Churn Buster vs. In-House Dunning

Many companies build a basic system while starting up that sends an email whenever a customer's payment fails. As the business grows, and churn becomes more of a priority, these systems lack visibility, optimizability, and as a result, performance.

Campaigns

Most systems are what we refer to as "basic dunning." They trigger an email to a customer whenever a payment fails. This limits the amount of optimization you can do in an extremely high-value area of your business. It's why Churn Buster offers advanced "Recovery Campaigns", rather than simple triggered emails.

  • Smart Campaign Defaults for B2C, B2B, etc.: Choose the email/retry schedule that fits your business best. Churn Buster offers various defaults that fit the unique needs of your business and its customers.
    In-house systems are typically limited by the retry schedule of the payment processor since emails are simply sent whenever a payment fails.
  • 1st Email Delay: Resolve ~20% of charges via automated retries, send fewer emails. We recommend not emailing immediately after a payment fails. It can increase support costs, and customer confusion. Other tools often take credit for recovery of these temporary failures since they send emails right away. In the Churn Buster dashboard, they are tracked separately as "successful retries".
    In-house systems typically send emails immediately upon payment failure.
  • Unlimited Emails: Build your perfect campaign with as many (or as few) emails as you like. Since most tools only trigger emails to be sent when a payment fails, your number of emails is limited by the number of allowed retries by your payment processor.
    In most cases, in-house systems simply send an email whenever a payment fails, so the number of emails (and the timing) is determined by how flexible the retry settings are in your payment processor.
  • Unlimited Webhooks: Use webhooks to trigger custom activity X days after payment failure, or based on customer metadata. This is a big part of what makes Churn Buster unique. We don't just sent some basic emails, we act as the backbone of your failed payments system, embedding deeply into your team's processes to identify otherwise-missed opportunities, and recover additional revenue.
    Most in-house systems simply use failed payment notices from their payment processor as the trigger to send emails. So they don't have the ability to send out delayed webhooks (i.e. escalate on day 25 if still unpaid).
  • Customize Timing: Churn Buster campaigns are fully-customizable. Build in delays, emails, and custom actions, wherever they make sense for your unique needs.
    Most in-house systems simply use failed payment notices from their payment processor as the trigger to send emails. So timing can't be customized, or if it can, it tends to be quite limited.
  • Unlimited Campaign Duration: In general, longer campaigns are better. Many tools cap the length of your campaigns around 2-3 weeks...not Churn Buster.
    In most cases, in-house systems simply send an email whenever a payment fails, so the duration of the campaign is determined by how flexible the retry settings are in your payment processor.
  • Over 1k Integrations: Use our Zapier integration to escalate high-value, or at-risk campaigns, to your customer success team so they can ignore the rest (handled by our automation).
  • Escalate Campaigns: Get alerts of high-value opportunities, or issues, so your team can jump in when it counts most.
  • Full Visibility: It's important to know who is in a recovery campaign, how far along they are, and what comes next. Churn Buster makes it easy to search for customers and campaigns, and view campaign progress as well as full history.
    Typically in-house systems simply automate emails on a fixed schedule. They typically don't have monitoring baked in so it can be difficult to improve performance over time.
  • Stop Campaigns: Sometimes you need to ensure a customer doesn't receive more dunning emails. Churn Buster allows you to both temporarily unsubscribe a customer from their campaign, and permanently unsubscribe them so they never enter another Churn Buster campaign.
    Typically emails are tied to failed payments, so the next time a retry fails, an email will be automatically sent.
  • Pause Campaigns: Sometimes a customer lets you know they've hit their spending limit, and that their card will work in 9 days. Churn Buster makes it easy to pause a customer's campaign, and to trigger an automatic retry before resuming the campaign.
  • Multiple Campaign Schedules: Not all subscribers are the same. You should be able to assign different campaigns to different customers based on customer properties or subscriber value.
  • Split-Test Campaigns: Compare performance across different campaigns. Improve over time without adding code to your billing system.

Emails

Email is at the core of your recovery process. After some initial payment retries are exhausted, your customer will receive an email asking them to update their credit card. It's critical that you have control over what these emails look like, who they're sent from, and where they link to.

