Bill and account collectors, sometimes called collection agents, try to recover payment on overdue bills. They negotiate repayment plans with debtors and help them find solutions to make paying their overdue bills easier. Many bill and account collectors work in a call center for a third-party collection agency rather than the original creditor. Most work full time, and some have flexible schedules. Collectors must usually have a high school diploma and experience in a call center. A few months of on-the-job training is common.
Bill and account collectors generally contact debtors by phone, although sometimes they do so by mail. They use computer systems to update contact information and record past collection attempts with a particular debtor. Keeping these records can help collectors with future negotiations. Bill and account collectors typically do the following:
The main job of bill and account collectors is finding a solution that is acceptable to the debtor and maximizes payment to the creditor. Listening to the debtor and paying attention to his or her concerns can help the collector negotiate a solution. After the collector and debtor agree on a repayment plan, the collector continually checks to ensure that the debtor pays on time. If the debtor does not pay, the collector submits a statement to the creditor, who can take legal action. In extreme cases, this legal action may include taking back goods or disconnecting service.
Collectors must follow federal and local laws that govern debt collection. They usually have goals they are expected to meet. Typically, these include calls per hour and success rates.
Collectors must usually have a high school diploma and experience in a call center. A few months of on-the-job training is common. Some employers prefer applicants who have taken some college courses. Communication, accounting, and basic computer courses are examples of classes that are helpful for entering this occupation.
Collectors usually get 1-to-3 months of on-the-job training after being hired. Training includes learning the company’s policies and computer software and learning the laws for debt collection in their jurisdiction, as well as the any local debt collection regulations. If they do not have experience, they may also be trained in how to negotiate.
Some employers prefer applicants who have experience in call centers. At least six months to one year is common. However, some agencies want a collector to have several years of experience.
When trying to negotiate a repayment plan, collectors must pay attention to what debtors say. Learning the particular situation of the debtors and how they fell into debt can help collectors suggest solutions. Reconciling the differences between two parties (the debtor and the creditor) and offering a solution that is acceptable to both parties are the main aspects of a collector’s job. Collectors must be able to speak to debtors to explain their choices and ensure that they fully understand what is being said.
Many work in a call center for a third-party collection agency rather than the original creditor. Some work in-house for the original creditor, such as a credit-card company or a health care provider. The day-to-day activities of in-house collectors are generally the same as those of other collectors.