In the first part of this series we talked about the first collection letter, the purpose of which was a friendly reminder letting the customer know they are late on their invoice. If, after sending this first collection letter, you still do not receive payment or have yet to even hear from your customer, it’s time to send another letter. While the first letter was more a friendly reminder to your customer, this letter will increase your tone slightly, to let them know you mean business and it’s time to pay. The key here is to be assertive but remain helpful and professional, not overally aggressive, which is a tough balancing act.The second collection letter will need to be sent either 2 weeks after the first, or after a promise to pay from the first letter is broken. Here are a few of the main points you will want to include in your second collection letter:
- Mention of previous attempts to collect, including the first collection letter
- Original due date
- Days past due
- Invoice number and amount
- Offer help if you are able to work with them on payment terms
- Instructions- what they need to do next.
- You can choose to mention how continued late payment may impact future business/credit ratings. Just be sure to do it in such a way that is not aggressive.
- Your contact information
SECOND COLLECTION LETTER EXAMPLE
Dear Mr. Smith,
At this time we have not yet received a payment in regards to invoice #12345 nor have we gotten a response to the letter sent on _____. Your accounts is now __ days past due and you owe a total of $573.25.
As a valued customer, we would like to help you quickly remit payment to avoid any actions that could damage your credit rating or future credit limits with our company. If there is a reason you are unable to pay in full, please contact me at 111-222-3333 x 123 and I would be happy to talk about arranging a payment schedule that is mutually agreeable.
Please get in touch with me immediately if you would like to work out a payment schedule, otherwise please submit your payment of $573.25 by ____. We can accept your credit card information over the phone, through our online payment portal, or I have enclosed a self-addressed envelope for your convenience should you choose to send a check in the mail.
Thank you in advance for your prompt response to this letter and for your continued business.
If you compare this letter to the first collection letter, you will note there is a definite change of tone. You have eluded to the fact that continued lack of payment could damage the relationship you have created with this customer. This letter has turned up the heat a little bit but still remains polite and lets the customer know that you are ready and willing to help them in any way that you can, as long as payment is attached.
If, after this letter is sent you continue to hear nothing from your customer and subsequent attempts to call or email them fail, you will want to send out a third and final collection letter. The third collection letter raises the heat even more and brings attorneys and/or collection agencies into the conversation.