One of the most important things you can do to improve your collection process is be consistent and proactive with your actions. Too often, people vary the amount of time they take to send reminders or simply forget to send certain reminders. This not only lowers the chance you will collect the money, but also can cause confusion on both sides.
Sending the right amount of reminders at the right time can increase the likelihood of successful debt recovery. The following is a timeline we’ve built based upon a 30-day credit term. Of course, you’ll need to adjust the timeline to match your credit terms.
|35||Past due reminder letter|
|45||Past due follow up letter on smaller accounts or initial past due call on larger accounts. If time permits on smaller accounts, a call is better than a letter at this stage.|
|55||Initial past due call or follow up call depending on day 45 action|
|65||Termination of credit letter or choose one of the 60 day demand letters|
|80||Final Collection call|
|90||Final Demand Letter|
One of the most important parts of this process is the follow-up calls or letters. These not only keep your account on the top of your customer’s mind but also hold them accountable to promises or statements they made. Late-paying customers love to give excuses or promise they will pay soon. Holding them accountable and following up is one of the best ways to hold them to their word.
This goes both ways. If you say this is your final call or letter before you turn it over to a collection agency, it needs to be. If you say you expect them to call you back in a week with a plan on how they are going to pay, do not give them a month. The moment you change up your schedule or make empty demands is the same moment you lose the upper hand.
If you want to learn more about collection letters and what to send and when, please check out our guide to collection letters ebook.