Working in the collections industry is challenging but rewarding, and it takes a specific set of skills to succeed. During my time in the industry, whether working as an agent, a manager, or a consultant, I have learned there are many attributes you need to have, but I feel there are two essential skills you need to be able to succeed– patience and resilience.
I have worked in the collections industry for ten years. Seven years as a collections agent, speaking to people on the phone, three years as a manager of a team of agents, and I am currently working as a recruitment consultant, working with contact centre businesses to find them best agents.
Starting as a collections agent is a tough gig. You’re speaking to distressed people, and you’ve also got a target to hit. You will learn that every call will be different, each customer will need support differently, and you’ll soon be able to balance your targets and your customer service. There’s so much to learn.
As a manager, you’ll need to lead the way and help the team in the way that you needed support when you first started—helping them, with patience, to overcome those same hurdles.
As a consultant, it is easy to become frustrated when a candidate gets a new role, counteroffer or falls out of the process. Being patient keeps focus and brings results.
As a contact centre agent, there may be several things that can really derail your day. You will be trying to help a customer, and they may not cooperate or see you as an opponent, rather than someone who can help. You need resilience to support yourself and reassure yourself.
When you’re managing a team, you need to be able to provide that same support for your team. Teach them your strategies for dealing with varied and challenging work.
In recruitment, there are knockbacks every day – resilience is needed to get back up and try again; assess, learn, adapt, and hit your goal the next time.
As well as patience and resilience, there are many other core skills that you’ll need to be successful in a contact centre role. As with many roles, excellent communication and listening skills are needed. The customer won’t always want to hear what you have to say, so it’s vital that you can deliver the information clearly and confidently. It’s also important that you listen to the customer and tailor how you speak to them to get the best results. Empathy is crucial.
No customer will be in their situation through choice; you need to make sure to understand where they’re coming from and how best to work with them to get the best results. Financial difficulty and mental health can go hand in hand; therefore, you could be speaking to customers in a vulnerable situation, looking for help.
By developing and utilising these core skills, you’ll be able to deliver the best possible results for your customer, your employer and yourself. Having the resilience and patience to have difficult conversations whilst explaining to the customer the benefits of resolving the debt can be so rewarding. You’re not only resolving the debt issues; you can realistically be changing a customer’s life by providing help and support.
If you feel you have that resilience and patience and want to work in an industry which is both rewarding financially and personally, then click here to get in touch with me.