2019 is the year of personalization. Building a unique persona and brand voice has become one of the key ways to differentiate yourself from the crowd.

Making your business feel human, relatable, and enjoyable is one of the top growth levers of the year. And for a good reason.

Consumers are valuing relationships over bullsh*t marketing and killer sales. They’re looking to become engaged and involved with your business.

And we’ve picked up on these cues. We’re starting to consider the real power of retention and shifting our focus there. And in turn, we’re working hard to personalize our communications for optimum engagement.

But despite all this work going into personable branding and communications, we’re ignoring an important part of the experience: the automated, transactional emails that actually have big implications for your business (and your customers).

You may argue these are simple communications that don’t need any fluff. But, if elevating the customer experience is our main goal (as it should be), then why are we leaving customers with off-brand, cold, and stale communications when it matters most.

Your Brand is Your Badge

Transactional emails carry a lot of weight. From password resets to billing notices, these are messages your customers need in a timely and trustworthy manner.

So we have to start letting your brand do the talking.

Your brand is your badge. It’s your vow of trust to your customers. It’s the main vein that connects every tactic to a higher strategy. So why are we letting it fall behind someone else’s?

And we see this most commonly in dunning emails. We’re letting dunning providers hijack our customer conversations at arguably the most vulnerable point in the journey.

Emails aren’t being sent from your domain, the email content is cold and robotic, your brand is likely nowhere to be seen on the email, and the customer experience is pretty dismal.

If we know how important personalization and user experience is for retention, why aren’t we in control at this highly volatile moment?

Your brand is your badge. You need it to shine in every moment.

Make your Brand Shine

No matter how well we know dunning, only you know your customers. You know how to best communicate with them, we don’t. You know what visuals, colors, tones, and copy they expect and trust from your brand.

Which is why we’re constantly building features that allow your brand to step into the spotlight while we work the tech behind the scenes.

We don’t want to win the Oscar, we want you to.

And that’s what you should expect, right?

Well, I double-dog dare you to take a look at your current dunning emails.

Dunning happens in the background. It’s often viewed as a “set it and forget it” line of communication. So you’re likely a little out of touch with how lame it’s become. Actually, it’s possible you’ve never even seen your own dunning campaigns.

What are you doing now? Is your brand front and center?

Likely, you’ll find that you’re sending bland, repetitive emails with monotonous frequency, tone, and messaging. And that’s the definition of cold and robotic.

It may look a little something like this:

So how can we sprinkle in a little delight throughout the process? Can we really change billing communications into a positive experience?

Look, if Poo Pourri can make going to the bathroom cool and hip, we can do this.

Ultimately, it’s about making subtle changes that bring out your humanity, delight the user, and get the job done through trust.

Give It a Little Love

First up, this bland staccato of repetitive messaging is a huge strike against the customer experience.

Instead, try sending different messages in different emails. Give people a different look and feel. A different approach to the ask.

Put a little feeling and humanity into the content instead of blasting robotic prompts.

Having an editor that allows you to do that on the fly will make it easy to continually optimize the messaging.

And we can take this even further. Take a look at who your emails are actually coming from.

Sorry to get technical on you, but without the proper DNS records setup, any emails you have automated will show in the inbox as: “From: Your Company via dunning-provider.com” or worse, “From: [email protected]”.

Who? What?

Churn Buster emails are sent from your domain, and upgrading from the entry level plan removes ALL mention of Churn Buster.

In a perfect world, third parties shouldn’t be anywhere in this communication. This is a trusted relationship between you and your customers, so don’t make them second guess that.

And to make this process feel even better, why not try sending emails from different (recognizable) people in your organization? You can personalize each message. Again, bring the humanity into this.

When it comes to billing, people don’t want computers or third-party providers. They want humans ensuring the safety of the transactions. They want you.

So that could look something like this:

See how we escalated from support team, to support lead, to CEO and back again? We’re putting validity behind the request.

But be sure you also set the reply-to address. More on that…

If a customer is confused about the message, or needs additional help, what happens when they reply? Do the messages get delivered to an individual who has the power and knowledge to help those customers ASAP?

Make sure your editor allows you to designate the reply-to routing. AND that the reply-to email can different from the sender of the email.

If you have lots of customer data, that opens up even more personalization opportunities.

With Churn Buster Snippets, you can inject customer, sender, and any other data into emails. Load dynamic content on product usage, especially if it relates to how much value the customer is getting from your service.

Let them know how much money they’ve saved, how many toothbrushes they’ve burned through, etc.

Whatever value prop your tool offers, use snippets to highlight their progress. AKA, deliver more than a billing notice. Deliver value.

If a subset of your customers primarily speak a non-english language, make sure those emails and links can be translated (this is a new feature on Churn Buster 🎉)!

Now you’re unlocking the real power of personalized dunning.

And if you’re really serious about this, some of the best brands in the biz are doing full html templates that showcase the product, the brand, and tons of personality.

Maybe all of your emails come with certain HTML features. Maybe your customers expect and trust a certain header style. Don’t get boxed in by templates here.

Here’s a great example from one of our customers. Butcherbox uploaded their own HTML template for their dunning campaigns. It’s personalized, beautiful, and let’s their brand shine in the spotlight.

If there was an Oscar for best dunning, Butcherbox would be a top nominee.


These are just a few ways we let your brand do the talking. And make your dunning emails feel, well, like they’re actually from you.

From the initial billing issue all the way through recovery, you get to talk to your customers the way you want. You get to provide the best experience through it all.

Give your brand the chance to make the save.

Kristen DeCosta

Author Kristen DeCosta

Kristen is dedicated to educating companies and founders on the importance of customer retention and the dangers of ignoring churn. When she's not busting churn and crafting content, you can find her hiking a mountain or playing with her three rescue pups, Cooper, Tobi, and Finn.

More posts by Kristen DeCosta

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