Working in a call centre requires a lot of energy and endurance, especially when chasing up customers who have not paid their bills. This is exactly the role of a collection agent. What responsibilities does this position have?
“The collection agent’s role is essentially to follow up overdue accounts, identify debtors, contact them by phone and encourage them to pay their debts by designing a repayment plan that is appropriate for their situation,” sums up Marcelo Avila, who has been a collections specialist for 15 years.
Showing empathy while remaining firm
The work is mainly done by phone, working from a database. Marcelo Avila manages approximately 4,000 customers for his employer and every day makes 20 to 30 collection calls. “It’s always important to be perfectly polite and sometimes even to play on empathy,” he explains. “Each one has to take a step towards the other. We ask the customer to show us goodwill and work out with him what he is able to pay.”
Negotiation and persuasion skills are obviously essential in this type of position and you have to stay firm. Targeted training is also offered to improve the ability to convince and to not be influenced by the arguments of bad payers. According to Marcelo Avila, each call is a different story. “By practising active listening and working on your tone of voice, experience is gained and you end up with a sixth sense and good communication skills, which can be very useful in personal life,” he adds.
Contributing to the company’s financial stability
But how to you keep your spirits up throughout the day? According to the specialist, the main motivation comes from the satisfaction of contributing to the company’s financial stability and achieving the performance goals set each day. “After all, this money is owed to the company, and we are doing useful work when we are able to collect it,” explains Mr. Avila.
In addition to being an essential link in companies’ financial survival, the position of collection agent enables development in specific skills in law and finance, and to become an expert in communication.