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The Top 8 Characteristics of Successful Collection Agents


We all want solid, stable collection agents. One way to ensure your success is by hiring the type of people that are suited to this type of work. Although we have a stereotype in our minds about collectors—that they are annoying, hard-nosed, ruthless, heartless, and overall scrooge-type individuals—these are not the traits that make a collector successful. 

When you think about it, collectors are masters of critical thinking and fixing bad or uncomfortable situations. They must have the traits of a salesperson, customer service representative, financial strategist, and so much more.

As a provider of outsourced collection services, we know a thing or two about hiring collectors. To help you get the right people on your collections team, here is a list of the top eight characteristics of successful collection agents.

  1. Great Listener

    This holds true for most successful people. Listening in collections helps identify specific reasons for delinquency and will help your agents craft more debtor-specific solutions to resolve delinquency.

  2. Understands How to Overcome Objections

    When debtors are delinquent it is only human for them to have a ton of excuses. The successful collector works to overcome the debtor’s objections by utilizing specific and directive rebuttals.

  3. Gets Past the Gatekeeper

    Unfortunately, some debtors use others within their homes to screen calls. A great collector reads these situations and works to get to the bill paying decision maker.

  4. Closes the Deal

    Successful collectors know that they must repeat the arrangement with the debtor. An even better solution is for the collector to get the debtor to repeat the arrangements. This makes it more tangible to them.

  5. Comfortable Communicator

    One thing is for sure, successful collectors aren’t afraid to ask for money and information necessary to remain in contact with the debtor. Good collectors also know that they have to sometimes tolerate debtors who are frustrated with their situation and take it out on the collector. The good ones know how to let these things go.

  6. Creative Problem Solver

    Great collectors find ways to be creative problem solvers. Through recommendations for alternative money sources, breaking up payments into bite size pieces or the offer of a program that will help the debtor get on their feet. Thinking on their feet and being creative is definitely the mark of a great collector.

  7. Balances Empathy with Collections

    Most debtors who fall behind have had an event of some kind that has caused them to be delinquent. Many of these events can be quite traumatic, i.e., divorce, death, job loss, etc. Successful collectors know how to empathize with the debtor but also keep them focused on the peace of mind that they will enjoy once they have resolved their delinquency.

  8. Competitive

    Successful collectors are very competitive. They do not like to lose so they work diligently to collect more than their peers, overcome the objections of the debtor and simply find ways to be successful in a difficult situation.

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