The question is often asked
"how can collection letters be more effective?"
The use of the letter in collecting has become less effective through the
years due to the increase in technologhy and advanced communications. The letter, once the
only efficient and cost effective way of communicating, has been surpassed by telephone,
e-mail, voice conferencing and the fax.
THE LETTER CAN STILL BE AN EFFECTIVE TOOL IN CREDIT AND COLLECTIONS.
Letters should always be used as a follow up to confirm agreements and
Letters should be used when opening new accounts, adjusting a credit line or
when changing terms.
Documentation will always be one of the keys to successful collecting and
there is no better way to document then in a letter.
WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL LETTER?
Letters should be short and concise. They should read like the writer speaks.
The following is an example of a collection letter taken out of a widely used
collection letter publication.
We appreciate all the business you have done with us in the past.
As a customer of long standing, I am sure you realize that our payment terms
are 2/10 net 30. Unfortunately, our records indicate that for the past several months your
payments have been from 30 to 60 days late.
Since you have been unaware of the problem, we are sure that this note will
serve as a sufficient reminder. If, on the other hand, you are having some difficulty
meeting our terms, please let us know so we can try to help you.
We appreciate all your business, now and in the past, and believe that we
have both benefited from our relationship. I, for one, hope it will continue for many
years to come.
Take some time to review the letter and make corrections where you think they
should be made.
In the next column we will address the necessary information that makes a
successful collection letter and the demonstrate the changes to our example.
I wish you well.