When someone owes you a payment, whether for goods produced or services performed, being paid on time is critical. Start the process by asking for payment politely. A gentle and polite reminder may be the only contact necessary to nudge a client or customer into paying what they owe. Keep the request cordial to maintain a friendly exchange. Call, e-mail or write a brief letter to remind a customer or client about the debt.
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Place your business details at the top of the letter, including your name and contact information.
Write the current date.
Add a subject line with the client's account number and invoice number, if applicable. If there are no reference numbers, write, "Please remit payment."
Address the letter to the client using the appropriate title and the client's name. For example, write "Dear Ms. Cooper."
Write a short paragraph to ask for payment. For example, write, "Thank you for your recent business. The payment for your order was due on March 20 and the payment is now past due. If you have already made this payment, thank you very much. If you have not yet made a payment, would you please remit payment before April 30. If you do not remit payment before this date, your account may enter a delinquent status."
Close the letter with a brief "Thank you for your prompt payment."
Add a closing such as "Sincerely" and sign your name.
Enclose a copy of the invoice or account summary.
Call the person responsible for payment. Identify yourself. Ask briefly how they are. With your invoice and payment history in front of you, say that you are calling about a payment that is past due. Give the amount and date.
Ask if the payment has been sent. If so, thank him for his payment. If not, ask if there is a problem.
Listen to his response. Use active listening to recap what he has told you. Try this: "So you have been on vacation and have not made the payment? When can I expect the payment?"
Get his commitment on when and how he will make the payment. Offer to take a credit card, debit or check by phone immediately. If he hedges or questions the invoice, offer to fax or e-mail it immediately.
Thank him for his business. Ask if you can help him with anything else.
Tips and warnings
- Send a payment request electronically or through the mail.
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