What a shocking statement – I hear you say, especially if it’s made by a qualified credit manager!!!
But – there is a reason for my statement, let me explain and hear me out.
Successful credit controllers require two sets of skills:
- Technical skills like internal procedures, collection methods, query resolution, reporting and IT systems can be learnt and qualifications which are achieved following exams and
- Soft credit control skills, which are more challenging to learn because they are more personal.
For this reason our interview process always starts with a phone conversation, before we meet a potential credit control candidate. At ARM the way a person conducts a phone conversation is extremely important and the first impression over the phone is almost more important as the first impression in the face to face interview.
There is a German saying “Der Ton macht die Music” meaning, the tone makes the music and I believe this to be absolutely true during telephone conversations. Being able to connect with someone when asking for payment can be a delicate undertaking and the tone makes all the difference.
People receiving communication regarding payment of a bill are very sensitive to how they are asked and are quick to dismiss a caller or email if they feel offended.
So which skills make credit controllers successful?
- Organised but flexible
- The ability to be objective
- The ability to solve problems
- The ability to listen and show empathy
- Good interpersonal skills
- Good instinct & common sense
- Strength and tenacity to not give up
In summary a credit control qualification will provide the technical skills and background but the soft-skills above come with experience and personality and not all of them can be easily learnt, to a certain extent they have to come from “within”.