payments can quickly feel aggressive and artificial. But it doesn’t have to be. The notion that dunning should be plug and go is ultimately outdated. With pro-dunning solutions, you have the capability to create an enjoyable recovery experience for your customers.

Treat them like people, not like “users” who owe you money, and you will begin to see an increase in revenue recovery. And who doesn’t love that?


If you have any questions about these tactics, feel free to comment below or reach out anyone at Churn Buster. If you’re ready to give your customers a more enjoyable experience at this critical point, that’s our bread and butter. Check out our plans and pricing or book a demo to see how our advanced system can maximize recovery and reduce churn.