Debt collection is a very time-intensive process. If you do it in-house, it’s expensive, frustrating and distracting, but if you outsource debt collection to a third party collection company (or individual), you end up losing a high percentage of the debt in fees. It’s also risky, because you might be assigned a debt collector who is rude to your clients or too passive. So, what if you could get the best of both worlds… and outsource collections to an offshore team member instead?
It’s not surprising that businesses have been turning to the Philippines to outsource debt collection since the late 1990s. Indeed, debt collecting (aka ‘general collections’) was a big part of the customer service work that started the entire BPO industry in the Philippines. Back then, the most commonly outsourced tasks were billing and invoicing for telcos, and those tasks are still very frequently outsourced today. But naturally, as the industry matured, outsourced collections work for other lines of businesses emerged, including financial services (e.g. credit cards and loans) and professional services.
Like an in-house debt collection team or a third party company (or freelancer), and offshore debt collection specialist is responsible for:
- Monitoring accounts to identify outstanding debts
- Investigating historical data for each debt or bill
- Finding and contacting clients to ask about their overdue payments
- Taking actions to encourage timely debt payments
- Processing payments and refunds if necessary
- Resolving billing and customer credit issues
- Updating account status records and collection efforts
- Reporting on collection activity and accounts receivable status
But unlike other outsourced options, an offshore debt collector is part of your permanent team, so they get to know your business inside out, and they treat clients in line with your internal policies. You maintain control over the process, and your local accounts team can get on with their jobs.
What’s more, you can offshore the role for a more affordable rate than outsourcing to an expensive third party, so it doesn’t cut into your margin.
And best of all, those savings do NOT come at the cost of service quality. Filipinos make exceptionally good debt collectors. Not only are they highly qualified and experienced at working with American, Australia, Canadian and European companies, they’re also well known for their fluent command of spoken English. This is critical because they need to be able to read the nuances of the client interaction and speak with the right level of assertiveness to get the message across. In addition, because the Filipino culture focuses on courtesy and respect, they’ll follow your process with the perfect combination of firmness and politeness, to get those overdue invoices paid.
Debt collecting experience
Debt collection specialists are usually experienced in more than one line of business. In fact, it’s quite uncommon to find someone tied to just one specific line of business.
Junior – A debt collection specialist is considered junior if he/she has less than 1 year of relevant experience.
Intermediate – 1-2 years of relevant debt collection experience is considered intermediate.
Senior – Senior debt collection specialists have 3+ years of debt collection experience.
Debt collecting tools
The most common tools used by debt collectors are their employer’s customer relationship management (CRM) tool – used for leads management and financial transactions. These tools are often internally developed because they handle and store sensitive data pertaining to customers’ personal information, credit activity and history.
It’s natural for companies to allocate part of the on-boarding period to training new hires on their internal tools. For experienced candidates, minimal training is required as they’ve typically used a lot of CRMs, so they usually get up to speed very quickly.
Save up to 70% on labor and occupancy costs
Because living costs are so low in the Philippines, labor and occupancy costs are too. We can employ and accommodate fully qualified, very experienced debt collection specialists for your team in the Philippines for up to 70% less than you’d pay in your local employment market. Outsourced debt collections just makes good business sense.
Tips for employing Filipino debt collection specialists
- It takes a minimum of 4 weeks to hire an outsourced debt collection specialist in the Philippines.
- Some clients prefer a debt collection specialist to have experience in their industry or business domain. But beware that this can increase the recruitment time. Also note that this experience isn’t always necessary. An experienced debt collection specialist can adapt quickly to the debt collection processes of any business. If you allocate time to conduct a brief training session on your product or service, results tend to exceed expectations.
- Establishing collection targets and other key performance metrics (KPMs) at the outset is important. KPMs during the first 60 days of employment should be different from ongoing KPMs (to accommodate the early learning curve).
- As in any collection or sales environment, a commission-based incentive system is expected by debt collection specialists.
- A typical debt collection team consists of a group of debt collection specialists reporting to a team leader. Team leaders usually come from the ranks (from senior agents) as this is the career progression in a normal operation.
Debt collection specialists tend to come from different backgrounds. Some don’t have a university degree but since they have good communication skills and other soft skills required for the job, they become successful in the role. Fresh graduates are highly employable; you just need to provide some brief training to enhance communication and soft skills.
The Philippines has produced more than 600,000 fresh graduates over the past 3 years (2016-2018 data from Commission on Higher Education) and has an average growth of 9% annually.
Sample debt collection specialist profiles
- Proven patience and self-discipline
- Outstanding communication and writing skills
- Experience in providing customer support in busy call center environments for insurance industry employers
- Listens attentively, solves problems creatively
- Cultural awareness and sensitivity
- Personal and professional integrity
- Customer Representative
- Clearance Officer
- Computer literate (MS Office and Applications)
- Good in oral and written communication in both English and Filipino
- Can speak Cebuano and Japanese languages
- Customer Service Representative
- Collections Agent
- Outbound Customer Service for US
- Capable of quickly adapting to changing environments
- Flexible, committed and highly energetic individual with excellent communication skills
- Well-versed in various computer applications
- Can work with minimal supervision
- People-oriented, approachable and patient
- Process Associate
- Customer Service Representative
- Telephone Operator & Secretary
Want a debt collection specialist – or team of specialists – in the Philippines?
Since our inception in 2006, MicroSourcing has become one of the biggest managed operations providers in the Philippines. With over 4,000 employees, 6 delivery centers and close to 200 clients, we can help you build a dedicated outsourced collection team in the Philippines, regardless of the roles and level of specialization you require. We have more than 15,000 debt collection specialists in our candidate database, and we’ve employed more than 380 debt collection specialists for our clients since 2006.
Ready to start outsourcing debt collection? Call +61 3 7003 9283 +63 2 34371000 +44 20 3695 2586 +1 437 886 6010 +1 888-731-0023 today or send us an email to discuss your company’s debt collection needs. You’ll have your offshore debt collection specialist(s) up and running in as little as 4 weeks.
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