THE customer’s action in response to this letter will determine the whole nature of succeeding proce dure. If he responds at all the chances are that a cordial personally dictated second letter will save the transaction any unpleasantness. Possibly without making settlement, he may order more goods. A Chicago silk house uses this situation as a lever and writes the customer in this manner.
“Thank you for the order for - which was received this morning. I was somewhat surprised, however, to find that your letter made no mention of settlement of your last account, regarding which I wrote you on the 10th. We appreciate the additional business you are giving us, but cannot very well allow the account to become any larger on our books. The goods you ordered are now being prepared for shipment, and they will go forward immediately upon receipt of check covering the earlier account.”
If no reply to a courteous first letter is forthcoming within a reasonable time, a second and more urgent letter should be sent. How severe this should be will depend upon the debtor’s value to the house.
If a customer of good reputation heretofore, he may still be brought around by your showing an intimate interest in a friendly adjustment of his relations, something after this manner.
“You have not sent us an order in over a month. Was there something wrong with the last shipment or is there an error in our statement of your account? If there is any fault in our service you know that we consider it a favor to be told about it. “I shall await your reply with interest.”
If, however, your knowledge of the customer’s previous actions leads you to believe that his is deliberately ignoring your request, it is better to omit the conciliatory element entirely and write a brief, insistent request somewhat after this style.
“You have not favored us with a response to our letter of ten days ago asking an early settlement of the enclosed account, which is now considerably over-due. “Please give this your immediate attention.”
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