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Korrespondenz auf Englisch - Die Kunst des modernen Mahnbriefs

Schlagwörter: Korrespondenz Englisch, Mahnung Englisch, Mahnung schreiben auf Englisch, Mahnung verfassen auf Englisch, Mahnungen auf Englisch, Mahnungen schreiben auf Englisch, Mahnungen verfassen auf Englisch, mahnen auf Englisch, Mahnung auf Englisch

Most business people cringe at the thought of having to write debt collection letters to customers. This is especially true for sales people, who wish to avoid introducing any unpleasantness into their customer relationships. However, debt collection letters are a part of doing business. Feelings aside, they are an essential part of maintaining a business's positive cash flow.

"But they are such good customers!"

Before you begin writing any debt collection letter, be sure to consider the following facts:

  • You have provided products and/or services at a certain cost


  • The customer has not paid according to the terms they agreed to before making the purchase


  • Failure to receive this payment on time could prevent your company from meeting its obligations to its customers, vendors and employees in a timely way

If you believe you're faced with the task of writing a "friendly" debt collection letter to a "good customer", think again. In truth you'll be writing to what's known as a "deadbeat customer". The fact is good customers pay their bills on time.

This being said, it doesn't mean that debt collection language should be forceful. Contrary to what you might think, the use of strong language has been shown to be counterproductive. The tone such language sets and the irritation it may create can actually encourage the customer not to pay, or to pay more slowly. It can also damage a perfectly good relationship. It could be that the customer's non-payment has resulted from an oversight, for example.

The right tone
It pays to be friendly and professional up front, since you're more likely to collect money from someone who sees you as more of a partner than a collector. However, the customer needs to know that you are also determined to get results. If your approach to debt collection is too soft (you never take action other than sending letters), your deadbeat customer might label you as a pushover This will make collecting what is owed even more difficult.

Finding the right tone is tricky and requires a good feel for the language. However, the following general rules can help you test to see if your language is "just right" or too "hard":

Unfortunately, if the customer hasn't paid after the first debt collection letter, he probably won't pay after the second. For this reason, a four-letter process has become the standard approach businesses use to get people to pay. The first three letters should predominantly use "just right" language. Only in the fourth should you begin using language that is "hard".

If you have received no response after sending these four letters, you'll most likely need to submit the account for collection, and your job will be done.

Collection letter format
Debt collection letters do not always take the form of a standard business letter. Some companies simply send copies of the original invoice every few weeks, the first labelled Statement, the next Reminder and the next Urgent Reminder. Only after there has been no response to an Urgent Reminder will they send a collection letter in the form of a business letter.

Other businesses use a letter-based format right from the start. In the sections below, we'll focus on the content for successful debt collection letters in letter format.

Friendly reminder
Your first debt collection letter shouldn't sound like a collection letter at all. It should be a friendly reminder that assumes a mistake has been made. Sometimes this will be the case! Here is a sample letter:


Invoice Number: NNNN
Invoice Date: 00/00/00
Amount Due: £ NN,NNN.NN

Dear Valued Customer,

Our records indicate that payment against the above invoice is past due. We assume an oversight has been made. If payment has not already been made, please do so today so that we may bring your account current.

Thank you in advance for your assistance with this matter.

Sincerely,



Express your concern
Your second letter should be sent when payment is 30 days past due. At this point the payment is clearly late. It's time to show your concern. Keep in mind, however, that there could still be a good reason for non-payment. For example, the customer may have a problem with your products or services, and may have stopped payment until he can document them properly.

It's important at this stage to ask for open communication to get to the heart of the matter. Perhaps the problem can be resolved without damaging the relationship. No reputable customer will ignore this request for contact. Here is a sample letter:


Invoice Number: NNNN
Invoice Date: 00/00/00
Amount Due: £ NN,NNN.NN
Due Date: 00/00/00

Dear Valued Customer,

Our records indicate that payment against the above invoice is now more than 30 days past due, and we are becoming concerned.

Perhaps there is a reason why we have not heard from you. If so, please call us to discuss the problem. [Optional: If you are not able to make this payment at this time, we/one of our credit managers may be able to offer you more flexible payment terms.]

We still hope that there has been an oversight. If so, we ask that you bring your account current today.

Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,


Refer to the agreed payment terms
If your customer has not responded to your second letter, it's time to refer to the legal details:


Invoice Number: NNNN
Invoice Date: 00/00/00
Amount Due: £ NN,NNN.NN
Due Date: 00/00/00

Dear Valued Customer,

We do not understand why we have not heard from you following our previous requests for payment. Your account with us is now seriously past due, and our attempts to reach you by telephone have failed.

It has now been a month since we sent you our first reminder, and two months since we delivered the products/performed the services you ordered.

According to the terms of our agreement (copy enclosed), your payment against any invoice is due 30 days after the invoice date. We ask that you make your payment today to avoid potential injury to our relationship and to your credit rating.

If you are unable to make your payment today, please call us immediately at the telephone number below.

Sincerely,


Demand payment
If you still have not received payment after having sent three debt collection letters, it's time to let the hammer fall. Your tone should be business-like, formal, very direct and use hard language to set the right tone:


Invoice Number: NNNN
Invoice Date: 00/00/00
Amount Due: £ NN,NNN.NN
Due Date: 00/00/00

Gentlemen/Dear Customer:

Your account with us is now seriously past due. You have failed to comply with the payment terms you agreed to, you have ignored our previous requests for payment and you have chosen not to contact us to discuss the problem.

We are saddened that we have not been able to resolve this problem through open communication.

We therefore write to inform you that if we have not received payment against the above invoice by 31 January 2007, we will submit your account for collection.

If you would like to preserve your relationship with us, we urge you one last time to contact us at the number below before the above date.

Sincerely,


Increasing your success
The following tips will increase the probability that you'll be paid:
  • The responsible sales person should speak with his customer about the payment problem before you send the second debt collection letter.


  • Try sending the first debt collection letter to the responsible person via e-mail (digitally signed) when the invoice is only one week past due.


  • Follow up every written debt collection letter with a phone call. You may need to leave a message. If so, explain the problem and its urgency clearly. Script what you'll say before you call.


  • Ask an attorney to make a final collection call after the fourth letter and before you submit the invoice for collection.

Schlagwörter: Korrespondenz Englisch, Mahnung Englisch, Mahnung schreiben auf Englisch, Mahnung verfassen auf Englisch, Mahnungen auf Englisch, Mahnungen schreiben auf Englisch, Mahnungen verfassen auf Englisch, mahnen auf Englisch, Mahnung auf Englisch

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