Gravy vs. Dunning Software

With Gravy Get A Personalized Payment Recovery Approach vs. One-Size-Fits-All Automation from Dunning Software.

Every payment merchant provider has some form of dunning management built into its offering. So, we get asked a lot: How do you compare to a product feature I already have — and already pay for? Yes, you have dunning. And yes, you can configure it yourself to perform tasks like automated retries, outreach emails, etc., over a certain fixed period of time to try and recover a payment failure. But, recovering a payment and keeping a customer are two entirely different outcomes. And this is where we far outperform your dunning tool in both ways.

1. Better Outreach = Better Results

Gravy far outperforms your dunning software statistically. The average dunning software saves 15% of your failed payments, an amount that puts immense pressure on you to add new customers in order to continue growing Gravy’s average is 50%, with a sizable number of our clients savings >70% of their failed payments through our human-led recovery outreach. But, what’s even more powerful regarding our recoveries isn’t in the recouped revenue, but in the strengthening of the relationships between your customers and your business, based on the type of communication that takes place.

Take this quote from one of our clients, Sarah Turner, regarding our failed payment recovery approach:

dunning software quote

Better outreach is something as a company you have to measure both in influence and in impact. As in, does the communication with the customer influence them updating their credit card information and positively impact their feelings about your company? Without both, you’re risking a voluntary churn down the road.

This is a huge part of why we create emphasis on empathy and the relational aspect of failed payment recovery. Any software can retry a card or send a push notification; BUT, can automation create a better and more substantial relationship between company and customer?

No, it cannot. And that’s our differentiator.

failed payment recovery graph

Averaging 50% in failed payment recovery and routinely capturing 60% or more for our clients is intentional. It’s because we treat your failed pay customers with the empathy and the human touch required to bring them back, make them feel good about it, and keep them engaged for long after just recovering one month’s payment.

2. Personalization at Scale

No matter what happens with your dunning tool, you execute a mass automation sequence that, to your customers, sorely lacks a personal touch. Within your dunning software, there’s also a lack of brand integrity and ability to put personal features into your outreach. Take, for instance, this dunning email from Apple:

apple billing issue

There’s so much here that doesn’t compel action from the customer. But here are the main points:

• No warmth in the text
• No personalization at all
• No empathy for the customer whatsoever
• No way to reply and get further context or address their payment issue

This is why dunning is historically ineffective. Customers crave the ability to interact with and chart their own course. When dunning’s only option is “update or lose access,” your customer becomes defensive to this cold type of outreach, and chooses the path of least resistance. A human-driven solution instead allows for back and forth communication between customer and company. Because as  humans, we crave the ability to communicate with others.

Psychology proves this out - we are a social species.

The American Psychologist Rollo May puts it best: “Communication leads to community, that is to understanding and mutual valuing.”

Your dunning software doesn’t communicate. It directs

If you want to create community within your brand and with your customers, communication is a key differentiating factor. And Gravy allows for you to communicate failed payment recovery that builds your community and increases your value to them.

Personalization matters. When customers are contacted by a person with a real name, a real email address, and with a real means to reply and engage in conversation, retention goes up, recovery rises, and community is enhanced.

3. Most Reporting is WAY Too Complex - We Simplify It

Reporting matters whether you are a small agency entrepreneur or a Customer Success Manager at a fast-space SaaS company. Simplicity is crucial, and details matter. 

That’s not always a compatible ask; but for Gravy, it is. 

Dunning softwares don’t allow for accurate reporting on failed payment recoveries. That means as a manager or a business owner, you have to spend lots of time manually exporting spreadsheets to organize them and condense into simple reports.

This takes time from dealing with your active customers and taking care of the various other parts of your business needing attention.

Gravy uses a simple reporting system, where your key metrics are easily visible, and you can tell immediately how our failed payment recovery service is performing.

recovered payments stats

We give you certainty, clarity, and peace of mind when it comes to failed payment recovery. And, we meet with you monthly and quarterly to work with you regarding reporting questions, provide further detail, or add performance metrics into the report to give you more (or less) detail. Dunning reports will consume your time, require spreadsheet wizardry, and take away from other more valuable business tasks.

4. We Customize to You, Not the Other Way Around 

Inflexible. That’s the word often cited by companies that use dunning as one of their many pain points. How are they inflexible? Let’s talk this scenario:

You’re an agency with a membership class that has ~1,000 members in your Facebook Group. Our agency allows for both PayPal and for Stripe payments. So, you have 2 payment gateways plus a private group to manage content access. When a payment fails, your dunning software tries to get that failed customer back. It fails, so your student is out of the course content if you have it set to that. The Facebook membership, however, isn't governed by your payment merchant or subscription CRM. So, your failed payment student still has access to private course content and community without having to pay for it.

Here’s where this scenario makes failed payment recovery very difficult to manage in an automated way:

1. PayPal also doesn’t have a dunning feature. You may like it because it immediately transfers to your bank account, but you need a person to reach out individually to recover that failed payment.

2. Without a strong system in place, keeping track of PayPal fails, Stripe fails, course access, and Facebook membership group access is impossible for a small company.

Your dunning software has no ability to deal with the way your company delivers to your customers. We call this an automation death march.

Because we are led by people, we can adjust our process to your company. So, if you have a private Facebook Group, or use multiple payment methods, we’re able to cater our service to your company and recover more customers because of it. What if you’re a SaaS company and have high dollar monthly subscriptions from your customers?

Here’s how customization works for these scenarios:

As a SaaS company with a strong subscriber base, your customer success team is focused on preventing voluntary churn — users currently in subscription but not getting the most out of the tool. You also have a constant stream of support or help tickets coming along the way. One Monday, your CFO calls an all-hands meeting with the Customer Success team. No warning. What happened? 🤔 Come to find out, you’re losing 100 paying users a month… not to a cancelled subscription… not to unrenewed contracts… but simply credit cards failing. All hands on deck — and time to get them back. But, you have no process in place. Your team is taxed. And there’s a slew of current users who are engaged and relying on you to keep them happy using your product. Now quality suffers on the front lines of Customer Success, and the rear line is cobbling together a tedious, manual process that’s only saving about 10% of those failed credit card payments.

Now what?

You look at dunning, but it’s not attentive enough to the stream of replies you get from users asking about altered payment dates or revised plans. Those outreach efforts are also non-personal, don’t compel action, and make the relationship feel transactional. So your failed pay users ignore them. We encounter this scenario with companies all the time.

Dunning tools can’t customize to your business. Every company has ways to deal with users to get them back online. Using temporary discounts. Downselling, altering payment dates to align with when they are able to come back online. That all means needing the adaptability of a personal touch to be effective. Your failed payment recovery then has to be like a chameleon.

Your dunning can’t deal with follow-up questions. Can’t deal with human curiosity. And can’t fit into your business without you having to adjust to make it so. With Gravy, you need not worry. We work as an extension of your business. Work within your processes (and help you develop new ones!), and because of that, your customers get a seamless experience.

Just like a chameleon. 

As a result, you save a lot more of them. And return a lot more revenue to your business.

No brainer, right?

So, we ask you now: Are you done with dunning, yet? Talk with the Gravy team today.

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Failed Payments Today.
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