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HomeOntraport for paymentsManaging subscriptions > Communication about charges
Home > Managing subscriptions  >  Communication about charges
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Communication about charges
Set up automations that alert customers about upcoming charges, expiring or declined credit cards and more so you can get paid without a hitch.
You'll learn:
  • The kinds of payment details to discuss with customers
  • How to prevent payment problems before they happen
  • Ways to keep customers in the loop
  • Steps to launch prebuilt automations that handle communication about charges
  • How these steps can boost your bottom line in the long run
Instructor
Jason Howell
Communication about charges
Set up automations that alert customers about upcoming charges, expiring or declined credit cards and more so you can get paid without a hitch.
You'll learn:
  • The kinds of payment details to discuss with customers
  • How to prevent payment problems before they happen
  • Ways to keep customers in the loop
  • Steps to launch prebuilt automations that handle communication about charges
  • How these steps can boost your bottom line in the long run
Course Instructor
Jason Howell
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Transcript
Communicating with customers about anything related to their credit cards is key when taking payment. Because you know...actual money is on the line! 

You have to notify customers about expired or declined credit cards and resolve billing problems so you can get paid. 

In this video, you’ll learn how to set up automations that let customers know about upcoming charges, expiring or declined cards and more. There are prebuilt automations in our marketplace and a bunch of triggers, goals and conditions you can tinker with for any use case.

Automation will prevent some of these payment issues from happening in the first place! And for everything else, you can easily keep your customers in the loop about what to expect. 

So let’s get into it:

Your first communication with your customers about their charges is through invoices. Anytime your customers buy from you, you’ll send them an invoice that tells them about the transaction they just made.

We have a whole video on this topic so make sure to watch the “Invoices” video from our “Taking payments” series. It’ll give you everything you need to know about customizing invoices. 

Another important thing you’ll want to do is remind your customers when their credit card is about to expire. 

If you sell subscription products or offer payment plans, having up-to-date customer payment info is crucial. An expired card will be declined, and your customer might not even know that it happened!

With Ontraport, you can set up an automation to send customers a head’s up about their expiring card. This notification should include a link to your customer center where customers can easily update their credit card info. Check out our  “Customer Center” video in this series to learn more about that.

Plus, you won’t need to set up this automation from scratch because we already have one for free in our marketplace!

To get to it, go to “Contacts” then “Automations.” Or, depending on your account’s setup, you could just click “Automations” from your navigation bar.

Click the “Add New Automation” button. Then go to the search bar at the top of your screen, and search for “Credit Card Expiration Warning.” Once you find it, click to download it.

There’s an email template included in this one, so make sure the “Also add this automation content to my account” box is checked. Then hit “Continue.” You can close this notice by clicking the “Okay” button.  

When your new automation is ready to go, you’ll see a notification at the bottom left that you can click on to edit it.

This automation starts with a trigger that adds contacts seven days before their credit card’s expiration date. If you want to give your customers an earlier nudge, just click into your trigger and change the number of days before your customers’ cards expire.

Right below that trigger, you have a wait step so that all of your notifications get sent at 10:00 A.M. in your contacts’ time zone. If you want to change what time you send this email, just click into your wait element, and choose a different time from the “Then wait until the time of day is…” dropdown.

Below your wait step is your email template. We gave you some basic copy, and you can just add in your logo, your product’s name, a link to your customer center and your signature. But you can replace this copy, design, or the whole email with your own. 

Once you’re happy with it, hit “Publish.” Now you can run this automation in the background to catch those expiring cards before they become a problem. 

Next, you’ve got to let customers know when their card is declined. Otherwise, they’ll expect to be receiving their Dad Bod to Rad Bod program with bonus dumbbell set — but it’ll never come. Sad Dad! It’s a bad customer experience, all around. 

Ontraport order forms tell your customers right away if their card is declined. Check out our “Declines and collections” video for more details on this.

Beyond the basic notification on the form itself, you can also fire off email communication with your customers. This can be a real game changer since sometimes people will hit the “Submit Payment” button and walk away — not realizing the card was declined! 

If you look inside your automation triggers and goals, you’ll notice a few key items:

“Credit card is charged or declined.” If you select this option, you’ll see a dropdown that you can change to “Declined.” You can then use this as a trigger to fire off a follow-up automation that’ll remind your customer of their almost-purchase. Hopefully that’ll lure them back!

This follow-up automation should include an email that fires off 15 to 30 minutes after the credit card is declined. This will give them time to try a new card before you hit them with the “Credit card declined” email.

The next day, you can email them again, maybe throwing in a small discount or a bonus offer since your lead will be rapidly cooling by this point.

Make sure you use a goal element beneath your emails that reads “Credit card is charged” with the settings “Move here when achieved.” That way you’re not sending “declined” emails to those who already updated their card and paid you!

Now let’s say you want to give your customers an alert about their subscription or payment plan charge. 

This sort of proactive communication from your brand shows your customers that you care about their experience. And, you can install another one of our prebuilt automations for this.

Go back to your “Automations” collection and click the “Add New Automation” button. This time, search for “Recurring Payment Notification.” Install this one just like before. 

Now let’s take a look at the map. You’ll see another trigger for “Today is related to a date field.” It’s set to seven days before your contacts’ open order charge date. So a week before your customers will be charged, they’ll get this email 

This map also has a wait step below your trigger so you can control the time of day you’ll send your email.

And again, your email includes a basic template where you can add your logo, product name, whether you sell a subscription or payment plan and your signature. 

Once you’ve edited your email, click “Publish.” Nice work! Your customers will appreciate the heads up.

Anytime your customers’ payments fail on a subscription or payment plan, you’ll want them to update their credit card information ASAP. And you’ll definitely want to take some other actions on these failed payments too.

Be sure to watch our “Collections and dunning” video to learn how to combat involuntary customer churn.

Now you know about the automations you can set up to let customers know about the status of their charges. You’ll keep everyone in the loop and keep your payment processes running like a well-oiled machine. You know, the internet kind. 

If you’re ready, grab your caffeine of choice and start our next course — Ontraport for sales teams!
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