  • Built-In Templates: Choose from several beautiful, white-label default templates.
    Typically, emails sent from an in-house system don't receive too much design love, often being implemented by a developer.
  • Plain Text Option: Send any email in your campaign as plain text, to make it feel personal.
    In-house systems sometimes send all emails as plaintext.
  • Emails actually sent from you: When dunning providers don't provide you with a DKIM DNS record to connect to your domain, any emails they send on your behalf will show in the inbox as: "From: Your Company via dunning-provider.com" or worse, "From: your-company@dunning-provider.com".
    Most in-house systems would have this setup, although email deliverability isn't typically a focus for in-house teams.
  • Links point to your domain: Customers should be given a link to a page where they can update their card. This link should point to your own website.
  • Click Tracking: You should be able to see how many (and which) customers clicked the link in any given email, or campaign. Churn Buster Capture pages are designed to both live on your domain, and also measure clicks from our emails, without linking to a 3rd party analytics tracker.
    Most in-house systems don't have analytics setup to measure the performance of recovery efforts.
  • Custom HTML Templates: Upload custom HTML to match your other branded emails.
  • Per-Email HTML Templates: Use different templates in different emails. Make some branded, some personal.
  • Customize Email Senders: Send emails from anyone at your company.
  • Per-Email Senders: Send different emails in your sequence, from different senders.
  • Reply Routing: Send email replies to any email address (can be different from the sender of the email).
  • CRM Integration: Use a BCC email address to copy Churn Buster emails into your CRM.
  • Data Snippets: Inject customer, sender, and other data into emails (i.e. {{customer.first_name}} or {{sender.first_name}}).
  • Custom Properties Snippets: Track customer properties, and then inject them into emails (i.e. {{customer.properties.plan_name}}).
  • Custom HTML Snippets: Create custom snippets for buttons, signatures, etc. (i.e. {{snippets.big_green_button}}).

Capture (Card Update Pages)

Once customers have clicked the link in your email, where they are taken is very important. You need to reduce phishing worries, support mobile updates (70% of card updates), and not require a login in order to provide the best customer experience, and increase retention.

  • Page Hosted on Your Domain: When customers click to update their card, they should be on your website, not someone else's.
  • Page Uses Your SSL Certificate: Capture pages should use your SSL certificate, not someone else's.
  • Grab a Link for Any Customer: If any customer needs to update their card-on-file, you can easily grab a URL for them to securely make the change without signing in.
    Often, in-house systems link customers to the homepage or a settings page, so the customer needs to sign in and figure out how to update their card.
  • Secured by HMAC Signatures: Our capture pages are each secured by an HMAC-SHA signature, with a different offsite secret key for each of your customers. This prevents attackers from discovering page URL's and updating customer cards.
    In-house systems typically require a login, so they don't need this extra level of security.
  • Customizable Design: You can customize the logo, background color, and primary color of your Capture pages. They are designed to put your brand first, removing any concerns around phishing.
  • Collect Zip Codes: Churn Buster offers the option to collect zip codes from customers. These can be used in your Stripe Radar (or other processor) rules to reduce fraud.
  • Block Prepaid Debit Cards: Churn Buster offers the option to block prepaid debit cards. B2C businesses can reduce churn significantly by limiting these churn-guaranteed payment methods.
  • Track Clicks to Page: Whenever a customer clicks a link in your emails, or visits a Capture page, it's tracked. And we do it without using suspicious 3rd party tracking links.
  • Track Conversions (and Failed Attempts): Whenever a customer converts on one of your Capture pages, we track the conversion. And if they fail to add a working card, we track that too.
  • Integration with Help Desk Tools: Currently integrated with Help Scout, Churn Buster makes it easy for your support team to grab a secure Capture link in the context of a customer conversation.

Analytics

Without performance analytics, you're in the dark as to how your recovery system is performing. Worse than that, you can't see areas for improvement, and you can't track your optimization efforts. Analytics are at the core of what we do.

