Magazine article Business Credit

How to Succeed as a Collection Department Manager

Magazine article Business Credit

How to Succeed as a Collection Department Manager

Article excerpt

You've been a successful collector and you know how to train and motivate people. You are now a supervisor/manager of a group of collectors or maybe of a whole department. You're good, but you want to be better - who wouldn't? You want to know what else you need to learn and you want to be acknowledged for being willing to learn, grow and produce better recoveries.

What kind of result would demonstrate that you have advanced to the ranks of the top managers? Turnover is down, customer satisfaction has improved (fewer complaints), goals are realistic and higher, communications within the department are far better, reputation is better and you're getting better applicants, recoveries are up, training is continuous, collectors have a career path and are constantly learning and growing, and there is a greater sense of job satisfaction.

There are a few general observations that characterize the best managers. They may appear trite and obvious, but in their absence, performance is likely to be lower. Here are some good approaches to managing your people.

1. Expect excellence, which may require your patience and support.

2. Acknowledge people for the good work they do. Being appreciated is the single most wanted reward by most employees. Don't be eager to pounce on errors, but don't ignore them, either.

3. Contests are good, whether or not money is involved. Let employees participate in creating them.

4. Have a stress-reducing attitude. Recognize that the work is inherently stressful. Simply acknowledging that provides relief.

5. Teach collectors when to stop working on nonperforming accounts. Let those accounts go to a senior collector or a supervisor to confirm their deadness and let the staff work on producing accounts only.

6. Make training an ongoing activity and a high priority. Many organizations begrudge training as a loss of productivity. This is a highly short-sighted point-of-view.

Regarding training, you have a responsibility to be sure your collectors are growing and learning in their knowledge and skill. In addition to the basics such as skip tracing, negotiating techniques, sources of money, harassment and your computer or administrative system, you should do a lot of role playing. Your staff will learn more from role playing than from any other training tool available. For those collectors who feel they don't need or want any more training, let them help teach. Training should never end. …

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