The Collections process can be a frustrating one. You start with an overdue invoice. That’s aggravating enough. So, you send a friendly reminder letter in the hopes that a letter alone will prompt the desired action: a check in your mailbox. When that doesn’t work, you pick up the phone, listen to the reasons, score a few promises and then you wait some more.
You need for your efforts at communication to produce results quickly but it can feel like an uphill battle. When do you make the switch from friendly reminder to more forceful and insistent? And how do you do this AND retain a customer?
In some cases, what happens during the process of collections with any given customer will determine if you really want to keep doing business with them at all. But if you do, you’ll want to make a reasonable progression in your tone from friendly to serious with a balanced number of letters and calls.
In our last post, you saw an example of a simple, friendly reminder letter. Consider using something similar to the following to exact a more serious tone further down in your collections process.
We do value your business, but are concerned that your past due balance of [$$] has not been paid.
Our credit policy requires that we place your credit privileges at [your company name] on hold until payment is received on the outstanding balance.
We do not make these decisions lightly, but it is important that we are fair to our business and that we require our customers honor their commitment to our credit terms. Please give me a call if there is a problem in sending your check for the past due balance today.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
We find that following a strict timeline for Collection calls and letters helps to keep the matter in the forefront. What is your most successful approach to sending Collection Letters?
Do credit managers still send collection letters through snail mail? That seems so last century. 90% of my communication is done through e-mail.
Would love to hear comments from others…..
Great question, Pam! Maybe the article would be better titled, “Collection Notices” since the majority of communication is done through email.
Believe it or not, we at C2C Resources have slow paying customers, as well. And our follow up procedure is typically accomplished through email. On a recent receivables management project for one of our clients, we did all of our correspondence by way of email except for the final demand letter. That we sent through regular snail mail with the hope that this would set it apart, thereby escalating the seriousness of the situation in the client’s mind.
Even if you prefer all your notices be delivered by email, you may want to consider sending that final demand letter in the mail to make sure it gets noticed as something different than the other notices you’ve sent.
Thanks for the comment!