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When I began working in the debt collection industry, it bothered me that the typical response I would get from people whom I told about my work was an "Oh, you're one of THOSE guys." or a "Well, I hope you never call me."; I understood that with more than 5,000 collection agencies in the United States, and an estimated 1 in 3 adults with a credit history -- or 77 million Americans -- with accounts in collections, that there were bound to be some bad experiences....but I always tried to do my part to change that perception, and to help people understand not all agencies or collectors are the same. It was important to me that on every call, I worked not only to collect the receivable due to my client, but also to have everyone involved feel good about that transaction. I admit that sometimes it was easier said than done; but as long as I made it a priority, and followed some personal guidelines, I could make a difference.

"Your ears will never get you in trouble."

I've used this line often when training collectors on how to properly handle calls.


I found that just listening to a person , and giving them a chance to vent, could prevent a confrontation before it happened, and help to set a positive tone for a call; and by listening, you might just hear the information you need to successfully resolve the debt.


In many cases, a bill goes unpaid because of a misunderstanding.


The misunderstanding can be anything from a customer not being fully aware of the terms & conditions of their contract, to an invoicing or accounting error, to a legitimate dispute. Typically, if you can respectfully explain to someone why they owe a bill, that respect shown will go a long way towards earning some respect back, and working through the issues which have prevented the bill from being paid.

"I understand where you're coming from."

A little empathy does a lot of good!



This is an area where many agencies have a shortcoming in their initial or continued training programs. Your ultimate job as a debt collector is to get a bill paid, but when the person you're speaking to can sense that you are doing more than just a job, it tends to make that fact a little easier to swallow.

Real Solutions

Instead of canned responses, offering real solutions to rectify the amount owed is what gets the job done. Real solutions take into account all of the information you have gained from your conversation & research, and uses that information to determine the best way to clear the debt. If you just learned that a person is unemployed, the old "get out your checkbook." is not going to work (not that it ever did!); perhaps a payment plan or a settlement offer is a route that will work. Not only do people appreciate honest, real solutions -- these real payment arrangements are the ones that are followed through on most often.

It may have played a small part, but conducting myself in this manner, and training collectors to do the same, afforded me opportunities to help break the stigma associated with the debt collection industry one call at a time.