Collection agency executives — now is your time to shine.
So many of the individuals who have participated in the Getting to Know profile series have answered the question “What is the one thing you wish you could change about the industry” in the same way — by wishing that the negative stigma attached to debt collections would go away. The calendar and America’s dependence on credit may be offering an opportunity to grant that wish.
There are going to be a lot of stories in the coming days and weeks from local media outlets about how people should manage the debts they incurred with their holiday shopping. Articles like this one, for example.
Collection agencies may want to consider reaching out to their local newspapers, TV stations, and radio stations with an offer to provide some much-needed and valuable tips about how individuals can manage their debts. By positioning themselves as thought leaders and showing they care about the public’s financial well-being, the negative image of the collection industry might soften somewhat.
If you are going to reach out, make sure you prepare first. If you are contacting a newspaper, look for either the editor of the paper, the editor of the business section (if the paper has one), or look for a reporter who writes about financial topics. If you are contacting a radio or TV station, find the name of the news director and make contact.
If you’re lucky enough to get on the phone with someone or exchange emails, you can also mention that tax time is around the corner and tax refunds are a great way for individuals to get out of debt. That may lead to another story in a month or two with more positive press.
Even if they don’t take you up on your offer now, plant a seed that you can be a resource for personal finance topics and would be happy to spend a few minutes explaining how the collection industry works. It’s an opportunity to start changing the perception of the industry, one conversation at a time.
If you’re interested in this idea and are still looking for help, feel free to reach out to me.