A day in the life of…..
This is what a regular day is like for Asad who is the Regional Collections Manager of Consumer loans at a local bank.
9.35 AM: Switch the PC on, hoping no one notices I’m late again. Read only those emails that have ‘Urgent’ in the subject line. Make a round of the floor to get Collection Field Officers together for the target review meeting.
10.01 AM: Phones ring non-stop in background, as I listen to one field officer make excuses about his daily targets and tell me about a customer’s offer for UK immigration. Give an adrenaline filled speech using the Jerry McGuire clichéd line “who’s with me?”
11.00 AM: Collections Calling Agents daily buckets review meeting. Try calming a tearful agent who threatens to quit over a customer who swore incessantly at her for 10 minutes.
11.30 AM: Begin daily ritual of looking at delinquencies and resolutions ratio Management Information System (MIS). Investigate customer complaint over a field staff’s misbehaviour. Complainant says the field staff refused to accept post-dated cheque and kept ringing the door-bell. Field staff claims there was no electricity at time of the visit.
11.50 AM: Call up high-delinquency customers to negotiate payments. Some point blank refusals, some successful negotiations, and plenty of no responses.
1.15 PM: Double biryani and diet 7-Up with the Business Analytics in-charge. Get an update on the monthly portfolio analysis with region wise performance. Discuss the boss’s liposuction.
2.30 PM: Huddle with the collection supervisors to restrategise on low performing teams and take decisions on staff under probation. Two terminations and one team reshuffling done to try new team combinations.
2.50 PM: Eat chunks of mithai sent by collection supervisor on birth of his son and on winning the case lodged against him two years ago on allegations of car snatching by customer. Turned out to be a lawful case of car repossession.
3.04 PM: Mid-day checks begin. Ask supervisors to check status of each field officer and the cash collections done so far. First calls go to the field officers who are in an area where a lot of muggings have been reported.
4.30 PM: Frantic call from field officer, saying an agitated customer has three to four people with him. Officer confirms that he has the daily cash collection in his bag. Instruct officer to get to the closest bank branch to deposit money. Repeatedly remind him not to retaliate.
4.55 PM: Officer calls from branch, says teller refusing to accept cash since its closing time. Furiously look up branch manager’s number to call him. Yell at officer for not being able to handle a teller. Realise one second later that he is shaken from the earlier situation.
5.31 PM: Meeting at the office with a high-valued customer who is a businessman with multiple outstanding payments and high Balance Transfer facility (BTF) amounts. Matter amicably resolved with payment dates agreed over one Pepsi.
7.20 PM: Walk to boss’s room to discuss the internal service level agreement with Compliance Department. Next 12 minutes spent listening to boss’s philosophy on conflict management. Two cigarettes and two cups of green tea: I’m back at desk.
9.15 PM: Answer fifth call from wife today to remind me about buying bread and eggs en route. Shut down PC and search for tie that I left at someone’s desk. Give up on search and head for parking lot.
9.45 PM: Home at last, totally forgetting about calls, collections, bread and eggs.
Key skills required to be a Collections Manager:
1) Leadership qualities
2) Excellent people management skills
3) Superior negotiation abilities
4) Industry knowledge
5) Ability to work under pressure
The writer is a personal branding consultant.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2011.
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