Simon Oud works as team leader Retail Collection in the Mercedes-Benz Bank Service Center. In the interview he eliminates some prejudices against collection activities and talks about the qualifications needed for his job.
Mr. Oud, please introduce yourself briefly to the readers.
Hi, I am Simon Oud, 32 years old and employed by the Mercedes-Benz Bank Service Center in the heart of Berlin as a team leader for the Benelux Retail Collection Team.
Why did you choose Mercedes-Benz as your employer?
Primarily because I could be part of an exciting project that entails performing all of the Belgian, Dutch and Luxembourgian retail collection duties from out of Berlin. It is a great opportunity as we are just one part of an international setup in which collection activities for several European countries are carried out. It is a way of pioneering where lots of young and motivated people are trying to get the best out of very different national practices and to combine them into a successful and harmonized approach. The prospect to be working at the Berlin service center itself was very appealing to me as well as it comprises about 800 highly motivated people rendering outstanding services for the Mercedes-Benz Bank to its customers in Germany and other countries. To be able to do so, it unites good people and modern facilities. And the possibility to move to Berlin was like an excellent bonus, this is a place where I very much like to be in this day.
What was your previous experience at Mercedes-Benz – starting from your first day in the company until today?
On my first day I was very warmly welcomed by my new colleagues. For me it has been a bit different than usual as I have come onboard months before the actual team is going to be, as I now understand that an international welcome breakfast where everyone brings local treats if a new team is set up. Luckily I still have that one coming! Since then I have been mostly occupied by recruitment work, as a complete team of talented individuals shall be there in a couple of weeks. These activities have been interrupted by job shadowing with the other teams, German lessons offered by the company and so forth. And quite a bit of doing exercises during lunch, the service center offers lots of fun amenities like a gym, a game zone with table football, darts (would not call that exercise though, but it is fun), air hockey and such where you can have fun with colleagues during lunch. If that’s all too much, you can also have lunch in our canteen.
Please tell us a little more about your tasks and your team.
First of all: Yes, I do genuinely like people. Often, when I talk about my work, people react skeptically at first. Our main duty is to remind our customers to pay receivable rates and to negotiate payment agreements. Also, we need to find proper solutions if a customer is not able to pay at all. This takes strong negotiation skills but also a lot of empathy. Our challenge is to try and approximate the excellent collections result that is now obtained by the colleagues that are currently doing collections from Brussels and Utrecht. They are doing a very good job! We are to be doing the same from another system with a new team and from a different location. This system migration is going to be quite a challenge for sure that we will need to overwin. Yeah, we will be busy for some time...
What qualifications should one have to become a part of your team?
We need good people. You should be flexible, convincing, result driven, know your way with words and be able to persevere in order to meet our goals. And it might come in quite handy if you can speak either French or Dutch/Flemish (or both of course – that will be no problem).