What Does a Collections Specialist Do?
A collections specialist is a person who is responsible for collecting overdue payments from individuals or businesses. They typically work in the finance or credit and collections departments of companies and use a variety of methods to recover debts, such as phone calls, emails, letters, and negotiations with debtors. The goal of a collections specialist is to recover as much of the overdue debt as possible while maintaining good customer relations and following legal and ethical collection practices.
Collections specialists should also know how to manage many important tasks in an often-busy work environment, as well as work with other team members to help find ways to bring in payments and revenue. In this role, communication is essential, and motivated candidates who work well with people are most likely to succeed.
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National Average Salary
Collections specialist professional salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.
The average U.S. salary for a Collections Specialist is:
Collections Specialist Job Descriptions
When it comes to recruiting a collections specialist, having the right job description can make a big difference. Here are some real world job descriptions you can use as templates for your next opening.
Collections specialists are responsible for the financial collection department of a company. They manage the correct invoicing of clients, the timely receiving of payment, and ensure that collections are done according to company policies and regulations. For this job, you should have strong analytical and report writing skills.
Typical duties and responsibilities
- Locate and notify customers of delinquent accounts by mail, telephone, or personal visits to solicit payment
- Arrange for debt repayment or establish repayment schedules, based on customers’ financial situations
- Answer customer questions regarding problems with their accounts
- Develop collections methods that consistently lead to achieving or exceeding company financial goals
- Work closely with team members to create ways to bring in revenue and find success as a group
- Solve problems quickly and create resolutions that bring in revenue on a regular basis
Education and experience
- This position requires a high school diploma or GED; a bachelor’s degree is preferred.
Required skills and qualifications
- Proficient with database software and Microsoft Office Suite
- Ability to overcome obstacles and get results
- Strong communication and negotiation skills
- Previous customer service experience preferred
ABC Company is looking for an experienced Collections Specialist with a strong sense of ownership and attention to detail. This Collections Specialist role will be based in the (city, state) region and will be a short-term contract/temporary to hire employment opportunity. If you are looking to apply your talents in a dynamic environment with a group of other talented individuals, apply today!
- Pinpoint delinquent customer accounts through various means, e.g. written correspondence, phone contact, skip-tracing, and making arrangements for payment
- Update customer files to ensure data integrity
- Maintain quality customer service and a positive company image by resolving customer account inquiries
- Control inbound and outbound collections calls and correspondence
- Correctly process bankruptcy filings when received
- Guarantee the processing of payments
- Abide by all rules and regulations established by the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act
- Direct all billing and reporting activities in accordance to deadlines
- Register all customer payments to the correct reports
- 2-3 years of prior high volume collections experience
- Prior experience working with accounting software
- Ability to analyze customer accounts and make decisions based on those analyses
- Consumer collections experience desired
- Excellent verbal, written, and social communication skills
- AA or BS/BA in Accounting preferred
Successful Collections Specialists balance their focus on business results with offering options and finding solutions to help our customers.
Duties and responsibilities
- Are able to collect on past due accounts
- Are very comfortable communicating with customers in a metrics-driven environment
- Are able to navigate multiple technologies while staying engaged with our customers
- Possess excellent negotiation and decision-making skills; in addition to strong communication skills
- Possess strong customer focus with the ability to have detailed conversations with our customers
- Treat customers with respect and respond with empathy
- Demonstrate sensitivity and compassion in difficult situations
- Demonstrate personal excellence including punctuality, integrity and accountability
- Have the ability to work independently and in a team environment
- Think critically and exercise independent judgement
- High School diploma/GED required
- Must be willing to work in an environment that requires 100% phone-based customer interaction
- Minimum of one year of customer interaction or customer support experience strongly preferred, either by phone or face-to-face
- Proficiency with basic computer functions, including mouse and keyboard usage, launching applications, conducting searches on the Internet, and maneuvering in a Windows-based environment, strongly preferred
- Collections experience preferred
As a Collections Specialist, you will perform collection follow-ups on delinquent and/or non-delinquent accounts for medical facilities in a high volume, inbound and outbound, call center environment. You will utilize excellent communication and customer service skills to resolve patient accounts.
What will you do in this role?
- Refer calls/accounts to appropriate parties based on customer inquiries
- Identify problem accounts and escalate as appropriate
- Update the patient account record to identify actions taken on the account
- Work with patients and guarantors to secure payment on outstanding account balances
- Maintain minimum production and quality standards
- Achieve passing quality review scores per unit requirements
- Produce acceptable unit collection volumes
- Work within company attendance guidelines
- Provide excellent customer service
- Practice and adhere to the Parallon “Code of Conduct” philosophy and “Mission and Values Statement”
- Attend Privacy and Security Training as required by the HIPAA Awareness Program and comply with all guidelines, policies and procedures to assure sensitive or confidential information is protected in accordance with the HIPAA rules and regulations
- High School diploma or GED preferred
- Minimum one year of related experience preferred, preferably in healthcare
Candidate Certifications to Look For
- Professional Collections Specialist (PCS). This course is available through the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals (ACA) and certifies that candidates have learned professional and ethical standards for collection practices. They will also learn negotiation tactics that will help them in their collections work. An exam is required and must be passed with a score of 85% or higher. This certification needs to be renewed every three years.
