Recurly is excited to announce a new dunning webhook notification. In subscription businesses, when a customer’s renewal payment fails, the customer enters the dunning process. Businesses using Recurly can use this webhook to receive information on customers in dunning, letting them manage, monitor and optimize their subscribers’ journeys through the dunning process and deploy programmatic responses, as desired. The webhook allows subscription businesses to integrate with various systems that enable these programmatic responses.  

Recurly provides automated dunning emails to assist with the dunning process. If a subscription business does not have automatic dunning emails configured and enabled in Recurly, this webhook will alert them that a customer is in the dunning process. Webhooks automatically and continuously disseminate information to the business without them having to continuously query the API for updates. To learn more about webhooks, how they work and how you can use them, read our blog post on using multiple webhooks.

Customized dunning messages

One of the more sensitive communications that subscription businesses send to customers is when their credit card is declined and the subscription cannot be renewed. This is a critical point in the churn management workflow, and it triggers the dunning process. Recurly has automated this process and will send a series of dunning messages to subscribers to alert them that they need to update or repair their payment method.

Some businesses would like the ability to customize each message sent within the  dunning email series. For example, they may want different content in the first email sent after the payment fails and the last email, sent before the subscription is terminated, and any email(s) in between. To do this, they need visibility into which customers are in the dunning process and the results of the process. The dunning webhook provides this information.

In this case, the first email would explain that the payment method had failed and request new or updated payment information. A following email would explain that the subscription was on the verge of being terminated unless the customer rectified the situation within a set time period and the last email in the series would be used to inform the customer that their subscription was terminated.

In addition, a business may also want to have a different communications approach for different subscription plans, which is also enabled via dunning webhooks.

Automated responses to dunning steps

In order to support subscription businesses that want to manage their own dunning communications and other customer retention strategies, Recurly’s new dunning webhook will notify the business when each step of the dunning process occurs. This webhook is an additional tool within Recurly, synchronized with the dunning process. The webhook can be used to trigger the process to programmatically send dunning emails from the subscription business' own email system.

The new dunning webhook notifications also offers the flexibility to integrate with different messaging systems and to communicate with subscribers through a variety of messaging channels of their choice (for example, email, SMS, Slack, etc.).

Improving customer retention

A subscription business may opt to deploy other programmatic responses when they receive dunning webhook notifications. For example, If a customer has received three dunning emails but has still not responded, perhaps they are at risk of churning. The business might create a coupon to send to these customers to encourage them to update their payment info and continue their subscription. Or perhaps they’d rather have a customer service rep call the customer to get updated payment information.

Automatic, timely dunning information

Whether your business uses Recurly's dunning emails or sends your own dunning emails, this new dunning webhook provides automatic, timely information on subscribers in the dunning process and the results of the last failed-payment attempt. Having this information gives subscriptions businesses the ability to respond and encourage the customer to renew their subscription—either through their own email or other system, or through other tactics like sending a coupon.

This feature will be available on November 10th. To learn more, visit our Documentation page on webhooks.