Debt collection is a highly skilled profession and sector. There are numerous hard and soft skills required to be a debt collector – and a successful collector at that.
Due to the high level of skill required, commercial debt collection agencies are in high demand, as they continue to help businesses collect on unpaid or overdue invoices while maintaining customer relationships.
Debt collection skills
If you’re interested in how to be a successful debt collector, there are certain skills and qualities that will help you master the art of a successful collection. Skills such as:
Communication – we cannot stress enough the importance of clarity in communication. Providing clear, concise information in a friendly yet firm manner is vital to a debt collector successfully collecting on overdue accounts. There cannot be room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation. Debtors need managing and regular communication if recovery is to be successful. Experienced debt collectors understand this, and they recognise various situations where different strategies and communication channels need to be used.
Debt collectors also need a high level of understanding. For example, understanding the information presented and passed to them matched with the information the debtor tells them. From here, they must be able to act, providing adequate and suitable responses, negotiating payment terms, and more.
Debt collector negotiation skills – through firm but fair negotiations, you should achieve the outcome that all parties are happy with – this is often known as assertive negotiations.
Understanding and listening to all situations before casting judgement, your objective is to achieve a win-win solution.
Persistence – there is often no such thing as a `quick win` in debt collection. To be successful, you must have a clear strategy in place that involves time and perseverance. A successful debt collector never gives up on achieving set goals.
Debt collectors continually maximise their interpersonal skills as they need to react professionally to customers’ behaviour and emotion at all times. Successful collectors have an aura of self-awareness. They understand varying situations, and they can empathise with consumers, managing relationships positively to still achieve a successful outcome. Remaining professional while showing compassion can be key to finding an amicable solution. We find that taking this approach can dramatically increase a collector’s success rate.
Of course, all accounts must be handled clearly and concisely, so collectors must understand the information presented to them. It’s also important that the customer receives clear and transparent information so they know that they have a financial obligation and just what this precisely is. Recording information accurately and quickly is also essential. Using the various technology platforms and software available and understanding the technology and payment tools at their disposal enables debt collectors to optimise their overall performance.
Time management is a key function of debt collection as regular calls, follow-ups, etc., must be scheduled and carried out for debt recovery to be effective.
Logic – a successful collector will view the entire situation, not just one perspective, applying logic in decision making and critical thinking. Showing empathy to clients can also mean they will open up to you rather than treating you with hostility – providing you with a much more productive outcome.
Focus on the end result – successful collectors will be driven, focusing on what needs to be done to achieve the desired result, with a collector understanding that their personal success is linked directly to business success. All services must also be provided according to industry guidelines and regulations, with attention to detail paid to specific processes and procedures. (Note: Collectors need to receive regular training to stay up to date with any legislation changes etc.).
Ability to problem solve – collectors must have the skills to tackle problems head-on and overcome any challenges that come their way. Quick thinking and the ability to adapt to continuously changing situations is essential. In addition, remaining calm, objective, and negotiating a solution will allow you to achieve a more successful outcome.
Customer service is a highly valuable skill in commercial debt collection and something which every business who is outsourcing or using a commercial collection agency will appreciate, especially when collectors are speaking to customers on the business’s behalf.
At Direct Route, we understand that you want to develop positive relationships with your clients while still collecting overdue payments.
Our qualified teams can perform a wide range of duties covering a wide range of debt collector skills. (To find out more about debt collection processes, make sure to check out our latest blog HERE).
Motivated, emphatic, and highly trained professionals, offering an unrivalled level of customer service, we are the commercial collection agency of choice for businesses throughout the UK.