Michelle Strauss, Customer Financial Services Manager at Dorman Products, shares her experiences and thoughts on her career in the credit and collections industry.
What is your background?
I started my career in customer service for a small giftware company and then moved into an Accounts Receivable (A/R) role there. I have held various positions since then in A/R and credit and collections.
How did you first enter the field of credit & collections?
I first began working in credit and collections in 1997 at Dezine Ltd, Inc. (no, it’s not a typo and pronounced design), a now-defunct giftware distributor that was located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In 2001, I accepted a Credit Analyst position at R&B, Inc, now Dorman Products in Colmar, PA. I have been at Dorman ever since. After returning to school, I was promoted to Credit and AR Supervisor in 2014. Then in 2018, I was promoted to Customer Financial Services Manager.
What is your job title and what are your responsibilities?
My title is Customer Financial Services Manager. I manage a team of Accounts Receivable Coordinators. My team manages the RGA request process and deals with customer claims and returns. In addition to managing my team, I am responsible for reporting, leading the utilization of Salesforce for the credit and RGA approval processes, and helping our team of analysts tackle collections and deduction management. Prior to my current duties, I lead a team of Analysts and ARC’s in managing our retail customer portfolio.
Can you describe your typical day?
My typical day includes tracking productivity, communicating with internal and external customers regarding claims, procedures and account questions and troubleshooting issues as they come up. While I am no longer involved in the day-to-day collection activities, my team and I work closely with the Credit and A/R Analysts to ensure they have up to date account information to assist them with their duties.
What would you say are your greatest accomplishments in this industry?
My greatest accomplishments so far have been helping successfully implement SAP, successfully re-vamping our labor claim process and the implementation of Salesforce for our RGA and credit approval process.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years, I would like to think I will still be active in the field of credit and collections and successfully tackling the next challenge that comes my way.
What advice would you give someone thinking of entering the field?
Educate yourself on the standards in your industry, know your processes and have a good understanding of how your company sells to customers and how those products or services reach the customer. Get to know your customers and how they operate. Never be afraid to ask questions and never stop learning.
If you weren’t working in credit, what do you think you’d be doing career-wise?
If I was not working in credit, I would probably be in a customer service role. I enjoy helping people problem solve.