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If you have the desire to become a bill collector, there are many opportunities to do so. Bill collectors, also known as collections agents, debt counselors, credit managers or skip tracers, are professionals who work with businesses and individuals to help collect on past due accounts and settle financial debts.
In order to become a bill collector you must meet certain general requirements. Bill collectors should have achieved a minimum of a high school diploma, with many employers preferring some postsecondary education or experience in customer service. A strong background in accounting and finance is a must to become a bill collector. It’s also important to have general telecommunications and computer skills, which are needed in order to process information on a timely basis and update accounts to reflect payments received.
In addition to solid educational and work experience, bill collectors must possess certain personality traits in order to become successful and handle the daily tasks of working with people to improve their accounts. The most important skill is being an effective oral and written communicator as well as being comfortable talking with all kinds of people under stressful situations, including dealing with angry consumers. Having a “thick skin” and perseverance is vital to coping with difficult accounts.
Many households are struggling to keep up with their debts as a whole, so the need for quality bill collectors will continue to rise to collect on past due consumer accounts. In order to become a bill collector, it's important to consider that consumers have a variety of debts stemming from rising costs in housing, health care and energy. The most effective bill collectors are able to treat consumers with professionalism and empathy, even when dealing with irate people who are not paying on their debts.
Becoming a bill collector is often simply a matter of contacting local companies that have in-house customer service or accounts receivables departments and inquiring about employment. There are also opportunities to work on a contract basis helping to locate debtors who have moved without giving forwarding address information, also known as skip tracing. Many collections agents also perform work from home offices or outsourced call center firms around the world.
One time my uncle who worked at a large bank suggested I should become a debt collector. He said I had the right personality for the job, which I wasn't sure was a compliment or not. He said many employees at his bank started out in debt collection, then worked their way up to other departments with less stressful workloads. I told him I'd give it a try.
It really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Most of my clients agreed to set up a repayment schedule, and I rarely had to send out the repossession team. I can't say I enjoyed being yelled at for ten minutes by irate customers, but I found ways to disconnect emotionally from the situation and just let them vent for a while.
When I decided to become a bill collector back in the day, the company mostly put me on skip tracing duty. It wasn't as emotionally demanding as bill collection, but it did require a lot of social engineering skills. I was given a list of deadbeat clients and my job was to figure out their current contact information. Once I had a good phone number or email address or physical address, I would update the files and pass them onto the collections department.
I found that the best people to call were former boyfriends/girlfriends and disgruntled family members. They were almost always glad to provide up-to-date information on the person who still owed them a lot of money, too. I learned to use resources like Facebook and online public information websites to find my clients quickly.
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