Whenever a customer submits a payment to your small business, the polite and professional thing to do is to send them a payment acknowledgment email.
This email assures the customer that their payment has gone through without any issues, and it gives the business a chance to provide the buyer with any other pertinent information about the purchase and the next steps.
Below, we’ll go over some of the best practices for writing quality acknowledgment emails, from writing succinct subject lines to including your contact information.
Knowing these tactics will help you craft confirmation emails that foster a communicative and supportive relationship between you and your customers.
- Write a Concise Subject Line
- Confirm That the Payment Was Received
- Provide Additional Purchase Information
- Attach the Payment Receipt
- Inform the Recipient About Promotions
- Include Your Contact Information
Write a Concise Subject Line
A payment acknowledgment email should begin with a concise subject line that tells the recipient the general purpose of the email.
This mitigates any chance of confusion on the side of the customer.
Assuming that your company name is clearly presented in your email address, the most critical information to include in the subject line is the price, the product, and the date.
But, you could also use Confirmation of your Order and the Company Name, as the backpacking brand Gregory does below in the second email from the bottom:
Source: Gregory Packs
There is a simple way to improve their subject line. Instead of listing an order number, it’s better to actually list the product name.
That way, the recipient immediately knows what the email is about and will open it to receive the rest of the information.
In fact, they don’t even have to open it to know that the order has been successful.
It also makes the customer’s life easier if they ever need to locate the email at a later date using the email search bar.
This could occur when a customer needs to look up the receipt for tax or refund purposes.
Instead of sifting through all their emails to try and find the right one, they can just type in your product or company name.
Writing a clear subject line might seem like a small benefit for the customer, and therefore a small return for your business, but it’s more impactful on the customer experience and brand loyalty than one might think.
When a customer struggles to find a receipt for a purchase at a certain company, they may start to feel angry and frustrated, and they might start to associate those negative emotions with your brand.
It’s better to make every encounter with your company painless, especially when over 9 in 10 consumers are more likely to choose a retailer based on convenience:
Source: Smart Insights
In sum, write a concise email subject line that explains your product, price, and date of purchase so that customers can instantly recognize your email as a confirmation of a successful payment.
Confirm That the Payment Was Received
The main goal of writing a payment acknowledgment email is to let the recipient know that their payment was successfully received.
No credit card failures or bounced e-checks, just smooth sailing. Receiving a confirmation of payment sets the customer at ease.
A best practice is to put this confirmation first thing in the body of the email. Write it clearly and also include other basic details about the payment like the following:
|The amount paid by the customer|
|The name of the product or service that was paid for|
|When the payment was made|
|Names and billing addresses of the company and recipient.|
Including this information at the top of the email allows the recipient to get all the information they need about the payment in one quick glance.
Below is an example of Thriftbooks’ payment acknowledgment email:
You’ll note that the email immediately informs the recipient that their payment has gone through successfully.
It also shares the shipping address, recipient’s name, and date, while offering a button the customer can click to view the order in greater detail.
Below, in the Order Details section, the email lays out the products purchased along with their prices in an organized table.
This helps the reader get all the information they need without doing much reading.
Here’s another example of a direct and clear confirmation of the payment, from Gregory. They put it right up top in large bold letters:
Source: Gregory Packs
They also strike a helpful tone by telling the customer that they should reach out if they have any questions about the order.
Even after the sale has been made, it’s important to try to make the customer’s life easier.
Quickly getting to the confirmation of the payment in the body of the email is a great way to do that.
Provide Additional Purchase Information
Alongside payment details and the confirmation notice, include additional purchase information that can help your business and the customer in various ways.
For example, you might include an update on their account balance, outstanding debts, or delivery status, as Gregory does below in their order confirmation email:
Source: Gregory Packs
Telling them the shipping time sets the customer’s expectations so they don’t become irritated by the delivery process taking longer than they’d expected.
Additionally, you can use this opportunity to inform customers about unpaid debts to your business and remind them to settle those.
Integrating this messaging into your acknowledgment emails is just one of many ways to improve your AR management.
The body of the email could also include any relevant links with follow-up steps if the recipient needs to take any additional actions following the payment acknowledgment email, as United Airlines does in their ticket payment confirmation email:
Source: United Airlines
This ensures a smooth experience for the customer at the airport and prevents any customers from getting annoyed with the complexity of traveling with this company.
As you’ll note, United also points customers towards the company’s mobile app numerous times, both to view their boarding passes and to see what movies are available.
