Bounced Payments & Personal Follow-Up | EP 117

podcast Apr 12, 2023

Subscribe: Apple Podcast Spotify | IHeartRadio | Stitcher


Are you relying solely on automations to recover failed payments? If so, you are losing money and experiencing unnecessary churn in your subscription box business. Business is personal. Recovering failed payments needs more than just automation - it needs a personal touch. Your personal touch. 

Think about how much time, energy, and money you spend getting new subscribers. How much time and energy are you willing to spend to keep them? In my subscription business, we use a combination of automations and personal outreach to follow up on failed payments. The result? Each month we recoup 98% of our bounced payments. 

Keep in mind, most failed payments are not due to subscribers wanting to cancel or intentionally not paying. Credit cards expire and need to be updated. Other things happen that unintentionally cause payments to fail. Assume subscribers want to stay with you and just need help updating their info. 

Every subscription box business should have a failed payment automation set up. You can do this directly in your subscription platform or CRM. The goal is to recover as many payments as possible through automation, reducing the time spent manually recouping payments via personal outreach. 


The automation process we use in my subscription box business is set up like this: 

  • Payment Run #1 - failed payment 
    • Email #1 sent - something like “There was an error processing your payment for XXX subscription. If you need to update your card, please do so at this link. Your payment will run again in 12 hours.” 
    • We aren’t accusing them of anything. We blame the error on ourselves and direct them to update the payment if they need to. 
    • We create urgency by letting them know the payment will run again in 12 hours. 
  • Payment Run #2 - failed payment 
    • Email #2 is very similar to Email #1 - they may not have seen the first email yet. 
    • Payment will retry in 24 hours. 
  • Payment #3 - failed payment 
    • Email #3 - 36 hours after initial payment has run. They’ve likely seen one of the first two emails. 
    • The first two emails are text only, this email includes an image. 
    • “Hi Subscriber. We are busy personalizing and packing all our subscriptions and want to make sure you get yours on time. If you need to update your card, please do so at this link. If you need help with that or have an issue, please hit reply and let us know how we can help.”
    • This email includes a picture of the team packing a box. 
    • Payment runs again in 48 hours - they have time to reach out to customer service before the payment runs again. 

At this point, we start working through the list of remaining failed payments with personal touch points. 

  • Personal email 
  • Personal text 

Now we’re ready to run one last automation. 

  • Email #4 - on day five of failed payment 
    • Last chance email “Boxes are shipping and we want to make sure you get a Monogram Box this month. Please let me know how I can help.” 


We follow this plan every month. And every month, we recoup 98% of our failed payments. 

Business is personal. Don’t forget the importance of a personal connection point when working to retain your customers. Business is also business. Don’t leave money on the table. Following up on bounced payments reduces involuntary churn and retains more recurring revenue. 

Join me for this episode as I talk you through the automations combined with personal touches process I use to recoup 98% of bounced payments every month.  


Important Links: 

6 in 60 Workshop

Learn from me:

  • Subscription Box Blueprint eBook: This $10 ebook covers logistics from product selection to packaging to shipping. Plus a 90-day launch plan and bonus ‘Instant Scripts’ for your social media.
  • Launch Your Box: My complete training program that walks you step by step through how to start, launch, and grow your subscription box business.
  • Launch Your Box Podcast: I share tons of practical tips and strategies to help you start, launch, and grow your subscription box business. You’ll also hear from industry experts and current Launch Your Box members who are crushing it - get ready to get inspired!
  • One Box at a Time: Inside my book One Box at a Time, I show you the steps you need to follow to start and launch your subscription box. To turn your dream into reality. This book is filled with proven teachings, valuable resources, best practices, and action steps for you to take.


Find me on social:


Are you ready for Launch Your Box? Our complete training program walks you step by step through how to start, launch, and grow your subscription box business. Join today!

Join Launch Your Box

Hear from Sarah each week!

Do you want weekly tips for starting, launching, and growing a subscription box? Subscribe to get our latest content by email.

How to Get Your First 1000 YouTube Subscribers

May 12, 2024

Getting Started on Your Subscription Box Journey

May 02, 2024