Typing a debt collection letter can be one of the most frustrating experiences in the entire debt collection process. Not only are you taking time away from actually running your business, you also have to sit and type out a letter! It is easy to understand how business owners can let this task sit on the back burner for far too long!
Of course, the first step to writing better debt collection letters is to actually sit down and write the letter. This can be the most difficult part of the whole process. However, if you have to take the time to write a letter, you might as well write it in a way that will improve your chances of getting paid!
Here are five key areas to focus on when writing your bad debt collection letters:
Be Formal & Direct
One reason for writing debt collection letters is that you may eventually have to use them as evidence in court. If that happens, you will want the letters to look and sound as formal and direct as possible. Make sure to use short sentences and avoid writing in circles.
You should also make sure that you are including statements of fact and leaving your opinions about the debtor or the situation out of the letter.
Treat Them With Respect
It seems like the topic of respecting the debtor comes up in just about every article. That should stress exactly how important it is!
Your best chance to actually get paid the amount that is owed to you is for you to give the debtor a reason to WANT to pay you. Treating a debtor with respect and dignity will make them more likely to put you at the front of the line when they have extra money to make payments with.
Know Your Facts
Both for legal reasons and for your own credibility, it is important to make sure that the information contained in your letter is 100% true. Double-check all of the dates and amounts before you even start writing the letter.
Make sure that you include the original amount owed, any payments that were made, due dates, terms of repayment, and dates of any previous communication you have had with the debtor.
Make It Easy For Them To Pay
Another great way to increase your odds of actually receiving payment is to make it as easy as possible for the debtor to pay you. Make sure you include all of your contact information in the letter, including your physical address, phone number, and email address.
Let the debtor know if you are able to take payment by credit card, over the phone, or through your website. It also might help if you offer to set up a regular repayment program with the debtor.
Proofread The Letter
The last area that you can improve your collection letter is often the easiest to overlook. You didn’t want to spend time writing the letter in the first place, so odds are you really don’t want to spend time proofreading. However, any errors contained in the letter might mean serious problems for you.
It’s one thing for a grammatical error to make you look foolish, but what if a debtor attempts to make a payment and you gave them the wrong address or phone number because you were typing in a hurry? Take the time to go back over your letter and make sure that ALL of the information is correct.
Even if you have hired a debt collection agency, you will still want to make sure that they are following these policies. Any reputable American collection agency should also have a solid understanding of the laws concerning domestic collection letters.