  • Split-Test Campaigns: Churn Buster lets you design different campaigns, and track their performance against each other, across any time cohort.
  • Recovery Rate Over Time: The percentage of initial failed payments which are then recovered, over any time period.
    We've yet to see an in-house system that has any analytics or visibility baked in. As a result, they typically stagnate.
  • Recovery Over Time: The amount of initial failed payments which are then recovered, over time.
  • Multiple Currency Support: Churn Buster supports over 130 global currencies, and they seamlessly work throughout Churn Buster, from payment retries to analytics.
    While in-house systems typically support multiple currencies, they often don't report on the performance of your dunning efforts.

Deliverability

We take deliverability incredibly seriously. We believe that before optimizing email content, you need to make sure you've nailed delivering emails to the inbox (which is harder than you'd think).

  • Partnered with Postmark: We know of only one company that is 100% focused on getting transactional email to the inbox. They're the best at it. And that's why they're the team we trust with your email delivery.
    Often, in-house systems don't work with a specialized sender like Postmark. And deliverability typically isn't watched closely.
  • SPF/DKIM Support: Edit your SPF and DKIM DNS records to authorize Churn Buster as a transparent sender of your emails. Get rid of "via dunning-app.com" and reduce phishing worries.
    Most in-house systems would have this setup, although deliverability isn't typically a focus for in-house teams.
  • Track Performance Over Time: Use the Churn Buster Dashboard to see bounces, spams, opens, clicks, and conversions over time.
  • Bounces Report: Drill down into specific bounces, and other issues, which can get in the way of emails being delivered to customers.
  • Bounce Alerts: Get alerted in Slack, via Webhooks, or in 1,000+ apps via Zapier, whenever an email bounces so your customer success team can take action. Whether that's correcting a misspelling, getting in touch via phone or SMS, or finding a better point of contact.

Billing Integrations

Every billing system is different. Ranging from simple: using a processor like Stripe to manage payments and subscriptions. To advanced: using a combination of processors, subscription management tools, and in-house billing logic. Churn Buster has integration options for everyone.

  • REST API: Churn Buster offers an open API, enabling integrations with nearly any payment processor, subscription management tool, or combination thereof.
  • Integrates with Stripe: Use Stripe to manage everything? Or just to process payments? Our 1-click Stripe integration makes it easy to send data to Churn Buster.
    Often, in-house systems have a thin integration with Stripe, only sending an email whenever a payment fails. These integrations tend to leave money on the table by leaving subscriptions in non-active states, or by not collecting the balance of past-due invoices.
  • Integrates with Braintree: Use Braintree to manage everything? Or just to process payments? Our 1-click Braintree integration makes it easy to send data to Churn Buster.
    Often, in-house systems have a thin integration with Braintree, only sending an email whenever a payment fails. These integrations tend to leave money on the table by leaving subscriptions in non-active states, or by not collecting the balance of past-due invoices.
  • Integrates with Subscription Management Tools: Are subscriptions managed in your app? Or in a tool like Chargify? No problem.
    Dunning options are often limited when using 3rd party tools. Sometimes, basic dunning is available, but visibility is usually limited, and the ability to improve performance over time is lacking.
  • Integrates with Multiple Processors: Use multiple payment processors? No problem.
    Often, in-house systems struggle to setup a cross-processor dunning system, having different recovery flows for each processor.
  • Store Customer Metadata: Send Churn Buster custom properties about each customer, and use them to make emails dynamic, or to change campaign behavior/scheduling.

Pricing

Many of our competitors bill based on how many customers, or how much revenue, is recovered. But ultimately, that's based on non-transparent attribution calculations which we like to avoid.

  • Fixed Pricing Tiers: We use monthly revenue to determine your pricing tier. As you grow, we grow with you.
    With an in-house system, the cost is typically the portion of engineering and support payroll that goes towards managing failed payments.
  • ROI Guarantee: We guarantee you'll see a performance improvement, and that you'll be happy with our software and service. Or your money back.
"These guys have something magical figured out."

Shaun Singh, Death to Stock Photo

It's not even close...

If you're a scaling subscription business, there's really only one choice for managing failed payments: Churn Buster. We're the only team that spends every day focused on this problem. And it shows in the quality of our product, and the performance of our customers.

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