- Commercial Collections Specialist. This certification, available through the National Association of Credit Management, is a course designed for those with 0-3 years of experience in the field. It explores the cost of credit and situations in which companies are more likely to be taken advantage of. It covers documentation for lending to promote a good relationship with the customer. This course teaches its students to judge if a company’s credit strategies comply with the law.
- Certified Healthcare Collector (CHC). If candidates are working with healthcare bills, this certification would be a huge help. They will learn about patient privacy, how to determine a patient’s financial responsibility, and what collecting from insurance providers looks like. To take the exam, candidates must work for a collection agency. Once they pass with a score of 80% or higher, renewal of this certification will need to be completed every two years.
How to Hire a Collections Specialist
When hiring a collections specialist, first consider the following:
- Recruiting: Do you have the knowledge, tools, and resources to attract and screen candidates?
- Complexity: Do you need a senior professional, or will mid or junior-level skills and experience suffice?
- Duration: Is this a one-time project or an ongoing need?
- Management: Do you have the time and expertise to direct the work effectively?
- Urgency: How soon does the work need to be completed?
- Headcount: Do you have the budget and approval for an internal employee, or should you consider alternate options?
Answering these questions will help determine the best course of action for your current hiring need. Fortunately, great options exist for every scenario. These are our recommendations:
1. Use 4 Corner Resources (or another professional recruiting firm)
The heavy lifting is done for you when working with a top-tier staffing company like 4 Corner Resources. We source, screen, recruit, and deliver only the most qualified candidate(s), saving you significant time and effort throughout the hiring process while you remain focused on your core business. Understanding your needs and ensuring the right candidate for the position is the key to our success.
This is the best route to take when:
- You need to fill the position quickly
- You want access to a vast talent pool of high-quality, prescreened candidates
- Your position is suited for temporary hiring services, contract staffing, or contract-to-hire recruiting, and you intend to direct the work activity.
- You are hiring an employee as a direct placement but aren’t able to recruit effectively or efficiently with your internal staff.
- You aren’t familiar with current salary rates, market trends, and available skill sets
2. Advertise your opening on a top job board
Your best option may be to advertise your opening on a proven job board. There are many widely used job sites out there that draw visits from qualified candidates. If you have someone internally who can dedicate the time and energy to sort through applications and screen individuals effectively, this can be a great choice.
We recommend using a job board when:
- Your internal recruiting team has the knowledge and experience to assess candidate qualifications
- You are hiring a direct employee and have time to manage the entire recruiting effort
- You have a process for receiving, screening, and tracking all resumes and applications
- You are prepared to respond to all applicants
We recommend using CareerBuilder for collections specialist openings:
CareerBuilder has been a trusted source for hiring since 1995. Reach 80+ million unique, diverse U.S. job seekers annually by posting your jobs through their talent acquisition channels. Through CareerBuilder, you can engage candidates and drive them into your sourcing pipeline. We recommend using CareerBuilder for hiring when you have the internal resources and processes to review, screen, and reply to all applicants.
LinkedIn is a social network for job seekers, professionals, and businesses. With this popular job site, you can enhance your brand and advertise your open position to a wide audience of motivated, qualified candidates. Job postings on LinkedIn are also extremely streamlined and user-friendly, making it even easier for candidates to apply. Additionally, applicants can use their LinkedIn profile instead of a resume to expedite the process.
3. Leverage your internal resources
You can utilize your own website, social media, and employees to assist in your search for top candidates.
A company website posting should be the first step in notifying prospective candidates that you are hiring. Social media can also be a powerful tool for spreading the word about your new opening. As far as exposure is concerned, this option can be as good as some job boards when you have a large enough following across various platforms, like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.
Current employees are every organization’s greatest asset. Encourage your internal team to promote job openings to their network by offering cash and other incentives.
We recommend these options when:
- Your brand has great name recognition
- You can consistently monitor and respond to candidate activity through your website and social media accounts
- You have a process in place to quickly and broadly communicate job openings and requirements
- You have an effective employee referral program in place
If you aren’t sure which path is best, schedule a discovery call today with our seasoned recruiting professionals. The 4 Corner team is on standby to help you find the best option for your unique hiring need.
Sample Interview Questions
- Would you be able to tell us about your previous experience in collections or customer service?
- How do you handle difficult or resistant debtors?
- How do you prioritize and manage your daily workload?
- How does your debt collection process work?
- What are your methods for keeping up with the latest laws and regulations related to collection?
- When communicating with debtors, how do you maintain a professional demeanor?
- Have you ever negotiated a payment plan with a debtor? What is an example you can give?
- If you have a dispute with a debtor, how do you handle it?
- Have you ever had a particularly successful collection experience?
- What do you do to ensure that your collections work is accurate?