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The first collection letter should only be a friendly reminder. Assume that the customer has forgotten to pay and courteously invite him/her to pay promptly. Most people will make a payment after a couple of reminders. If there is no response to these reminders, you should assume that the customer is not paying because of financial, medical, or other personal difficulties.

Suggestions for a typical format:

- Send a copy of the original bill.

- Stamp on it Reminder or Past Due and highlight the amount past due.

- Include a short statement indicating the amount due, the due date, late charges (if any), and the account number.

- Make sure the address where the customer should send payment is plainly indicated. Including a pre-addressed envelope for payment (with or without postage) is also helpful.

If the customer has not even made a partial payment after a couple of gentle Reminder Collection Letters, you can send a final reminder collection letter to ask why the customer is not paying. A final reminder letter should explain that there will be consequences for continued nonpayment. If no payment on the amount owed is received, then you will need to take a more aggressive approach in follow-up collection letters.

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