Monday, May 13, 2013
Four Things We Can Stop Doing To Improve Our Personal Brand
Let’s face it, those who exist in the credit management or collections industry are often marginalized, misunderstood, or even vilified. The reputation we carry is charged with such negative connotations that it can be very hard to take a professional stance.
Our industry deals with millions of dollars in debt. We represent banks, leasing companies, and companies with household name brand reputation. We should be professional and respected.
What can we do to correct our reputation? Well, it’s an uphill battle, but here’s four simple things that you can do – or rather, stop doing – whether you are receivables staff, third party collectors, or paralegals – these are things that damage our reputations on a personal level.
1. Don’t Beat A Dead Horse
This covers so many things – repeatedly calling claimed wrong numbers (even when you know they are right numbers), debtors who refuse to pay, consumers that yell and scream, people who screen their calls with call display, their children or fake accents. Let’s face it, if someone doesn’t want to pay their bill, you can enforce consequences, but chasing them, bullying them, or repeatedly conflicting with them doesn’t get the bill paid. When you see that someone is willfully not paying their bill, don’t roll around in the mud with them (figuratively), take your actions and move on.
2. Don’t Be Shifty
When you call, don’t call-block all your calls, or leave vague answering machine messages, refuse to give your first name (or your real name!), or send collection letters disguised as something else. If someone isn’t going to pay you, being secretive and vague isn’t going to ‘trick’ them into paying you. After all, see rule #1.
3. Don’t Ignore Boundaries
Privacy is important, and if you can’t reach someone professionally, then it’s not worth it. Friending people under fake accounts on Facebook to get personal information, leaving messages with neighbours, disclosing debt-related information to an answering machine, an employer, or other people at the residence are all beyond the boundaries allowed by our collection laws. And besides that, it’s dishonest – see rule #2.
4. Don’t Forget The Big Picture
Some people aren’t going to pay their bills. They don’t care about their credit rating, they don’t think you can garnish their wages, or don’t understand that interest charges or a bad trade line are going to hurt them down the road. You could be the best bill collector to walk the face of the earth, and they are still not going to pay you. So don’t waste your time or theirs, don’t get wound up over people you can’t help. The big picture is liquidation, net bad debt write-offs at the end of the year, positive brand reputation, and your professional image. It’s not worth sacrificing any of that over one single account. Focus on your process, and your overall results, not the broken promises, NSF cheques, or individual accounts you need to send to collection.
So, now that you’ve read this article, I want you to Google your name and telephone number you use to reach customers (or debtors), like “Blair DeMarco Wettlaufer 226-946-1730”. See what people are saying about you as a person. Remember that we all affect each other’s reputation, and we all can do something to improve our industry.
Kingston Data and Credit
Posted by Blair DeMarco-Wettlaufer