The purpose of this case study (outcome not known at the time of writing) is to show the reasoning behind the steps taken to recover an old account payment.
The account was well overdue. The debtor had been telling the Accounting Firm Partner that he would pay but he hadn’t paid anything. Zilch. It had been ‘dragging’ on for several months. No money. It’s a large debt. The Partner had now “had enough”.
1: A new name, unfamiliar to the debtor. A new broom. Removes the comfort zone for the debtor. Don’t have someone? Try this.
2: Start the new follow up with a tough, no nonsense approach for ‘old’ accounts and then you can lighten the atmosphere (become friendlier) if it looks like the debtors intent to pay is there and promises are kept. (The opposite of chasing ‘new’ debts — see here).
Monday, 13th February (2.31pm) we sent an email to a debtor.
Your account has now been given to me as
1. payment is now severely overdue, and
2. several payment arrangements have been accepted by the firm but not maintained.
It is now most important that you either
· settle the full remaining balance ($8,615.42) OR
· contact this office
by 2.00pm of Wednesday this week, 15 February.
This is my first and last attempt to contact you.
I will revert to policy to recover full payment plus costs if neither of the above two occur by the specified time.
These are the subliminal/hidden tactics applied.
* No “Dear” in the salutation – removes any softness from the get go.
* “given to me” – someone higher up in the “Collection Hierarchy” is now involved.
* 1. and 2. – bullet points of the reasons for this email.
* two options given to the debtor – settle or contact us.
* Unusual but very specific deadline given.
* Using the Pontius Pilate approach. An “I don’t care any more” attitude. – “first and last“.
* “revert to policy” – fear of the unknown
* “plus costs” – debtor doesn’t want to owe MORE!
A cc of this email was sent to a firm of solicitors for added impact. It uses Curiosity.
So, what happened?
Wednesday, 15 February (7.41am) – the ‘deadline’ day.
We received an email from the debtor. It said …
I’ll call you in a couple of hours at this number
+61 2 1234 5678 right? I’ll ask to speak with you.
>>>See (Part 2) here.<<<