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Stevie Dillon

BTS: How We Recoup Up to $5,000 a Month in Failed Payments on Autopilot

January 16, 2024

PSA — Sales revenue means nothing if you’re pouring it into a leaky bucket.

In our business, we have between $2,000 and $5,000 a month in failed payments.

Lost revenue due to failed payments is a BIG deal in our industry; it’s an not-often-spoken-about elephant on the online business room. Side note: I covered this in more detail back in this episode here.

The good news, though? Most of it can be recouped.

Here’s how.

Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Spotify

Here’s how we recoup up to $5,000 a month in failed payments on autopilot:

1️⃣ Document Internal Processes

Every online business has a series of both internal processes and deliverables that they should have clear, documented processes for. Managing failed payments is one, but there are many (many) others.

Customer service. Buyer delivery. Onboarding. Offboarding. Client management. Difficult situations.

A systemised, streamlined online business has documented processes for all of it.

Side note: Don’t want to create all of these yourself? Our Deliver and Delight program drops into Lifestyle Business School THIS month, and it is the complete back end delivery playbook for any high or low touch offer. In it, we hand you all of OUR playbooks.

2️⃣ Create a Workflow

For every internal process (something you do more than once in your online business), you should have a clear workflow for it.

A workflow is the series of steps, from start to finish, required in order to reach the desired outcome of the task. Here’s the process for doing this: 

👉 Determine Trigger: All workflows START with a trigger. In this case, the trigger is Stripe attempting to charge the members card, and failing. 

👉 Set Goal: What is the outcome of the process? In this case, it’s that we recover the payment (or offboard the member if not possible). 

👉 List Steps: What are ALL of the steps required to get from the trigger to the goal?

For failed payments, it looks like this:

Trigger: Stripe Failed Payment

Goal: Payment Recouped (or client offboarded within 7 days if not recouped)


• Add member to Missed Payment Email Automation

• Recharge card four times over 7 days. 

• Send email reminders to member.

• If recovered – remove from missed payment email automation.

• If not recovered – remove all accesses and add to winback automation.

3️⃣ Create Automations: There will ALWAYS be automations that can help to make a process easy. 

In this case, the automations required to be set up are: 

👉 Missed Payment Email Automation: This is an automated series of emails that the client would enter into when the payment first fails. This would be set up using BOTH Zapier and your email system. Zapier would apply a tag to your email system when the trigger occurs, and that would set off the automation.

The email automation should then be set up to automatically exit a client OUT of it when the payment is recouped, again using Zapier.

👉 Stripe Recharges: Stripe is the payment processor we use to process payments. This automation would involve logging into Stripe and setting up the cadence at which the charge would be retried, and what happens AFTER those retries. Should the client be automatically removed from your program? Or, should the invoice be marked as uncollectible?

👉 Winback Email Automation: If a payment can’t be recouped, you might want to consider entering the client into a winback automation. This isn’t right in all circumstances, but if you have a membership it could be a good way to help to bring people back.

4️⃣ Create Email Copy: You should template any copy for automations, or to be customised for more personal processes. In this case, you would need 4 email templates to remind the member to pay payment. 

5️⃣Create Standard Operating Procedure: The next step is to document the full failed payment process in a Standard Operating Procedure. This is a document that sets out the trigger, goal and steps, so that it is clear what the full workflow looks like and so any manual steps can be completed with ease.

If you would like a copy of our EXACT Standard Operating Procedure for managing failed payments, you can download it here.

6️⃣ Assign Recurring Tasks: Finally, you need to make sure any manual tasks associated with the failed payment automation are properly assigned. Who is responsible for looking after this task? Is there a KPI associated with it that measures success? And what manual recurring tasks need to be completed by a human? Add them to your Project Management System and attach the SOP.

So, there you have it! How we recoup failed payments in our business.

Want more?

Get the free failed payment SOP here, and join Lifestyle Business School this month to get Deliver and Delight (where we share this and many other delivery processes)!

Links and Resources Mentioned in Episode:

  • Episode 200: Missed Payments, Payment Plan Defaults and Cash Flow Crunches.. Let’s Talk About It
  • Free Failed Payment SOP: Get the exact Standard Operating Procedure template we used to recoup failed payments in our online business. 
  • BRAND New Deliver and Delight Course just added to Lifestyle Business School: Deliver and Delight is the FULL playbook for implementing stand out, streamlined delivery processes for any high or low touch course, program, coaching offer or mastermind. We hand you our done for you workflows, standard operating procedures and automations for the three phases of managing any online offer. 

Want more? Here’s how we can help you:

  1. Listen to Lifestyle Business School — The Podcast: With over one million downloads and counting, get the behind the scenes strategy on how to how to package and market your intellectual property to build a leveraged lifestyle business where your value is divorced from your time. Subscribe here on Spotify or here on Apple Podcasts for new episodes every week.
  2. Download our FREE 26 Page Expertise-Based Business Diagnostic: Get Clarity on what to work on first or next to help you start or grow your leveraged expertise-based online business. Click here to get it for free.
  3. Join Lifestyle Business School Today: Get the complete Operating System for starting or growing an expertise-based online business to the Lifestyle Business Sweet Spot. Click here to join today. 

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