How to Write the Second Collection Call Script (45 Days Past-Due)

Second-collection-call

It’s not exactly a newsflash ... making collection calls is no fun. In fact, some companies let their past due accounts pile up simply because debt collection calls are awkward and uncomfortable, making it really easy to put off or avoid completely.

In a previous article, we showed you how to write the first collection call script. If you still haven’t received payment from your customer, it may be time for another call. Read on for our thoughts about the right approach and how to write the second collection call script.

Writing the Second Collection Call Script

If you’re following the collections strategy we’ve outlined in previous articles, the second collection call is usually necessary when the invoice is about 45 days past-due. Since you’ve already sent multiple reminders and letters/email, this is often referred to as a “broken promise” call based on a previous promise to pay that hasn’t happened.

With that in mind, here’s a script that might help you prepare for a second collection call:


Hello, [client’s name]. This is [your name] with [your company name]. I’m calling regarding [invoice #__________] for [$ __________ ]. We last spoke on [date], when you stated a payment would be made on [date]. Unfortunately, we haven’t received that payment.

{Client answers that the check is in the mail}

Great! Could you tell me the check number and the date it was mailed?

{Client states the date is greater than 5 days previous}

That should have reached us by now. I wonder if there’s a problem on our end. Can I confirm the address you mailed it to?

{Inform client you will investigate and call back to issue a stop payment and re-cut the check if not found. Request a faxed copy of the new check}

OR

{Client answers they could not send the check}

We must resolve this today. We accept credit cards, ACHs, and wire transfers, and I can split the payment between different methods. If paying the entire balance today isn’t possible, would you be interested in a payment plan? I want to help you make your account current and avoid any further collections.


Common Excuses and Solutions

Honest mistakes aside, you must view non-paying customers as organizations willing to use your money to fund their business. This is a growing trend among larger companies that use smaller vendors as a source of cash flow for operations.

Following are the three most common games customers sometimes play to avoid paying their invoices and how to handle them:

1. They Claim They Forgot

“Oh, that slipped my mind” or “We forgot to enter that invoice into our payables system.”

Solution: Be proactive and consistent. Send reminder notices of upcoming due dates before invoices are due. Notices at least 5 days before and on due dates will make a difference.

2. They State That They Can’t Pay

“I can’t do it” or “I give up.” These are terms you never want to hear, as they may signal a customer is headed for bankruptcy.

Solution: Don’t let it get that far. Monitor your clients and look for warning signs. If their balance grows uncharacteristically large or they suddenly switch to another payment method, your client may be heading toward trouble. Help them find ways to meet their commitments.

3. They Test Your Boundaries

Sometimes customers test your boundaries to determine what you’ll tolerate and in some cases, simply refuse to pay or state, “You can’t make us pay.”

Solution: Deal with it head-on and be consistent. Create your collections strategy and stick to it. If your strategy states that a call is needed any time an invoice is 15 days past due, make that call. Customers may pay just to avoid talking to you. If a customer says they won’t pay, it may mean they’re unhappy. Determine the problem and correct it.

Finally, if no other solution exists, take away their purchasing privileges. If the client still doesn’t honor their commitments, legal action may be needed.

Call Notes and Strategy

Depending on the client’s rank (based on tenure and history), you may want to modify the call script. For example, you might not want to push for same-day payment if the call is to an A client.

As with all collection calls, be prepared to take notes including details like who you spoke to, their role in the company, what you discussed, the reasons and details they provided for lack of payment, and any agreements or promises made during the conversation.  If you eventually pass the account to a collections agency, every contact attempted or made must be documented and – if it goes far enough – provided as proof in court. 

If you’re following the collections strategy we’ve provided in previous articles, you’d be making this second collection call (or “broken promise” call) about 45 days after the due date. In fact, here’s a cheat sheet for collections timing best practices to use as an example of a typical approach your company might use:

AR collections timeline best practices

💡 TIP: Accounts Receivable and Collections software like Collect-IT helps document all customer communication, manage template collections letters and call scripts, and standardize the timing of your reminders to help take the stress out of collecting payment on past due invoices.


📝UP NEXT: Is that invoice still outstanding after 45 days? It may be time for another call, so be sure to check out the next article in this series:

How to Write the Third Collection Call Script


Want More Tips, Templates and Guidance Like This?

Click below to download our Ultimate Guide to AR Collections where you'll find 27 pages of expert advice, best practices, industry benchmarks, and loads of letter templates and call scripts.

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