3JM Company Inc.

Published Articles by David Balovich

Published in: Creditworthy News
Date: 5/5/99

In this weeks column I would like to discuss the number of accounts a credit/collection representative should be responsible for.

I am often asked this question as I travel around the country presenting collection seminars and was recently reminded of it when I came across this ad for a collection specialist in the Dallas Morning News.

Experienced collector needed for fast growing security company. Must be  Able to make 180 collection calls and achieve four hours of talk time during an eight hour shift.

That is 22.5 calls an hour with no lunch. Less then 3 minutes a call.  Where the four hours of talk time comes into play is beyond me. What is important, I believe, is the perception those outside the field of credit and collections have about our profession.

This ad appeared under the Professions section and yet there is nothing professional in expecting someone to work the second most important asset a company has in the same manner as a telemarketer.

The number of accounts handled by credit/collection personnel should be reasonable so that the accounts who are not paying timely can be called and those who are paying can have their disputes, if any, settled timely so that they do not become delinquent. Ideally, no one credit/collector should have in excess of 500 accounts. In fact, the larger the account then the fewer accounts should be assigned. Major customers tend not to be collection problems because they usually pay on a regular basis. They do, however, require more attention then smaller accounts because deductions are usually greater. If one spends too much time with a major account then smaller accounts tend to become past due but if not attention is paid the major account then disputes become more difficult to reconcile.

The average credit/collection representative spends less then 30% of their day on the telephone with the customer either collecting or obtaining information. 70% of their day is spent off the telephone tracking down or researching information provided them by the customer during the collection call.

The average number of work days in a month is 20. 500 divided by 20 is 25 customers a day. The average work day is six and a half hours (even if we spend more hours at the office). That averages out to four customers an hour or fifteen minutes per each customer. I know that sometimes it takes fifteen minutes or more just to make contact with the appropriate party.

What do you think is a reasonable amount of accounts for a credit/collector to handle efficiently? E-mail me at Daveat3JM@AOL.Com I will share your opinions.

I wish you well.

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