By Eleanor O'Connor – On
Merchants Credit Association was recently recognized as one of the best places to work in collections for 2019. We spoke with Susan Donham, their Director of Marketing, to learn how top collection agencies are marketing themselves by building a positive online presence.
Importance of Having an Online Presence 1:34
Regulations are constantly changing as technology rapidly evolves in the debt collection industry. We understand that because of this, establishing your agency’s online presence can be a daunting task.
Along with regulations and technology, the way consumers interact with businesses is also changing. So although it may sound scary, a positive online presence can play an important role in a collection agency's success.
As part of her agency’s online presence, Susan focuses on educating consumers on ways that they can get their debt resolved. This helps combat the many horror stories consumers have heard about interacting with debt collection agencies. Having a positive online presence that showcases your services will help counteract the negative feelings consumers have towards your agency and collectors in general.
First Steps to Take 4:07
So we understand that you’re most likely hesitant about building a name for your collection agency online. After all, you don’t want to become a target for more lawsuits and consumer complaints.
If you feel this way, Susan suggests thinking about which social media platforms you’d feel most comfortable using to build your agency’s online presence. For example, Susan mentions one agency that started building their brand by staying active on LinkedIn.
Once you’ve determined what you’re most comfortable doing, you’ll have to follow through with a consistent strategy. This means consistently updating the platform you choose to use with valuable and positive content. Weekly updates would be ideal!
If your agency still feels uncomfortable with the idea of maintaining an online presence, it’s time to bring a professional in. A professional that’s knowledgeable in online marketing can help gain buy-in from leery individuals in your agency. People will be less concerned about the risks of building an online presence if they fully understand the strategy behind it.
Use Your Agency’s Online Presence to Build Trust 6:43
Consumers want to know that you’re a real company. They want to feel comfortable interacting with your agency. Ultimately, they want to be able to trust you. Having a positive online presence helps with this.
Would you want to do business with a company that had no website, reviews or social media? The same thought process applies to the debt collection industry. A consumer may be more likely to trust and interact with an agency that’s consistently sharing content about creating financial success, than an agency that hasn’t touched their social media profiles in years.
Consumers are usually under the impression that debt collectors want to hurt, not help them. An agency that shares valuable resources and helpful content for those struggling with debt can tear down that notion.
Keeping Your Collection Agents Engaged 8:08
Doing the same tasks and dealing with the same personalities every day for years can be tiring for your agents. What can you do about it?
As Susan says, “just let them (the agents) do their thing.”
Regardless of industry, all employees value the trust of an employer. You can give this to your agents by letting them have some flexibility in how they handle their daily tasks. Remember to remind your agents of their expertise and the value they provide for your agency. Encourage them to think about why they chose to work for your agency over another.
About Our Guest
Susan Donham is the director of marketing at Merchants Credit Association. She’s been in her current position for 3 years and has been working in the debt collection for nearly 25 years. Prior to her current role, she has held a variety of positions including collector, trainer and supervisory roles. If you’d like to get in touch with Susan, feel free to email her or connect with her on LinkedIn.