Hiring for the customer service department of an organization requires interviewers to look for a mix of hard and soft customer service skills. Not only do candidates need to be well equipped with the right technical background, they also need to be good communicators, practice empathy, and creative problem solvers.
In this article, we cover seven essential interview questions to evaluate customer service skills in potential customer service representatives.
What does great customer service mean to you?
This critical question gauges the commitment of the customer service representative to the role and their philosophy of customer service. Customer service representatives can drive the perception and brand image in the market.
With customer service occupying a pivotal role in the company’s image, it is crucial that the candidate understands the place they occupy in the company. Candidates that see themselves as helpers to customers and champions of the company are great additions. Further, when delivering customer service, representatives need to have a positive attitude practically all the time. This enthusiasm and positive attitude come off more genuine when it is founded in a stable understanding of what great customer service means.
This question can be built on by asking the candidate to provide an example of a time when they delivered great customer service.
What is your course of action when you do not know the answer or cannot help a customer?
It is impossible to train customer service representatives to be able to answer every single question that a customer could ask. It is more important that customer service representatives have a mission of helping the customer with their issue that may even involve a ticket management system. Asking this question will provide insight into the problem-solving skills, honesty, and confidence of the candidate. The candidate should be able to say that they do not know the answer, but they will find out. They should follow this with taking the steps to find the solution, looking at the guidelines, checking the manuals, or checking with a co-worker and referring the customer to the co-worker.
How do you deal with an irate customer who is impossible to calm down?
Customer service representatives deal with irate customers almost daily. Although the anger is not aimed at them, stress management is a tool they must have in their kit, if they are to get through the day without breaking down. Customer service representatives figure this out quickly and build resilience so they can focus on resolving the issue over taking offence at jibes from the customer that are usually misdirected. This question can be supplemented by asking the candidate to provide an example or their learning trajectory in this respect
Give an example of poor customer service.
This question can be asked to understand whether the candidate understands bad customer service. If the candidate has had a prior job, get them to answer the question with an example from their prior workplace, as far as possible. Discuss what the event was, why they think it reflected poorly, and what the impact was to the business.
Learning from others’ mistakes can be just as valuable as learning from your own. With this question, the interviewer can evaluate whether the customer service representative is learning from their and others’ mistakes.
What do you do when a customer points out an obvious flaw in the product?
How the candidate handles a customer pointing out a well-known problem shows the level of empathy and ability to respectfully communicate. What the interviewer should look for is someone who responds with empathy and promises to find a solution to the issue or provides a timeline for a solution.
When a customer points out a flaw, it represents customer feedback. Customer feedback is one of the best sources of refining and improving a product or service. When it is given directly, it should be seen as an opportunity in disguise. Taking customer feedback to the right channels to be acted upon is also a part of customer service.
What customer service tools are you aware of?
Every company uses a different customer service stack, but it is a bonus if the candidate has had experience with similar tools that the prospective employer uses. It is a positive if the candidate is aware of the technologies that the company uses and expresses a desire to learn more about them.
Have you received negative feedback? How did you deal with it?
Almost all companies have a system of recording customer service interactions and analysing them for training and performance improvement. When customer service executives receive feedback in an appraisal, it can be extremely valuable to show them where they need to improve and transform them from good to fantastic. Taking a constructive view of feedback is an important customer service skill as there is always room for improvement.
When hiring customer service representatives, ensure that the above questions are covered in the interview. These questions will provide the information on whether the business is hiring the best people for its customer service department.