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A soft collector reminds customers about overdue accounts and the consequences for failing to become current. This can involve phone as well as mail contact. If the customer does not address the bill, the account can be turned over to a hard collections representative, who uses more aggressive techniques to collect the balance. Jobs may be available in specific financial institutions that maintain their own collections departments, along with specialty firms that perform this work on a contract for a variety of clients.
Each worker may be assigned a set of accounts to work on, with a collection target. The goal is to make positive contact with each account holder so the representative can either collect the payment or establish a plan for handling the debt. Payment plans may come in a variety of formats authorized by the parent company, and also involve the collection of interest and convenience fees. If clients do not respond or the bills become overdue by more than a set period of time, they can be forwarded to another department.
This typically involves a variety of techniques to find customers. A soft collector may need to search records, for example, to locate someone at a new address. There are also legal requirements that must be followed when making contact, which can vary by region. Representatives need to be aware of all relevant laws and how they apply so they can stay within the standards set out by regulators. For example, a soft collector may not be allowed to discuss the debt with anyone other than the named party or a cosigner.
In phone calls, a soft collector can identify the company, ask to speak to the debtor, and attempt to collect a payment or make arrangements for a payment plan. Letters can include a demand for pament with contact information. Payment processing skills are required so this can be done over the phone. If the customer needs a payment plan, information about this can be provided, along with disclosures about any fees that may be involved. Customers may also be warned that failing to keep the agreement may result in being sent directly to hard collections.
Workplaces may offer a flat rate of compensation plus a commission for successful collections to act as an incentive. The soft collector may also be required to meet a specific goal every month or quarter. People who cannot meet this goal may be dismissed, as the company wants operations to be as efficient as possible.
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