As the contact point for consumers, debt collectors need skills that will develop a positive relationship with the consumer and result in collecting payments. On any given day, a debt collector can perform a wide range of duties that require excellent communication, empathy, problem-solving skills, a desire to learn, and proficiency with technology. By refining these 5 skills, debt collectors can become successful and represent their organization with professionalism. 

1. Excellent Verbal Communication & Active Listening

Effective verbal communication is one of the most valuable skills in the debt collection industry. Collectors must be effective speakers as well as excellent listeners. When collecting on past due accounts, the goal is to reach an agreement with the consumer and establish a pattern of regular and consistent payments throughout the life of the account. Some consumers may react angrily and become argumentative, so it is essential to remain calm and speak in an even voice, even if a consumer becomes agitated. If a consumer has a story to tell, listen actively and provide clear, concise responses so that the consumer understands the financial obligation and works to establish a payment plan that will achieve resolution of the debt. This requires the collector to ask the right questions, clearly present information, and always be transparent.

2. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence includes approachability, understanding, and compassion.  Successful debt collectors have the self-awareness to understand and empathize with consumers while recognizing and managing personal emotions in a positive way. Consumers with outstanding debt may be embarrassed or angry about their financial situation; don’t respond by getting upset or talking over the consumer. It’s important to remain professional and show compassion while working together to find an amicable solution. This approach to consumer communications dramatically increases a collector’s opportunities for success. 

3. Ability to Problem Solve

To defuse potential conflict and establish a positive relationship, debt collectors must overcome challenges by problem-solving and initiating alternatives when needed. Debt collectors need to think quickly and adapt to each situation as presented. It’s not unusual for an account holder to hang up abruptly or yell at the person on the other end of the line. Along with staying calm, collectors must remain objective and work persistently to negotiate a solution. It’s important to remember that the consumer at the heart of the company. Remain honest and act with integrity while assertively negotiating a solution that is a win for both parties.

4. Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is a trait of successful and motivated debt collectors. Working with a goal-oriented mindset, they understand that personal success links with company success. All services must be delivered within the bounds of the law and within client parameters, requiring keen attention to detail and precise implementation of processes and procedures. Debt collectors must participate in regular training and educational opportunities to remain compliant and proficient throughout regulatory changes and other developments. They also need to work independently and have good organization.

5. Understand technology

Collection agencies leverage various database software programs, payment portals, and telephone technology as part of the debt collection process. Collectors must be able to work within a company’s systems and possess excellent keyboard skills and typing speed to ensure timely and accurate documentation. When taking payments and negotiating with consumers, information must be recorded accurately and quickly. New hires receive training on software and technology platforms, but prior experience and proficiency with handling systems of record and business applications make a job candidate more attractive to employers. A deep knowledge of the technology tools used, helps collectors to optimize their performance. 

Ready to start a Career in Collections?

If you’re thinking of starting a career in the collections industry and live in the Buffalo, NY area, consider joining the Northwood Asset Management Group team. We promote a healthy work-life balance and encourage our collectors to determine the volume of accounts that you can support in a compliant and professional manner. When job opportunities arise, we look for motivated and empathetic professionals who thrive in a fast-paced environment. We offer career opportunities with unlimited earning potential and a generous benefits package. Learn more about working for our company on Indeed. View current job listings and apply online through our Glassdoor postings.

About Northwood Asset Management Group

Northwood Asset Management Group (NAMG) is a nationally-licensed, professional third-party debt collection company representing creditors in the resolution of account balances. We believe in our people and our mission and work hard to find mutual agreements between creditors and account holders so both parties can move forward. Northwood Asset Management Group is located in Buffalo, NY.