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How dunning tool works on Subbly?

Having monthly recurring payments is brilliant, but what happens if your customer's renewal charges start failing all of a sudden? This is where Subbly's dunning tool kicks in. Read along to find out more...

Video tutorial

Curious on some tips how to best utilize and setup the churn suite on Subbly? Check the video below touching on setting up the dunning tool and cancellation tool as well.

What is dunning? 

First of all, let's try to define dunning for those who are not yet sure what this is. When referencing eCommerce, any activity that makes persistent demands on collecting failed payment from someone for a regular renewal is considered dunning. 

In other words, if you have a customer whose subscription is scheduled to be renewed on the 1st of the month, and if the renewal fails due to insufficient funds on customer's card for example, dunning tool kicks in and will continue to retry the charge every X days from that moment until it finally collects the payment.

Want to know more about dunning? Read our article here.

How to set up dunning tool?

Easy! The only thing that you need to do is go here and set the renewal re-attempts settings. We provide a default sequence but you can customize it completely:

In the setup presented above, if the payment initially fails on the 1st of the month (as per our earlier example), the following sequence will apply: 

  • First renewal re-attempt  will happen 1 day after (on the 2nd of the month)
  • Second renewal re-attempt  will happen 3 days after the 1st one (on the 5th of the month)
  • Third renewal re-attempt  will take place 3 days after the 2nd one (on the 8th of the month)
  • Fourth renewal re-attempt  will happen 9 days after the 3rd one (on the 17th of the month) 
  • Finally, Fifth renewal re-attempt  will be done 10 days after the 4th one (on the 27th of the month)

So, as you can see, Subbly's dunning tool can run up to 5 consecutive retries to collect the payment from the customer, but you are able to change dynamics, i.e., days between each retry, by selecting different time frames by inputting the number of days or by changing it through the arrow buttons:

Maybe you feel more comfortable with and addresses better your needs a 1-1-3-3-3 or 1-2-3-5-8 days sequence.

If you're looking to completely disable the dunning tool, you simply need to set all of the re-attempts to zero days.

If the payment fails on the last re-attempt, your customer's subscription will no longer be considered active and it will move into Cancelled due to involuntary churn state, unless setup otherwise. For different ways to manipulate what will happen with the customer's subscription if his/her payment fails too many times, please refer to the section below.

What happens if payment is still failing after the dunning sequence?

We have a feature that allows you to setup if you would want your customer's subscriptions to get canceled after too many failed attempts. You can find the toggle that will control whether the customer's subscription will get cancelled or not after the dunning tool sequence was through but didn't charge the customer here. Please refer to the following image.

  1. If this toggle is active, customer's subscription will be cancelled after the unsuccessful dunning sequence.
  2. If this toggle is disabled (inactive), customer's pending invoice will be voided and the customer's subscription will be simply pushed back to the next renewal date as per the product setup (customer won't end up being cancelled due to involuntary churn).

What does Carry Order to the Next Period toggle do?

This one is associated only with the products that are setup in line with anchored type of subscription product setup. One important consideration when it comes to the anchored setup is existence of cut off dates. This toggle in particular handles the situations where the dunning tool finalized the payment for the customer but the payment came through after the cut off date for this month's order.

Let's take as an example the following product setup:

Rebilling: 1st of the month
Cut off: 10th of the month
Shipping: 15th of the month

What happens if dunning tool retries and finalizes the payment on the 12th of the month (after the cut off date in this instance)? You are able to decide whether you'd want this order to still be eligible for this month's shipment, or you can also opt to carry the order to the next period by enabling the toggle.
  • If the toggle is active, the order will be carried over to the next period. In an example above, if the customer was charged on the 12th of the month (after the cut off date) his/her order will be created only for the next month (and the renewal date will be pushed back accordingly).
  • If the toggle is inactive, the order will be created for the current month (regardless of the fact that the payment went through after the cut off for the current month).
If the dunning tool is setup so it retries the payments even after the shipping date for this month's shipment (in our previous example, 20th of the month), if the payment goes through after the shipping date, the order will be carried over to the next period regardless of whether this toggle is enabled or disabled. It is therefore always advised to setup your dunning tool with the last possible retry happening on the actual cut off date.

How can I reactivate cancelled subscriptions? 

We have an article on how you can reactivate cancelled customer's subscriptions here.

It's preferred that you actually reach out or find a way to automate communication with the customers (one solution would be through our automations feature), to try to get them change the invalid CC or load funds to it to try to revert the cancelled/lost customer. 

If you happen to do this and if you're confident that the customer is now ready to proceed with the subscription, you will be able to manually reactivate customer's subscription.

In order to reactivate the customer whose subscription was cancelled by the dunning tool, you will need to navigate to customer's profile from the Customers tab (for easily finding the customer you can use the filter that will enable you keep track of all the customers cancelled due to involuntary churn). 

Feel free to choose the new start/renewal date for the customer's subscription and save. This will revert your customer back to active one.

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