Reflect for a few moments on the day you received your promotion to Collection Manager. How did you feel? What thoughts and feelings were running through your mind?
I’m certain you were excited to prove to your bosses and fellow employees that you were indeed the right choice to lead the team. You most likely had many new ideas to try with your collection staff in an effort to increase morale, teamwork and collections. Perhaps you were even slightly nervous, wondering how you would accomplish all that needed to be done.
I remember the day I was first promoted to a management position. I was scared, nervous and excited. Frankly, I made numerous mistakes in the early days. I would like to think I’m a better manager today, BUT I am still learning and attempting to improve my management skills. Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to work side-by-side with great managers and business owners and have learned much from them.
Whether you are a new Collection Manager or have been in the position for some time, below are three tips for success.
First, fully understand the expectations your managers and agency owners have for you. Learn your duties and then set goals and establish milestones to ensure that you and your team are on track to accomplish those goals.
Second, be fully engaged with your team members. Get to know them and understand the frustrations and successes of their jobs. It is easy to become overwhelmed with new responsibilities, BUT don’t forget to spend time with your team. They need to know you care about their needs and concerns.
I have a good friend who works in a call center. Recently she told me the call center and her team were going “downhill.” I asked why she thought this was happening. Her response was interesting. She said that in the past when the call queue was backed up the managers would run to an open desk and answer calls to help. Now, my friend said, when the queue backs up, the managers just come out of their offices and yell. Then they go back into their offices and surf the web. In my friend’s call center, instead of camaraderie and teamwork there is a lack of trust and barriers between management and the people answering the phones. Being fully engaged with your team will improve communication and build trust.
Third, KNOW the products/technologies and services you use on a daily basis. As a new Collection Manager, you are asked to not only manage your team, you are expected to use certain technologies that will help you succeed. These technologies were probably put in place before you were hired, so if you need training, ask for it! You should fully understand how to use each technology and how they work together. You need to know the feature sets and then analyze how these features can help you succeed. Your technology vendors are a partner to your success.
Zig Ziglar said, “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” I have found this statement to be true over and over again. Sure, set your own success goals, but THEN start working with others and help them to achieve their goals. You will quickly find that their success equals your success.
Dave Rudd is DialerFan, a champion of the collection industry, focused on improving collection capabilities through technology and political action. He energetically participates in lobbying efforts for the industry through donations, writing letters, making phone calls, participating in seminars and attending events in Washington D.C., including the most recent ACA International Fly-In. Well acquainted with debt collection, Dave spent two years debt collecting before joining IAT in 1990. He has held a variety of positions at IAT — a provider of collection-specific dialing technology — including President/CEO and most recently Senior VP of Finance & Administration.