This helps them get more app downloads and improves the customer experience.
You might also want to remind your customers of the lesser-known aspects of your service.
TurboTax, for example, gives customers a summary of the year-round protection tax filers bought with the service, as well as a link to contact customer support for any questions:
Lastly, try to make your email friendly in tone and include an expression of gratitude for their business. A little bit of nicety can go a long way.
Attach the Payment Receipt
Be sure to attach the receipt to the payment confirmation email to give the customer proof beyond your words that the transaction went through without a problem.
The information in the receipt should be comprehensive and valid for expense reports, accounting, and taxes, not to mention returns and refunds. Including the right information will make your buyer’s life easier.
As a general guide, here is what you should include on a sales receipt:
|Your business name, address, and phone number|
|Date and time of the sale|
|Product or service description|
|Tax info, if necessary|
|Applied discounts and coupons|
Often, it’s best to attach the receipt as a PDF file so that the recipient can easily share the receipt with colleagues such as those in the accounting department.
This will also allow them to print the receipt out if they need to.
In the receipt, be as clear as possible about what the customer purchased from you, so as to avoid any confusion.
Income School does this well in their invoice for an annual subscription:
Source: Income School
The company could’ve easily just put Project 24 Annual Membership in the description and left it at that.
But instead, they chose to include Subscription Payment as well, which reinforces the fact that this is an annual payment the customer has to make.
At Income School, they even include a red icon in the bottom right-hand corner that reiterates when the payment has been made, just in case there was any confusion on the side of the customer about what this statement meant.
Further, Income School thanks the recipient for the purchase, which is always a nice touch.
In summary, like the acknowledgment email to which the receipt is attached, your payment receipt should be clear, succinct, informative, and friendly in tone.
Inform the Recipient About Promotions
Payment confirmation emails can be used for more than just acknowledging a successful payment.
You can also use them as opportunities to inform the recipient about related products or services, promotions, discounts, or coupons that customers might want.
The body of the email can contain links to products and services that complement the one they bought.
For example, if someone purchased a tent, the email might recommend some sleeping bags and a small lantern for the tent.
Or, if a customer just bought a painting class for landscape painting, a business might promote a class for portrait painting.
Thriftbooks provides recipients with links to related books the buyer might want to read:
Make sure the recommendations are relevant.
If someone bought two books on psychology, it wouldn’t make much sense for Thriftbooks to give them recommendations for children’s books.
This would make the business come across as impersonal and lazy.
Moving on, you could also inform recipients who are eligible for a discount on their next purchase, which might incentivize them to head back to your website for another round of shopping.
The same goes for promotions.
Thriftbooks also uses the confirmation email to tell customers about a promotion that can help them save money.
Right at the very top of the confirmation email, they include a green button stating that all orders over $10 come with free US shipping:
Even if the customer doesn’t click the button and head back to their website right now, they’ll at least know going forward that they can take advantage of Thriftbooks free shipping.
Next time they have a list of books they need to buy, they’ll likely choose Thriftbooks as their retailer.
As a general principle of customer nurturing, it’s important to take advantage of every opportunity you have to connect with customers.
Using your acknowledgment emails as avenues for increased sales is a strategic and effective move.
Include Your Contact Information
It’s crucial that you include your company’s contact information somewhere within the body of the payment acknowledgment email.
That way, customers who have questions or concerns can quickly reach out to your business and get the help they need, without having to go search around your website.
The essential details to include are the email address and phone number of your customer support department.
If you have other communication channels, such as a live chat option, include those as well.
You might also want to list out to a knowledge center with video tutorials or written guides if the product or service is tricky to set up or use.
It’s also smart to tell customers your support hours of operation so that they don’t call during off hours and get annoyed that no one answered.
For convenience, some businesses choose to make their phone number and email address links, which the customer can click to initiate a call or email.
Gregory, a backpacking brand, does this in their acknowledgment email below:
Source: Gregory Packs
They also write a nice message telling the customers not to be afraid to reach out if they need any help.
If contacting customer support requires any other specific steps, be sure to outline them in the body of the email, so that your customers know exactly how to get in touch with the right person on your team.
Payment acknowledgment emails might seem trivial in the grand scheme of running a business.
But, when done right, they can serve your business and your customers in multiple ways.
A well-written confirmation email that follows the above best practices can increase sales, remind customers of outstanding debts, and improve customer loyalty by giving recipients a convenient purchasing experience.
Every interaction, even the most fleeting ones, between you and your customer is an opportunity to grow your business.