well-written collection letter should focus on two objectives. First, obviously, is to collect money that is owed. It can be equally important, however, to maintain customer goodwill. In cases where the holding company of the debtor’s advantage to your business and taking care to word your letter in a way that maintains the relationship needs to be part of your strategy.
However, even expert written collection letter is no silver bullet, to keep these two goals in mind and with the following six “secrets” will help you stay on target with this traditional collection tool
Secret # 1: .. Prepare before you write
Collect and verify the facts before you start. View account. Be prepared with specifics. What was purchased, debt, payment, when payment was due, have what previous collection attempts have been made, how (or did) the debtor answer
Secret # 2:. Be concise, specific and to the point
Keep the collection letter to one page. Short sentences and short paragraphs. Language should be clear, direct, and easy to understand. Avoid overly formal business language that can sound condescending and distant, creating unnecessarily opponents tone to the letter
Secret # 3: .. Treat debtor with respect
Remember, the main Your goal is to get a payment, you may also want to keep the business customer. The key here is respect. Follow the golden rule – contact debtors like you would want to be spoken to if you were the recipient of the letter
Avoid using adjectives in general, especially something that could be construed as defamatory or offensive. .
Whenever possible, personally sign collection letter. This shows regard for your customers, as well as the importance you place on payment.
Be aware of the privacy of customers. . Mark the envelope “confidential” or “personal” (especially if the customer is an individual consumer)
Secret # 4 :. Pay as easy as possible
provide information that make it possible for customers to respond to the letter quickly and easily. This should include payment and information such as your reference / account number, address, phone, fax and the name of your contact. And be sure to let the debtor know the deadline for payment and the exact amount to be paid
Secret # 5: .. Expect to pay
Be firm but fair but to create a sense of urgency payment. Although never threaten action you are not ready to take. Think about the ultimatum, such as a lawsuit, but including it in the collection letter.
Less debtor about the benefits of prompt payment, so as to maintain a good credit rating, avoid having their account placed on “credit hold”, etc
Avoid language that indicates the customer may be dissatisfied with the product or the service they have received. Do not hesitate. Remember, you have the right to receive payment of
Secret # 6 :. Proofread your collection letter
When you have finished writing the letter, read it out loud. This will let you know that everything is not clear, as well as help you find any errors in spelling or grammar. Of course, running a spell as well. Finally, if possible, have someone other than yourself read the letter before you finalize it and send it out. This will serve as an additional check for clarity, focus, tone and content of
2 Types Collection Letter
The most common types of collection letters are :. Reminders and Final Claims.
Reminder letters are usually sent to debtors who have just gone into default. Their tone and language should be friendly and convey the assumption that the customer has just forgotten to pay the bill.
Include a statement showing the amount of arrears and / or a copy of the original invoice. It is our experience that many invoices are paid late because the client never received or misfiled original account.
Again, make payment as easy as possible. Be sure to include all necessary payment information and, if possible, put back the envelope for customer convenience.
Use Reminder Letters to gradually increase the pressure to pay
“The squeaky wheel gets the grease” is true in collections. The more you touch the customer, the more likely he will put your account at the top of the pile of his payment.
Use a series of collection letters to be top of mind with your customers. For example, send a customer service-type reminder letters before the payment is due. This letter may be a confirmation of what you’ve shipped product. Mention the amount that will be owed and define the upcoming maturity. Your client will appreciate this type of friendly reminder.
A few days after the payment was due (and not received), send another reminder Letter, this time to mention that the payment was expected and is now in default. Send out regular reminders, once a week or every 10 days. Change the tone and content of each letter to gradually “turn up the pressure” for payment.
Such letters should order no more than two or three different characters. If the customer does not pay you after receiving this “reminder”, it’s time to send the demand.
Final Demand Letter
Once you have determined that the client just is not going to pay, it’s time to send a letter of ultimatum – final demand. This letter shall clearly state the action you will take if payment has not been received.
Be specific and clear about the amount to be paid, the deadline for payment, and action will be taken if payment is not received on specific needs. Do not make the deadline too far in the future. You should allow just enough time for the debtor to get a letter, arrange for payment, and send payment to you. Usually the final demand periods are no more than 10-15 days.
It is important that you follow with an ultimatum, Final Demand letter should not result in the payment of arrears amount.
Note: many US collection agencies offer free final demand services, they will send out a final demand collection letter for you at no cost. If the customer does not pay within the intake connection period (usually 10 days), then the account is rolled over to the creation of traditional portfolios of third parties. If the customer has paid for the last demand period, the collection agency will not charge you a fee.
Anything worth doing well is Worth
Sure, it takes time to craft effective collection letters. But you are going to send a letter anyway, why not take advantage of these secrets and improve the chances that you will get the answer you are looking for.