Collection Communication Checklist

An Article from Credit Today’s Weekly eNews

Collection Communication Checklist

Have you reviewed your collection letter series lately? Usually, that the type of thing you put on auto-pilot and then rarely – if ever – pay attention to it again. But it’s important to periodically take a look at what you’re doing. After all, there’s always room for improvement and things change over time.

Here’s a handy checklist you can use to make sure you’re covering all your bases. When crafting any collection communication, make sure you follow these “tried and true” principals in order to maximize your results.

1. Reference: Collection letters should always include debtor’s name, address, invoice date, description of merchandise or service and amount due.

2. Personal attention: Avoid form letters. Tailor the letter to the individual situation. Try to address the letter to a particular individual at the debtor firm.

3. Assign responsibility: Note the fact that your customer signed an order or accepted the merchandise or service.

4. Motivation: Appeal to honesty, fair play, valued reputation, desire to avoid disputes, goodwill and maintaining vendor relationships.

5. Face saving: Consider phrases such as “inadvertently overlooked, “earlier letters not referenced to you,” etc. Do not imply that an invoice was deliberately bypassed.

6. Urgency: The tone should indicate that the matter should be settled quickly but avoid an indication of panic. Sometimes letters mailed about a week apart can create a sense of urgency.

7. Attention formats: Use different types of letters, shapes, sizes, colors, etc.; interspersed with mailgrams, telegrams and telephone calls. Similarity of communications can counter the sense of urgency. Routine letters defeat any motivation to settle the matter.

8. Heightened impact: Sending a document by registered letter with return receipt requested will assure that the debtor receives the letter and indicates urgency. Collecting more quickly and with less follow-up can easily offset the added cost of mailing such letters.

9. Promises: Remind debtors that they agreed to pay within certain credit terms.

10. Time element: Set a limit as to when a response is desired.

Source: Credit Today Checklists

The Editors at Credit Today