Completing the Trifecta: Dunning SMS for Stripe

iPhone

Over time, due to customer requests, we’ve added more and more useful email types to Stunning, like Pre-Dunning (emails before cards expire), Upcoming Charge (lets a customer know before they’re charged, which is really useful for annual plans), Cancellation Emails, and a lot more useful features, such as billing history pages.

A few months back, after talking to our customers, we realized that putting a message within an app that lets customers know that they’ve failed a payment or that their card is expiring is even more effective, because it shows up when the customer is engaged with an app and receiving value, and so we released In-App Dunning and Pre-Dunning. These in-app notifications have proven to be even more effective than dunning emails. However, if you run the sort of app where customers don’t need to log in very often to use it, you still need a secondary notification method. It increases the chances that you can still communicate with your customers if one method doesn’t work. So today, we’re adding Dunning SMS to the mix.  With Dunning SMS, if you’ve saved a customer’s cell number in their Stripe Metadata, we can send them an SMS that lets them know when charges fail. If you don’t have that information for your customers, we’ve also released a free app: Metadater, which makes it easy to collect this information from your customers automatically and save it into Stripe.

Following up in multiple ways (not just email) has proven to be much more effective in getting customers to update billing information and to update it earlier (when you use just email, customers tend to wait until the 2nd or 3rd email to update their information), whereas if you put up an in-app notification, they tend to update pretty much immediately, and if you send them both an email and a SMS, they have more of a chance of seeing and acting on least one of them.

There are some people out there who believe that phone calls are a great way to follow up when customers don’t respond to dunning emails, and they are definitely better than just using email, we’ve found that SMSes are more effective (and kinder to customers) than phone calls. With SMS you aren’t making immediate demands on a customer’s time (an unexpected phone call is never really appreciated, in my experience) and you can give them a direct link to update billing information, as you would with an email. With a phone call, you usually just end up speaking to voicemail (because customers generally don’t pick up when the phone rings from an unknown number), and even if the customer picks up, if you want to be PCI compliant and not take credit card numbers over the phone, you still have to send a follow-up email about the phone call that contains the billing update link, which may or may not get there if the original emails didn’t get there.

So we’re completing the trifecta of notification types for Stunning today: Emails, In-App Notifications, and SMSes. If you’re using Stunning, you can enable SMSes by going to your App Settings page. If you aren’t, today’s a great day to sign up and start recovering more revenue when your customers have billing issues. And actually, that’s just the start of what you can do with Stunning.