Letter Requesting Payment
TONE OF REQUEST
Whatever the cause of a customer’s failure to pay promptly, it is always annoying to the supplier, but no suggestion of annoyance must be allowed to creep into any of the letters he writes. It may be better in most cases not to write at all and, instead, to call on the customer if this is possible, or to phone him, and tactfully persuade him to make at least a part payment on account. In difficult cases it may even be good policy to cut losses’ and accept a part payment in full settlement rather than resort to legal action, which is both expensive and time-consuming and rarely pays in the long run.
There may be several good reasons why a customer fails to pay on time, some of them deserving of sympathy. There is of’ course always the customer only too ready to invent excuses and who needs to be watched. Each case must be treated on its merits, the style and tone of any letters sent depending on such factors as age of the debt, whether late payment is habitual,4 and how important the customer is. But no letter must ever be less than polite and even the final letter threatening legal action must be written “with regret”.
Sometimes a customer will voluntarily explain his difficulties and ask to defer payment. The following is a recommended plan for such a letter.
(i Refer to the account that cannot be paid immediately.
(ii Regret inability to pay, giving reasons.
(iii Suggest extension of period for payment.
(iv hope suggestion will be accepted.