Dunning Emails In Real Life: Drip, by Rob Walling

You’re probably aware that a short time ago, Target’s billing system was hacked, and apparently anyone who’d used a credit card in a Target store within a certain amount of time was told that they might have had their card compromised. Since the card that I’d last used at Target was the card that’s tied to my bank account, I immediately called to cancel it and get a replacement. This was a couple of days before I left town for Christmas, and so I didn’t have time to update my billing information in many places (I have a lot of recurring billing subscriptions to different apps and services).

A few days later, I started getting emails from apps that were attempting to charge my card, asking me to update my billing information.  I decided to let them run for a bit, to see what their dunning emails looked like, and so that we can all learn from the dunning emails of successful companies, and make ours better based on what we learn. I’ll be going through them for the next few weeks, seeing what I can extract from them, and sharing that here with you. The first was Drip, which is a service that I use to send drip emails from Stunning. Drip is made by Rob Walling, who you may know from Startups For the Rest of Us, the Micropreneur Academy, or MicroConf.  He’s highly successful at building SaaS apps, so let’s check out his email sequence.

First Email

From: Rob at Drip
Subject: Uh oh, credit card fail - your emails will stop sending soon...

Hello, 

It appears we've run into a problem charging your credit card on file at GetDrip.com. We'd love to keep sending emails to your subscribers - so let's get you back on track! 

The most common two causes of card rejections are that your card has expired, or that your bank has rejected the charge. 

So first, visit your billing settings to double check that your card has not expired (and just for kicks, go ahead and update it to see if that fixes things). We will attempt to charge again in 48 hours and will let you know if it's still not working. 

If you hear from us again about this, the most likely explanation is that your credit card company is rejecting our charge. Please call the number on the back of your card and ask them to allow charges from GetDrip.com moving forward. 

As of now your account is still active, but it will be disabled if we aren't able to get your card working. So let's get your account back on track and serving up more tasty email goodness! 

The Drip Team

I love how this email comes from “Rob at Drip”, instead of just “Drip”. That makes it more personal than the usual automated email that you might get from an app.

The subject line appears to be worried about you missing out on the benefits of having a working Drip account, and it lets you know exactly what will happen if you don’t update your credit card info.

Overall, this email is polite, but to the point. It explains what the problem is (a problem charging the card), what the reasons for that problem might be (expired card or bank rejection)

It gives a link to update the billing information (minus points here, because it requires a login to update the card). In my opinion, it’s better not to throw up any roadblocks to the customer who’s trying to update their card. What if someone clicks the link, realizes that they forgot their username or password, and gets sidetracked?

The email suggests a way that they can attempt to fix the billing issue (most likely in the hopes that they’ll happen to update with a card that *does* work), and it tells them what to expect next.

It even tells them what to tell their bank to do if the charges are getting blocked by the bank.

Finally, it closes with a call to action that gives the impression that the Drip Team is  super excited to get you using the product again.

Second Email (sent 2 days after the first one)

From: Rob at Drip
Subject: Uh oh, credit card fail - your emails will stop sending soon...

Hello, 

It appears we've run into a problem charging your credit card on file at GetDrip.com. We'd love to keep sending emails to your subscribers - so let's get you back on track! 

The most common two causes of card rejections are that your card has expired, or that your bank has rejected the charge. 

So first, visit your billing settings to double check that your card has not expired (and just for kicks, go ahead and update it to see if that fixes things). We will attempt to charge again in 48 hours and will let you know if it's still not working. 

If you hear from us again about this, the most likely explanation is that your credit card company is rejecting our charge. Please call the number on the back of your card and ask them to allow charges from GetDrip.com moving forward. 

As of now your account is still active, but it will be disabled if we aren't able to get your card working. So let's get your account back on track and serving up more tasty email goodness! 

The Drip Team

Third Email (sent 2 days after the second one)

From: Rob at Drip
Subject: Uh oh, credit card fail - your emails have stopped sending...

Hello,

We were unable to charge your credit card on file at GetDrip.com after multiple attempts. Your subscription is now disabled and emails will no longer send from your account.

To reactivate your account and start sending emails again, login to Drip and update your credit card on the reactivation screen. Let's get your account back on track and serving up more tasty email goodness!

The Drip Team

In this email, the subject line has changed, and it lets the customer know that their account has been disabled.

It tells them why, and what that means in terms of their account abilities (emails won’t send anymore).

Then, it tells them how to reactivate their account. I think that there should be a link in this email as well, so updating their credit card is a click away (although once their account has been deactivated, logging in brings them right to the payment update/reactivation page) but other than that, this email is pretty good!

Stay tuned! I’ll be going through more real-life dunning email sequences over the next few weeks, so stay tuned! You can subscribe to an RSS feed of all new posts on this site if you’d like.